This series of articles aims to explain the three stages of classical education, also known as the trivium. Most of the information used in these articles originates from ‘The Well-Educated Mind’ by Susan Wise Bauer. Part one of this Series is can be found here and the final part of the series can be found here.
The second stage of classical education, or the trivium is that of Logic. In this stage, the aim is to build a deeper understanding of the subject, based on the foundation of the previous stage of Grammar.
This is the stage where you really think about what it is you are learning about. Using critical thought to make connections, critique papers and articles and build a full three dimensional mental model of what it is you are studying. If the stage of grammar is more passive, the foundations of knowledge that you can get from basic listening and reading, the stage of logic involves a much more active and engaged form of learning.
It is an active form of learning in the sense that in order to succeed at this stage, you really need to get fully involved in your own learning. You need to ask questions, experiment and read much more deeply than in the previous stage. You can compare papers and articles, and use those comparisons to draw your own in depth, well thought out conclusions. Building your knowledge further as you do so.
Of course, this is not to sell the previous stage short. You very much need to understand the basic terms and language to have a strong foundation in order to delve deeper into the subject matter in this stage. It is after all very difficult to build a strong house of knowledge, with a poor and faulty foundation.
However, this stage can often take much more effort, due to its active nature I mentioned earlier. You often have to put in a lot more mental energy into this stage, to think over all that you are learning, and make those connections and conclusions. You have to set aside time to play with the various ideas you have about the topic, and debate yourself in a sense to see what ideas work, and what ones do not.
Putting in the mental effort however is very much worth it. As this stage very much separates someone with a basic understanding, and someone with some mastery of the subject. It allows you to form a full mental model of the subject, and use it to draw new conclusions and hypothesis new ideas to put to the test. It also will allow you the ability to talk fluently about your subject matter, which is part of the final stage of Rhetoric.