Lost Tools of Learning

Just finished reading Dorothy Sayer’s The Lost Tools of Learning, an essay presented in 1947 proposing a revision of modern education methods. Sayers is quite the interesting historical figure in her own right and this essay is quite the proposal for educational revamping. I was pointed to it by a talk I’ve heard by Douglas Wilson as part of his Integrated Life series, entitled “Education that’s Christian All the Way Down”. Where he discusses this proposal as the motivation behind Logos School.

While I, like Sayers, would consider myself a laudator temporis acti, find her arguments compelling for a return to a more medieval form of education. It’s a short essay, I think everyone who has any inclination to consider the most appropriate educational constructs for our children should read this and form their own opinions. While a “medieval” method would probably be laughed out of consideration by the majority of today’s populus, I would challenge potential naysayers to carefully consider Sayer’s arguments and provide appropriate rebuttals. I myself am a product of public education, I feel I turned out alright, but upon entering the university I did find that there were many areas of thought and study in which I feel I should have and ample opportunity to at the very least been given categories through which to approach novel problems.

Sayer’s words are as potent and timely in contemporary educational debates as they were in the setting of 1940’s England. Rather than dismiss the argument as antiquated and simply the rantings of an old classicist, let us engage and learn from the sage advice and insight of someone who has thought long and hard about the foundations and presuppositions we blindly take for granted nowadays.

~ by veniatregnum on November 27, 2009.

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