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The Lost Tools of Learning

Dorothy Sayers

That 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 the 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.

When we think about the remark­ably ear­ly age at which the young men went up to uni­ver­si­ty in, let us say, Tudor times, and there­after were held fit to assume respon­si­bil­i­ty for the con­duct of their own affairs, are we alto­geth­er com­fort­able about that arti­fi­cial pro­lon­ga­tion of intel­lec­tu­al child­hood and ado­les­cence into the years of phys­i­cal matu­ri­ty which is so marked in our own day? To post­pone the accep­tance of respon­si­bil­i­ty to a late date brings with it a num­ber of psy­cho­log­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions which, while they may inter­est the psy­chi­a­trist, are scarce­ly ben­e­fi­cial either to the indi­vid­u­al or to soci­ety. The stock argu­ment in favor of post­pon­ing the school-leav­ing age and pro­long­ing the peri­od of edu­ca­tion gen­er­al­ly is there there is now so much more to learn than there was in the Mid­dle Ages. This is part­ly true, but not whol­ly. The mod­ern boy and girl are cer­tain­ly taught more subjects–but does that always mean that they actu­al­ly know more?

Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfor­tu­nate, that today, when the pro­por­tion of lit­er­a­cy through­out West­ern Europe 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? Do you put this down to the mere mechan­i­cal fact that the press and the radio and so on have made pro­pa­gan­da much eas­ier to dis­trib­ute over a wide area? Or 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 or else­where and noticed how fre­quent­ly writ­ers fail to define the terms they use? Or how often, if one man does define his terms, anoth­er will assume in his reply that he was using the terms in pre­cise­ly the oppo­site sense to that in which he has already defined them? Have you ever been faint­ly trou­bled by the amount of slip­shod syn­tax going about? And, if so, are you trou­bled because it is inel­e­gant or because it may lead to dan­ger­ous mis­un­der­stand­ing?

Do you ever find that young peo­ple, when they have left school, not only for­get most of what they have learnt (that is only to be expect­ed), but for­get also, or betray that they have nev­er real­ly known, how to tack­le a new sub­ject for them­selves? Are you often both­ered by com­ing across grown-up men and wom­en who seem unable to dis­tin­guish between a book that is sound, schol­ar­ly, and prop­er­ly doc­u­ment­ed, and one that is, to any trained eye, very con­spic­u­ous­ly none of the­se things? Or who can­not han­dle a library cat­a­logue? Or who, when faced with a book of ref­er­ence, betray a curi­ous inabil­i­ty to extract from it the pas­sages rel­e­vant to the par­tic­u­lar ques­tion which inter­ests them?

Do you often come across peo­ple for whom, all their lives, a “sub­ject” remains a “sub­ject,” divid­ed by water­tight bulk­heads from all oth­er “sub­jects,” so that they expe­ri­ence very great dif­fi­cul­ty in mak­ing an imme­di­ate men­tal con­nec­tion between let us say, alge­bra and detec­tive fic­tion, sewage dis­pos­al and the price of salmon–or, more gen­er­al­ly, between such spheres of knowl­edge as phi­los­o­phy and eco­nom­ics, or chem­istry and art?

Are you occa­sion­al­ly per­turbed by the things writ­ten by adult men and wom­en for adult men and wom­en to read? We find a well-known biol­o­gist writ­ing in a week­ly paper to the effect that: “It is an argu­ment again­st the exis­tence of a Cre­ator” (I think he put it more strong­ly; but since I have, most unfor­tu­nate­ly, mis­laid the ref­er­ence, I will put his claim at its lowest)–“an argu­ment again­st the exis­tence of a Cre­ator that the same kind of vari­a­tions which are pro­duced by nat­u­ral selec­tion can be pro­duced at will by stock breed­ers.” One might feel tempt­ed to say that it is rather an argu­ment for the exis­tence of a Cre­ator. Actu­al­ly, of course, it is nei­ther; all it proves is that the same mate­ri­al caus­es (recom­bi­na­tion of the chro­mo­somes, by cross­breed­ing, and so forth) are suf­fi­cient to account for all observed variations–just as the var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions of the same dozen tones are mate­ri­al­ly suf­fi­cient to account for Beethoven’s Moon­light Sonata and the noise the cat makes by walk­ing on the keys. But the cat’s per­for­mance nei­ther proves nor dis­proves the exis­tence of Beethoven; and all that is proved by the biologist’s argu­ment is that he was unable to dis­tin­guish between a mate­ri­al and a final cause.

