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The Lost Tools of Learning By Dorothy Sayers 1947

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by john316, Jan 29, 2019.


  1. john316

    john316 Monkey+++

    IS ANYTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

    The Lost Tools of Learning By Dorothy Sayers 1947
    This essay was written for a speech given at Oxford in 1947.
    ...........
    do
    you sometimes have an uneasy suspicion that the product of modern
    educational methods is less good than he or she might be at
    disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible?
    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? Or have you
    ever pondered upon the extremely high incidence of irrelevant matter
    which crops up at committee meetings, and upon the very great rarity
    of persons capable of acting as chairmen of committees? 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
    heart?..............


    Have you ever followed a discussion in the newspapers

    BACK TO THE START.............

    T HAT I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should
    presume to discuss education is a matter, surely, that calls for no
    apology. It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of
    opinion is wholly favorable. Bishops air their opinions about
    economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about
    theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical
    ministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that
    Epstein and Picasso do not know how to draw. Up to a certain point,
    and provided that the criticisms are made with a reasonable modesty,
    these activities are commendable. Too much specialization is not a
    good thing. There is also one excellent reason why the veriest
    amateur may feel entitled to have an opinion about education. For if
    we are not all professional teachers, we have all, at some time or
    another, been taught. Even if we learnt nothing – perhaps in
    particular if we learnt nothing – our contribution to the discussion
    may have a potential value.
    However, it is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms
    I propose will ever be carried into effect. Neither the parents, nor the
    training colleges, nor the examination boards, nor the boards of
    governors, nor the ministries of education, would countenance them
    for a moment. For they amount to this: that if we are to produce a
    society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectual
    freedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society, we must
    turn back the wheel of progress some four or five hundred years, to
    the point at which education began to lose sight of its true object,
    towards the end of the Middle Ages.
    Before you dismiss me with the appropriate phrase – reactionary,
    romantic, mediaevalist, laudator temporis acti (praiser of times past), or
    whatever tag comes first to hand – I will ask you to consider one or
    two miscellaneous questions that hang about at the back, perhaps, of
    all our minds, and occasionally pop out to worry us.


    READ IT ALL............VERY GOOD READ FOR 2019
     

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Wow. That author has a convoluted way of putting sentences together...probably a result of todays failing academic institutions ;)
     
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  3. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready! Site Supporter++

    I envision a lot of hand flourishes when the author talks
     
    Dunerunner likes this.
  4. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Probably the one thing that one of my school teachers said that sunk in is the purpose of collage was to teach one how to learn more than what to learn . Doing one's own research and finding answers for them self .
    Unfortunately collage has become a platform for propaganda in stead .
    I choose not to go to collage and glad I did not waste my time . More so now than when I left high school .
    There have always been enough books for most things I needed to know and for the rest I figured out my self ,some through reason and some through trial and error.
    Teachers I found tend to demand their flavor with out facts, and in some cases brats with age not intellect.
    The best teachers did not compromise facts and even uncomfortable truths were faced head on .
    On hard questions liberal teachers gave the stock answers from the book , but the truly intellectual teacher said lets research with all the information available . then sometimes there was just not enough information available yet.
    The key to learning for me is need , thirst, hunger for .
    If you feed a person information they are not hungry for ,you are wasting time.
    This is where school fails, and parents fail too.
    I have known kids that had been sheltered from the knowledge of how hard life is, and had no respect for their parents struggle .
    Personally I knew the tests and trials my parents went through, and did not demand any thing of them and did what I could to help them out . Looking back I believe it would have benefited me to been even more involved in their financial affairs , I might have had a better interest in math . not that I was weak in math ,I could have done better.
    My parents did not shield me from death , it was probably more a part of my life than birth events .As a result I can deal with death better than most . if you shield your kids from reality you disable them .
     
  5. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I guess there was a time when the purpose of school was to teach you how to learn and they expected you to do the next step on your own. People actually used to read books and talk to each other and "correspond" in a thoughtful coherent way. Now as we just saw in Calif, the purpose of school is to protect the teachers rice bowl, receive maximum income, control, and to toe the politically correct political and union line. As long as the institution, including the staff, does well, education is far down the line of priorities. The presence of an educated nuturing family to instill an appreciation for the need to learn, often supplied by grand parents, in those early formative years, 2 til 6, is also sadly missed. We used to have very negative feelings for those institutionalized in orphanages, etc, but now many of our children are institutionalized in day care centers, preschool systems, etc, where meaningful contact on a one on one basis with a "tribal" elder is almost unknown and it is taken as a given. While we go thru the motions of making a "single" parent with 3 or more preschool and school age children work, many of the less educated will never earn enough to cover the actual cost of the child care, and that system and the lack of a family supplied basic education has nearly destroyed our nation. In turn it has created a system that introduces a new set of sponsored values that are selected by others. In my limited area many of the more conservative Christians parents have opted out of the public school system for that very reason and are either using private or home schooling, something the upper class has done for generations.

