These two sets of exercises, Refutation and Confirmation, would correspond to an argumentative essy in modern composition theory. The students are learning how to structure their thought, and thus their communication process, when given the task of arguing for or against an idea, thought, chain of events, method, or story. The categories of development (or paragraphs) that make up these essays are essential elements in the rhetorical process (they are identified as Heads of Purpose in later stages of the Progymnasmata) that must become second nature in the mental processes of our students.
What if you could teach your child using the same writing program that produced such masters of the language as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin? What if you could have the same composition curriculum used by Quintilian, the greatest teacher of ancient rhetoric, and Cicero, the greatest persuasive speaker of all time?
Jim Selby has blown the dust off the writing curriculum that was used in schools for over 1,500 years and put it in an easy-to-teach format that will revolutionize your home or private school curriculum. Presented clearly and systematically in a structured curriculum, Classical Composition will give you a clear road map to writing excellence.
Ancient writers invented a way of teaching writing known as the progymnasmata, which provided a method of teaching composition that not only taught budding writers a disciplined way to approach communication, but also helped them appeal to the heads of their audience. The progymnasmata gave them the stylistic tools to appeal to their hearts as well.
The greatest communicators of ancient times, Quintilian and Cicero among them, employed the progymnasmata to teach their students the art of communication. The 14 exercises, organized from the simplest and most basic to the most complex and sophisticated, were the core education of a classical speaker, designed to produce what Quintilian once called “the good man, speaking well.”