When Orality Abides Rhetoric Thrives

Thursday, June 25 | 2:30-3:15pm

There is something missing. It is popular, in evangelical circles, to refer to high school as the “School of Rhetoric,” but, ironically, the majority have only one or two rhetoric classes. These classes almost always focus on composition. Now, writing quality essays is a worthy goal. However, in terms of engaging one’s neighbor, developing quick wit, of being at home in the rough-and-tumble of the marketplace of ideas, there is no substitute for speech and debate. “School of Rhetoric in Name Only,” will detail what drives my work with classical educators, and has, point of fact, shaped my three rhetoric classes at Wittenberg Academy. Namely, teaching in tandem dialectic and rhetoric to cultivate wisdom and eloquence.

 In learning to approach rhetoric from this point of view, and coupling it with instruction in dialectic, attendees will be reminded why rhetoric held, for a thousand years, the elevated status of “Capstone of the Liberal Arts” and how it still helps one “order the loves.” This workshop covers the curriculum for and pedagogy of three foundational courses in rhetorical studies: Introduction to Public Speaking, Argumentation & Debate, and Advanced Public Speaking because, to hearken the mantra of the German Reformers, “The aim of liberal arts education is a wise and eloquent piety.”

Dr. James Tallmon

Dr. Jim Tallmon has spent a lifetime teaching rhetoric and dialectic, from college to middle school. After graduating with a Ph.D. from The University of Washington, Dr. Tallmon's career began in public universities in the Midwest, teaching honors courses and eventually running an honors program. He spent six years teaching rhetorical studies and coaching debate at Patrick Henry College. Dr. Tallmon continues to work with classical educators, (nearly 20 years now,) but grew increasingly aware that he was an ivory tower type, telling K-12 educators how to teach, when he had never actually experienced their world! So he left academia to serve as headmaster and teach grades 7 & 8 in a classical Lutheran school in Wyoming. Now residing, with his wife of 39-years, Bonnie Jean, in Austin, TX, Dr. Tallmon enjoys going on adventures with grandkids, writes everyday, and teaches Rhetoric I, II, and III for Wittenberg Academy, an online Classical Lutheran High School. His historic novel, Of Rhetoric and Redemption in La Rioja is an integral part of his teaching. In brief, it brings together St. Paul with Quintilian in Roman Hispania. The two of them discuss ethics, dialectic, rhetoric, the gospel, and pedagogy (cast up as Platonic dialogue).