- Oct 2022
Sayers, Dorothy L. The Lost Tools of Learning. E. T. Heron, 1948.
For the sole true end of educationis simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whateverinstruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.
We have lostthe tools of learning—the axe and the wedge, the hammer and the saw, thechisel and the plane—that were so adaptable to all tasks. Instead of them, wehave merely a set of complicated jigs, each of which will do but one task andno more, and in using which eye and hand receive no training, so that no manever sees the work as a whole or “looks to the end of the work.”
for as Dialectic will have shown all branches oflearning to be inter-related, so Rhetoric will tend to show that all knowledgeis one.
How did we shift from inter-related subjects and "one knowledge" of rhetoric in the Middle Ages to such strict departmentalization in the academy to only now be moving back toward multi-disciplinary research?
hildren sit in judgment on their masters;
All children sit in judgment on their masters;
The grammar of History should consist, I think, of dates, events, anecdotes,and personalities. A set of dates to which one can peg all later historicalknowledge is of enormous help later on in establishing the perspective ofhistory. It does not greatly matter which dates: those of the Kings of Englandwill do very nicely, provided they are accompanied by pictures of costume,architecture, and all “every-day things,” so that the mere mention of a datecalls up a strong visual presentment of the whole period.
She seems to be encouraging the association of dates with easily visualized images, but is she doing so with the knowledge of the art of memory?
I suspect not, but we could look for other evidence here.
We dole out lip-service to the importance of education—lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone theschool leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachersslave conscientiously in and out of school-hours, till responsibility becomes aburden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largelyfrustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absencecan only make a botched and piecemeal job of it.
By teaching them all to read, we have left them atthe mercy of the printed word.
Knowing how to read without the associated apparatus of the trivium, leaves people open to believing just about anything. You can read words, but knowing what to do with those words, endow them with meaning, and reason with them. (summarization)
Oral cultures with knowledge systems engrained into them would likely have included trivium-esque structures to allow their users to not only better remember to to better think and argue.
Is it not the great defect of our education to-day (—a defect traceablethrough all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned—)that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils “subjects,” we faillamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think? They learneverything, except the art of learning.
- tools for thought
- literacy as a tool
- media studies
- The Lost Tools of Learning
- multi-disciplinary research
- education reform
- open questions
- Dorothy L. Sayers
- learning how to learn
- tools for learning
- Jun 2022
Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison reads in as follows in its entirety: “JB puts this highest among the masterpieces. It has the strongest possible element of suspense—curiosity and the feeling one shares with Wimsey for Harriet Vane. The clues, the enigma, the free-love question, and the order of telling could not be improved upon. As for the somber opening, with the judge’s comments on how to make an omelet, it is sheer genius.”