Here is a sen­tence from no less aca­d­e­mic a source than a front- page arti­cle in the Times Lit­er­ary Sup­ple­ment: “The French­man, Alfred Epinas, point­ed out that cer­tain species (e.g., ants and wasps) can only face the hor­rors of life and death in asso­ci­a­tion.” I do not know what the French­man actu­al­ly did say; what the Eng­lish­man says he said is patent­ly mean­ing­less. We can­not know whether life holds any hor­ror for the ant, nor in what sense the iso­lat­ed wasp which you kill upon the win­dow-pane can be said to “face” or not to “face” the hor­rors of death. The sub­ject of the arti­cle is mass behav­ior in man; and the human motives have been unob­tru­sive­ly trans­ferred from the main propo­si­tion to the sup­port­ing instance. Thus the argu­ment, in effect, assumes what it set out to prove–a fact which would become imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent if it were pre­sent­ed in a for­mal syl­lo­gism. This is only a small and hap­haz­ard exam­ple of a vice which per­vades whole books–particularly books writ­ten by men of sci­ence on meta­phys­i­cal sub­jects.

Anoth­er quo­ta­tion from the same issue of the TLS comes in fit­ting­ly here to wind up this ran­dom col­lec­tion of dis­qui­et­ing thoughts–this time from a review of Sir Richard Livingstone’s “Some Tasks for Edu­ca­tion”: “More than once the read­er is remind­ed of the val­ue of an inten­sive study of at least one sub­ject, so as to learn Tthe mean­ing of knowl­edge’ and what pre­ci­sion and per­sis­tence is need­ed to attain it. Yet there is else­where full recog­ni­tion of the dis­tress­ing fact that a man may be mas­ter in one field and show no bet­ter judge­ment than his neigh­bor any­where else; he remem­bers what he has learnt, but for­gets alto­geth­er how he learned it.”

I would draw your atten­tion par­tic­u­lar­ly to that last sen­tence, which offers an expla­na­tion of what the writer right­ly calls the “dis­tress­ing fact” that the intel­lec­tu­al skills bestowed upon us by our edu­ca­tion are not read­i­ly trans­fer­able to sub­jects oth­er than those in which we acquired them: “he remem­bers what he has learnt, but for­gets alto­geth­er how he learned it.”

Is not the great defect of our edu­ca­tion today–a defect trace­able through all the dis­qui­et­ing symp­toms of trou­ble that I have mentioned–that although we often suc­ceed in teach­ing our pupils “sub­jects,” we fail lam­en­ta­bly on the whole in teach­ing them how to think: they learn every­thing, except the art of learn­ing. It is as though we had taught a child, mechan­i­cal­ly and by rule of thumb, to play “The Har­mo­nious Black­smith” upon the piano, but had nev­er taught him the scale or how to read music; so that, hav­ing mem­o­rized “The Har­mo­nious Black­smith,” he still had not the faintest notion how to pro­ceed from that to tack­le “The Last Rose of Sum­mer.” Why do I say, “as though”? In cer­tain of the arts and crafts, we some­times do pre­cise­ly this–requiring a child to “express him­self” in paint before we teach him how to han­dle the col­ors and the brush. There is a school of thought which believes this to be the right way to set about the job. But observe: it is not the way in which a trained crafts­man will go about to teach him­self a new medi­um. He, hav­ing learned by expe­ri­ence the best way to econ­o­mize labor and take the thing by the right end, will start off by doo­dling about on an odd piece of mate­ri­al, in order to “give him­self the feel of the tool.”

Let us now look at the medi­ae­val scheme of education–the syl­labus of the Schools. It does not mat­ter, for the moment, whether it was devised for small chil­dren or for old­er stu­dents, or how long peo­ple were sup­posed to take over it. What mat­ters is the light it throws upon what the men of the Mid­dle Ages sup­posed to be the object and the right order of the educa­tive process.

