All good things must come to an end. While part of the purpose of a Classical Education is to prepare a student for a life of learning and discovery, our students cannot remain with us forever, and eventually graduate. The last stage of the student’s education, the rhetoric stage, is, perhaps, the most important. If one were to compare the cultivation of wisdom to the preparation of a feast, then the student has spent the grammar stage cleaning the house, cooking the meal, setting the table, finally the table is ready, the time has arrived to feast.
At the rhetoric stage, the student is prepared, through the foundational work he has done at the grammar and logic stages, to finally be able to actively participate in their education, and through discussion with his classmates, led by the teacher, to arrive at an understanding of the subject matter.
It is the change in the method of instruction that most clearly differentiates the rhetoric stage from the grammar and logic stages. At the rhetoric stage, the purpose of the class is not only the relaying of information from the teacher to the student, through lecture for example, although lectures certainly do still occur, but to have the teacher guide the student in examining a text and coming to conclusions based on the