Lost Tools Cover

The Lost Tools of Learning
By Dorothy L. Sayers

From the Introduction, by Cary Christian School Headmaster Dell Cook:

On an evening in 1947, the British crime novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright Dorothy Sayers delivered a speech at Oxford University that has since generated a small revolution.

Sayers’ essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, is at once a lament and a wondering aloud.  She laments the low and continuing degeneration of the modern educational enterprise while wondering to her listeners if, perhaps, the educational methodology that produced the modern western world might be recovered.

In her speech, Sayers’ main thesis was that modern education had wandered astray from a goal of training students in the skills and arts of thinking and learning.  Instead, the goal had become procurement of data, facts and subject-specific content.  The unfortunate result of this shift in emphasis is that students, in seeking only to learn the subject, not only do not learn the subject, they fail to learn how to learn anything.  Additionally, they become less apt and able to make connections of information, how to discern good reasoning from bad, and how to articulately express their thoughts in a cogent way.  In short, we divest them of the ability to think and consequently, they become victims of the shoddy, lazy, or worse, nefarious thinking of the age…

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