The syl­labus was divid­ed into two parts: the Triv­i­um and Quadriv­i­um. The sec­ond part–the Quadrivium–consisted of “sub­jects,” and need not for the moment con­cern us. The inter­est­ing thing for us is the com­po­si­tion of the Triv­i­um, which pre­ced­ed the Quadriv­i­um and was the pre­lim­i­nary dis­ci­pline for it. It con­sist­ed of three parts: Gram­mar, Dialec­tic, and Rhetoric, in that order.

Now the first thing we notice is that two at any rate of the­se “sub­jects” are not what we should call “sub­jects” at all: they are only meth­ods of deal­ing with sub­jects. Gram­mar, indeed, is a “sub­ject” in the sense that it does mean def­i­nite­ly learn­ing a language–at that peri­od it meant learn­ing Lat­in. But lan­guage itself is sim­ply the medi­um in which thought is expressed. The whole of the Triv­i­um was, in fact, intend­ed to teach the pupil the prop­er use of the tools of learn­ing, before he began to apply them to “sub­jects” at all. First, he learned a lan­guage; not just how to order a meal in a for­eign lan­guage, but the struc­ture of a lan­guage, and hence of lan­guage itself–what it was, how it was put togeth­er, and how it worked. Sec­ond­ly, he learned how to use lan­guage; how to define his terms and make accu­rate state­ments; how to con­struct an argu­ment and how to detect fal­lac­i­es in argu­ment. Dialec­tic, that is to say, embraced Log­ic and Dis­pu­ta­tion. Third­ly, he learned to express him­self in lan­guage– how to say what he had to say ele­gant­ly and per­sua­sive­ly.

At the end of his course, he was required to com­pose a the­sis upon some the­me set by his mas­ters or cho­sen by him­self, and after­wards to defend his the­sis again­st the crit­i­cism of the fac­ul­ty. By this time, he would have learned–or woe betide him– not mere­ly to write an essay on paper, but to speak audi­bly and intel­li­gi­bly from a plat­form, and to use his wits quick­ly when heck­led. There would also be ques­tions, cogent and shrewd, from those who had already run the gauntlet of debate.

It is, of course, quite true that bits and pieces of the medi­ae­val tra­di­tion still linger, or have been revived, in the ordi­nary school syl­labus of today. Some knowl­edge of gram­mar is still required when learn­ing a for­eign language–perhaps I should say, “is again required,” for dur­ing my own life­time, we passed through a phase when the teach­ing of declen­sions and con­ju­ga­tions was con­sid­ered rather rep­re­hen­si­ble, and it was con­sid­ered bet­ter to pick the­se things up as we went along. School debat­ing soci­eties flour­ish; essays are writ­ten; the neces­si­ty for “self- expres­sion” is stressed, and per­haps even over-stressed. But the­se activ­i­ties are cul­ti­vat­ed more or less in detach­ment, as belong­ing to the spe­cial sub­jects in which they are pigeon-holed rather than as form­ing one coher­ent scheme of men­tal train­ing to which all “subjects“stand in a sub­or­di­nate rela­tion. “Gram­mar” belongs espe­cial­ly to the “sub­ject” of for­eign lan­guages, and essay-writ­ing to the “sub­ject” called “Eng­lish”; while Dialec­tic has become almost entire­ly divorced from the rest of the cur­ricu­lum, and is fre­quent­ly prac­ticed unsys­tem­at­i­cal­ly and out of school hours as a sep­a­rate exer­cise, only very loose­ly relat­ed to the main busi­ness of learn­ing. Tak­en by and large, the great dif­fer­ence of empha­sis between the two con­cep­tions holds good: mod­ern edu­ca­tion con­cen­trates on “teach­ing sub­jects,” leav­ing the method of think­ing, argu­ing, and express­ing one’s con­clu­sions to be picked up by the schol­ar as he goes along’ medi­ae­val edu­ca­tion con­cen­trat­ed on first forg­ing and learn­ing to han­dle the tools of learn­ing, using what­ev­er sub­ject came handy as a piece of mate­ri­al on which to doo­dle until the use of the tool became sec­ond nature.

