A teacher in a CC school is likely to first encounter the Common Topics of Invention while preparing to teach a formal Rhetoric course and using a text like Corbett and Connors or, perhaps, Crider. It is highly unlikely that such a teacher was given intentional instruction in the Common Topics in high school, college, or beyond, and he or she might easily think that these are simply tools for categorizing ideas in a tidy way. It would be understandable if this teacher did not consider the Common Topics as being central to the classical Christian model of education. In this session, we will discuss the centrality of the Common Topics, both philosophically and practically, and the case will be made that acquiring facility with the Common Topics is the simplest and surest way for one to teach classically.
Andrew Smith is Academic Dean at Veritas School, in Richmond, Virginia and is Director of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Alcuin Fellowship. He has been a teacher and administrator in Christian classical schools since 2003. Prior to joining Veritas in 2017, he was Director of Upper School at The Geneva School, in Orlando, Florida and before that, Head of Upper School at Westminster Academy, in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew’s academic work has focused primarily on Rhetoric, both in curriculum development and in teacher training, and he has been a consultant for a number of classical schools. Andrew holds a B.A. in History, an M.Div., and an M.A. in Philosophy. He and his wife, Keri, have four children.