[Dorothy L. Sayers] ¼ The Lost Tools of Learning [american PDF] Ebook Epub Download î Thoughtprovoking essay on the importance of classical education and its advantage over modern teaching methods.
Here's a snippet:
"Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined? .
Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side? .
And when you think of this, and think that most of our public affairs are settled by debates and committees, have you ever felt a certain sinking of the This book was a great defense of how we should educate our children from infancy to their late teens.
Dorothy Sayers herself was privileged to have a father who was the chaplain for Christ Church at the University of Oxford.
Sayers was born in the nineteenth century in a time when women were still not allowed to receive college degrees from Oxford.
Despite that, I love how her father had a vision for his daughter to be educated.
It obviously affected her.
She passionately argued for a return to how humans use to be educated for centuries.
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The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think.
The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
My mother taught for 15 years at one of the better schools in the county, and often lamented the inability and/or unwillngness of students to think critically.
As I began teaching and mentoring high school age, I saw what she meant.
I ordered this on audio and listened to it two times through.
I found it mindboggling and paradigmshifting.
It was of particular interest to me that Sayers gave this lecture in 1947; it could very well be for today, and how much more so with what the internet vomits out at our young people continuously, let alone the yellow journalism and editorials which pass as news.
My personal observation The main point of Sayers' essay, that learning to learn is more important than learning per se, is a good one (and a principle I was, more or less, brought up on).
Somehow, it's more humanslower, more carefuland more eternalfacing (why cram before the exam? why cram before death?).
It's particularly relevant today, when ignorance is regarded as a root cause for much (most?) misery in the world (cramming doesn't help.
Just look at the students after cramming.
Zombie movies could get inspiration).
Regarding the classical approach she advocatesI haven't thought enough about it to say anything worthwhile right now, but it certainly seems to have more going for it than whatever educators now think they are doing.
Sayers writes with a clarity which (besides being a pleasure to read) indicates a lot of thinking happened before the essay.
always a Good Thing.
One last thing I particularly Favorite quote: "For we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary.
By teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word.
By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words.
They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects.
We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of "subjects"; and when whole classes and whole nations become h Must read for educators
Our modern education system is failing, deaf to change, and far from truth.
Christians have either been naive or ignorant, and regardless of either at this point, are complicit in propping up public education.
Public education is archaic and out of touch with reality.
This is simply a must read.
Very similar to my own views on education.
This essay was written by Sayers in 1947 in the postWorld War II era.
She makes a strong case for the classical TriviumGrammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric.
in today's parlance "critical thinking.
" Having been a product of this classical approach I can say that it is immensely helpful.
If you don't know how to think and express your thoughts coherently then life becomes a jumble of mindless movements.
While some of her language is stilted with age, this essay is well worth the effort.
There are a lot of people who are huge fans of this essay (it is really more of an essay than a book) but in it Sayers is really just rehashing ideas presented many years before by John Henry Newman.
Newman was a leader in the Oxford movement in England and wrote extensively on education.
Sayers work is her own interpretation of that work and simply no where near as good.
Both works call for a return to the foundations of a classic education, though even this Sayers reinterprets a bit.
There is some good to be found in Sayers work, but you would be better served to read Newman's "The Idea of a University.
" which is available from Amazon for free.