Sub­jects” of some kind there must be, of course. One can­not learn the the­o­ry of gram­mar with­out learn­ing an actu­al lan­guage, or learn to argue and orate with­out speak­ing about some­thing in par­tic­u­lar. The debat­ing sub­jects of the Mid­dle Ages were drawn large­ly from the­ol­o­gy, or from the ethics and his­to­ry of antiq­ui­ty. Often, indeed, they became stereo­typed, espe­cial­ly towards the end of the peri­od, and the far-fetched and wire-drawn absur­di­ties of Scholas­tic argu­ment fret­ted Mil­ton and provide food for mer­ri­ment even to this day. Whether they were in them­selves any more hack­neyed and triv­ial then the usu­al sub­jects set nowa­days for “essay writ­ing” I should not like to say: we may our­selves grow a lit­tle weary of “A Day in My Hol­i­days” and all the rest of it. But most of the mer­ri­ment is mis­placed, because the aim and object of the debat­ing the­sis has by now been lost sight of.

A glib speak­er in the Brains Trust once enter­tained his audi­ence (and reduced the late Charles Williams to help­less rageb by assert­ing that in the Mid­dle Ages it was a mat­ter of faith to know how many archangels could dance on the point of a needle. I need not say, I hope, that it nev­er was a “mat­ter of faith”; it was sim­ply a debat­ing exer­cise, whose set sub­ject was the nature of angelic sub­stance: were angels mate­ri­al, and if so, did they occu­py space? The answer usu­al­ly adjudged cor­rect is, I believe, that angels are pure intel­li­gences; not mate­ri­al, but lim­it­ed, so that they may have loca­tion in space but not exten­sion. An anal­o­gy might be drawn from human thought, which is sim­i­lar­ly non-mate­ri­al and sim­i­lar­ly lim­it­ed. Thus, if your thought is con­cen­trat­ed upon one thing–say, the point of a needle–it is locat­ed there in the sense that it is not else­where; but although it is “there,” it occu­pies no space there, and there is noth­ing to pre­vent an infinite num­ber of dif­fer­ent people’s thoughts being con­cen­trat­ed upon the same needle-point at the same time. The prop­er sub­ject of the argu­ment is thus seen to be the dis­tinc­tion between loca­tion and exten­sion in space; the mat­ter on which the argu­ment is exer­cised hap­pens to be the nature of angels (although, as we have seen, it might equal­ly well have been some­thing else; the prac­ti­cal lesson to be drawn from the argu­ment is not to use words like “there” in a loose and unsci­en­tific way, with­out spec­i­fy­ing whether you mean “locat­ed there” or “occu­py­ing space there.”

Scorn in plen­ty has been poured out upon the medi­ae­val pas­sion for hair-split­ting; but when we look at the shame­less abuse made, in print and on the plat­form, of con­tro­ver­sial expres­sions with shift­ing and ambigu­ous con­no­ta­tions, we may feel it in our hearts to wish that every read­er and hear­er had been so defen­sive­ly armored by his edu­ca­tion as to be able to cry: “Dis­tin­guo.”

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 hyp­no­tized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impu­dence to be aston­ished. We dole out lip-ser­vice to the impor­tance of education–lip- ser­vice and, just occa­sion­al­ly, a lit­tle grant of mon­ey; we post­pone the school-leav­ing age, and plan to build big­ger and bet­ter schools; the teach­ers slave con­sci­en­tious­ly in and out of school hours; and yet, as I believe, all this devot­ed effort is large­ly frus­trat­ed, because we have lost the tools of learn­ing, and in their absence can only make a botched and piece­meal job of it.

What, then, are we to do? We can­not go back to the Mid­dle Ages. That is a cry to which we have become accus­tomed. We can­not go back–or can we? Dis­tin­guo. I should like every term in that propo­si­tion defined. Does “go back” mean a ret­ro­gres­sion in time, or the revi­sion of an error? The first is clear­ly impos­si­ble per se; the sec­ond is a thing which wise men do every day. “Can­not”– does this mean that our behav­ior is deter­mined irre­versibly, or mere­ly that such an action would be very dif­fi­cult in view of the oppo­si­tion it would pro­voke? Obvi­ous­ly the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry is not and can­not be the four­teen­th; but if “the Mid­dle Ages” is, in this con­text, sim­ply a pic­turesque phrase denot­ing a par­tic­u­lar edu­ca­tion­al the­o­ry, there seems to be no a pri­ori rea­son why we should not “go back” to it–with modifications–as we have already “gone back” with mod­i­fi­ca­tions, to, let us say, the idea of play­ing Shakespeare’s plays as he wrote them, and not in the “mod­ern­ized” ver­sions of Cib­ber and Gar­rick, which once seemed to be the lat­est thing in the­atri­cal pro­gress.

