Notes from Martin Robinson’s 21st C Trivium

Some dog-ears from Martin Robinson’s Trivium 21stC


“No longer were the students expected to enter the kitchen; rather they chose from a menu and expected it to be served up ready-cooked. This is the problem with spoon-feeding: the whole process devalues the making and concentrates on the service.”

Art vs discipline

An art offers an open-ended approach as opposed to a discipline where we are trained to follow one path, which is closed

An aim for education

I want [my daughter] to know about things and how to do things. I wante her to be able to question, both to find out more and also to realize that some things aren’t known, can’t be known, or aren’t fully understood. I wante her to communicate about things she has discovered, surmised, or created in the way of an open hand to the world. Finally, I want all this to have a purpose, which can be summed up by the phrase ‘a good life’.


This is the idea of mastery: discipline, focus, work, beauty even in ugliness, truth, and the pusuit of in-depth knowledge. This is, perhaps, what Plato thought of as “being awake”

Education & Science

Quoting Daniel Whillingham: “For a start, education is not a suitable matter for science. Education is an application. It hink of scientific fields, like cognitive psychology, as being fields that theories of education can draw on. One way in which it is clear that education is different is that education is goal driven. In science you seek to describe the world as it is; in education and other applied fields you want to change the world…

Once you’ve defined the goals science mght be able to help you achieve the goals.”

Active Citizenship

Quoting Sarah Jones: “In active citizenship, they bring any issue – from the news, from school, from their local communities – and they can consider how they can campaign on that issue. This enables kids to be empowered to make a difference. It gives them the tools to make a difference. That’s the kind of thing that your middle-c;ass kid gets modelled at home all the time. We can kids to understand that they can get involved, that they can physically change their local environment for the better.”