Written and Verbal Communication
One of the distinctions of a Liberty Classical Academy education is the priority we place on written and verbal communication. Our goal for our graduates is not just that they know the answers to questions or reasons for beliefs. We want our students to be able to articulate their answers and those reasons in ways that will earn authority with those who are listening.
A wise and true belief should be well-articulated both with a pen and a voice. Our students go through almost-constant training in this discipline. From speech meets and debates to performances and research papers, we want them to be able to first know what they are saying and to then communicate it to those who are listening.
The stages of the Trivium in a classical education align learning with a student’s natural progression of cognitive development. Far beyond being the place to write papers or make speeches, we want our classrooms to be the laboratory where our students learn to speak and write true and good things in wise and thoughtful ways.
The culmination of good training in communication is seen when one of our students is able to present Truth amidst the dizzying flurry of bad ideas that surround us. After all, having the Truth doesn’t matter much if no one has the ability to hear it. At Liberty Classical, our goal in making written and verbal communication a priority is that with their ability to communicate, our students then earn the authority that Truth deserves. When they articulate it well, with sound and reasonable ideas, the Truth they believe can be the Truth that’s received.
Written communication is core to our program. Beginning in 2nd grade, our students learn the parts of a sentence and how to form complete sentences. In 5th grade, they are writing 5 paragraph essays. By 6th grade, students complete their first, full research paper and it all culminates in 12th grade when students complete a 20-page written thesis on a controversial topic that they then publicly defend in front of a panel of judges and a large audience.
Additionally, elements of verbal communication begin as early as Kindergarten when students memorize short works like poems and perform them in front of an audience in our annual Speech Meet. It carries all the way through 5th grade when they present historical speeches and into the middle school years with passages that become lengthier and more complex, and have added emotion for dramatic effect. Students are also required to participate in drama throughout the program, which helps them build confidence and creativity by learning to play a character and using their voice in different ways for projection. In the classroom, especially as students reach the Rhetoric Stage in Upper School, discussions and debates are part of daily instruction. Together, the elements of verbal communication that have been intentionally incorporated into the curriculum help prepare the students exceptionally for life beyond the hallways at Liberty.
The Results: A Voice for the Future
The success of this distinction is measured over the course of decades as graduates move into spaces of influence across culture and industries, and it can be seen every day, even in the smallest of interactions. It’s seen in the way a student engages in a discussion with an adult, when a Lower School student presents a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., or when a graduating senior defends his thesis. Eventually, it’s seen in a job interview or a business meeting. The most rewarding part? The thank you we have received from so many of our alumni that credit Liberty for the way this school has prepared them. The ability to write and speak seems to be a form of art we’re losing as our dependence on tech increases. What sets a Liberty Classical graduate apart is that our classroom, our curriculum, and our community are making it possible for them to find and use their voice. And the future belongs to those with a voice.