The Common Topics: Threads That Hold the Verbal Arts Together

Andrew Smith discusses teaching the verbal arts through the various subjects.

The verbal arts are related to one another, particularly through the means by which we teach them. Since the verbal arts are skills, not terminating subjects, they are taught throughout the curriculum. But as we focus on teaching them singularly, how can we do so in a way that most naturally leads to teaching the others? For instance, in the 2nd Grade, how can grammar be taught in such a way that naturally leads into and resonates with dialectic? Or, in 11th Grade, how can Rhetoric be taught in such a way that draws from the student’s competency of Grammar? The short answer is: The Common Topics. Join this session to learn why and how.

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is in his first year at Veritas, directing the Rhetoric curriculum and teaching theology. He has been a teacher and administrator in classical Christian schools for 15 years. Prior to joining Veritas, he was Director of Upper School at The Geneva School in Winter Park, Florida, and 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. From 2008 to 2010, he hosted the Memphis Rhetoric Symposium, and since then he has been a consultant and teacher trainer for several schools. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in divinity from Samford University and master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Memphis. He and his wife, Keri, have four children, spanning in age from 7 to 17.

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