Ethos, Pathos and Logos: effectiveness of classical rhetoric in the teaching profession


  • Ciro De Angelis Università del Salento. Istituto Comprensivo Statale "Casalini" di San Marzano di San Giuseppe (TA)



In today's society, teachers play a fundamental role. Cultural and educational formation depends on them, and therefore the success of future generations. An ancient oriental proverb says: If nobody knows what you know, your knowledge is of little use. It is understood that it is not enough to possess or produce culture: it is necessary to be able to transmit it adequately. The effective teacher is able to master a range of skills that make their teaching brilliant. Among these, a relevant place belongs to communication skills. Communicating is a true art that can be acquired and improved and that the teacher cannot and must not underestimate, since he educates and trains the adults of tomorrow. The quality of teaching therefore plays an essential role. The necessary skills, aimed at optimizing teaching, include both the ability to develop the three fundamental levels of communication, verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal (or body language), taught by Cicero in De Oratore, and to master the three ways or means of persuasion indicated in the first place in Aristotle's Rhetoric, the Ethos, the Pathos and the Logos, then expanded and taken up by Isocrates, the great master of eloquence of classical Greece. Classical rhetoric thus provides numerous tools to make the teaching class more competent through the development of the oratory art, for teaching based not on the mere transmission of contents, but capable of persuading, educating and training and to put students in condition. thanks to a sort of Socratic maieutics, to fully develop their resources and potential.