    I am almost 81 now, a product of 1 room schoolhouse, lots of contacts with my elders, unable to communicate in x word long texts with no syntax or spelling, and write long boring posts that once in a while stay on topic. given the nature of things, I will be moving on fairly soon and leave this world to those who do text, etc. In my humble opinion, they will in a generation require an app or instructional video in order to participate in coition. Interesting, while that is the correct term for the act, spell check does not recognize it nor does it nuturing. Things may be worse than I thought.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  6. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Well, I made it to page 7... And, if I understand the subject of this speech, and I am not sure if I do, it is simply about 'teaching a subject vs. teaching how to learn.' The word 'verbose' comes to mind and I quite agree with @techsar that the speaker has 'convoluted way of putting sentences together'; however, I believe it was done on purpose to impress and show oneself as equal or more than equal to the assembly of minds at Oxford.

    I believe myself to be the perfect example of an individual born into ignorance and illiteracy. It's a bit of a story and like most of my life, it's one that most will either disbelieve or believe its greatly exaggerated so I will spare you and myself and simply say that what saved my life, gave me a new world, and a new and better life was my love of - reading.

    Most teachers/professors shouldn't be teaching - period. It's not that they don't know their subject, it is because they don't know how to teach. Also, many don't like to teach but must in order to have the necessities of life to survive. And, personally, I think many teachers/professors are also narcissists and my purpose there is to worship them not to learn but perhaps I just got a bad batch...

    Thankfully, we have books and now, the internet. Can't tolerate the Professor's explanation of Quantum Computing? Open a book or website. Still don't get it? Open a new one and keep doing so until one resonates with you. Thankfully, I never had to sit in this speaker's classes, because it most definitely would have been a waste of my time and a waste of theirs...
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  7. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    But the whole point of the verbose paper was that you should never have to sit in her class. You are completely right and prove her point, knowing how to read, being willing to read, and be willing to learn, on your own or with others, is much more important in the scheme of things than having a memorized PhD in x studies awarded to you for some hidden insult to one of your beliefs. In my lifetime I have known almost as many people ruined by some imagined limitation and the chip they carry on their shoulder because of it or who have an education that is either not saleable or do not have the ability to sell the education that they have received and go thru life as poets, artists, actors, musicians, etc with no skills and complain it is the worlds fault than those crippled by addictions or ill health. The most educated religious man I know is a carpenter and has in his own time and thru his studies knows more about some religious areas than anyone else I know. He has that magic touch, both the ability and the desire to learn.
     
  8. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    One of the tools that made a big difference in my learning was a speed reading class .
    Extremely extraordinary for the teacher, who is usually very strict, he demanded that there be no grade before beginning the class in school . Reason being
    1. The class should have been for the most part in grammar school not high school .
    2. The curriculum was leaning more toward remembering what you read ,"retention" , more than speed , but speed helped the reader develop a picture better ,that is if the writer had a clue as to what was being said, and not some rambling .
    3. Culturally both the reader and writings are yet developing ,maturing .
    In this culture today some writings are reverse intellect and like the British ,in stead of using the correct word substitute something else. Now days people are calling the spring loaded box that fits in the cavity below the chamber a clip, when it is actually a magazine . ever thing is a clip when the use of a clip was only in very old military arms referring to a flat fold of steel with a clip spring to retain the ammo by the rim of the cartages ,only for depositing ammo into a magazine which was then fed one at a time into the chamber .
    I have even read where they call the revolver's cylinder a clip as well ,and this in advertising .
    A pet peeve. And this from the packaging on the guns them selves.
    It is particularly sad that so few care about clear communications and ye people are so concerned about feelings than fact.
    Using the wrong terms for things is pervasive, but it also exposes the difference between the jonney come lately, and the veteran. But it is particularly sad when a manufacture cannot properly represent it's own equipment.
     
    OldDude49 likes this.
  9. jpr9954

    jpr9954 Monkey+++

    Given Dorothy Sayers took a First Class Honors degree from Oxford in 1915, I don't think we can blame today's failing academic institutions. I'd say her writing style might have been current for her time. BTW her detective novels are excellent.
     
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