Let us amuse our­selves by imag­in­ing that such pro­gres­sive ret­ro­gres­sion is pos­si­ble. Let us make a clean sweep of all edu­ca­tion­al author­i­ties, and fur­nish our­selves with a nice lit­tle school of boys and girls whom we may exper­i­men­tal­ly equip for the intel­lec­tu­al con­flict along lines cho­sen by our­selves. We will endow them with excep­tion­al­ly docile par­ents; we will staff our school with teach­ers who are them­selves per­fect­ly famil­iar with the aims and meth­ods of the Triv­i­um; we will have our build­ing and staff large enough to allow our class­es to be small enough for ade­quate han­dling; and we will pos­tu­late a Board of Exam­in­ers will­ing and qual­i­fied to test the prod­ucts we turn out. Thus pre­pared, we will attempt to sketch out a syllabus–a mod­ern Triv­i­um “with mod­i­fi­ca­tions” and we will see where we get to.

But first: what age shall the chil­dren be? Well, if one is to edu­cate them on nov­el lines, it will be bet­ter that they should have noth­ing to unlearn; besides, one can­not begin a good thing too ear­ly, and the Triv­i­um is by its nature not learn­ing, but a prepa­ra­tion for learn­ing. We will, there­fore, “catch ‘em young,” requir­ing of our pupils only that they shall be able to read, write, and cipher.

My views about child psy­chol­o­gy are, I admit, nei­ther ortho­dox nor enlight­ened. Look­ing back upon myself (since I am the child I know best and the only child I can pre­tend to know from inside) I rec­og­nize three states of devel­op­ment. The­se, in a rough-and- ready fash­ion, I will call the Poll-Par­rot, the Pert, and the Poetic–the lat­ter coin­cid­ing, approx­i­mate­ly, with the onset of puber­ty. The Poll-Par­rot stage is the one in which learn­ing by heart is easy and, on the whole, plea­sur­able; where­as rea­son­ing is dif­fi­cult and, on the whole, lit­tle rel­ished. At this age, one read­i­ly mem­o­rizes the shapes and appear­ances of things; one likes to recite the num­ber-plates of cars; one rejoic­es in the chant­i­ng of rhymes and the rum­ble and thun­der of unin­tel­li­gi­ble poly­syl­la­bles; one enjoys the mere accu­mu­la­tion of things. The Pert age, which fol­lows upon this (and, nat­u­ral­ly, over­laps it to some extent), is char­ac­ter­ized by con­tra­dict­ing, answer­ing back, lik­ing to “catch peo­ple out” (espe­cial­ly one’s elders); and by the pro­pound­ing of conun­drums. Its nui­sance-val­ue is extreme­ly high. It usu­al­ly sets in about the Fourth Form. The Poet­ic age is pop­u­lar­ly known as the “dif­fi­cult” age. It is self-cen­tered; it yearns to express itself; it rather spe­cial­izes in being mis­un­der­stood; it is rest­less and tries to achieve inde­pen­dence; and, with good luck and good guid­ance, it should show the begin­nings of cre­ative­ness; a reach­ing out towards a syn­the­sis of what it already knows, and a delib­er­ate eager­ness to know and do some one thing in pref­er­ence to all oth­ers. Now it seems to me that the lay­out of the Triv­i­um adapts itself with a sin­gu­lar appro­pri­ate­ness to the­se three ages: Gram­mar to the Poll-Par­rot, Dialec­tic to the Pert, and Rhetoric to the Poet­ic age.

Let us begin, then, with Gram­mar. This, in prac­tice, means the gram­mar of some lan­guage in par­tic­u­lar; and it must be an inflect­ed lan­guage. The gram­mat­i­cal struc­ture of an unin­flect­ed lan­guage is far too ana­lyt­i­cal to be tack­led by any one with­out pre­vi­ous prac­tice in Dialec­tic. More­over, the inflect­ed lan­guages inter­pret the unin­flect­ed, where­as the unin­flect­ed are of lit­tle use in inter­pret­ing the inflect­ed. I will say at once, quite firm­ly, that the best ground­ing for edu­ca­tion is the Lat­in gram­mar. I say this, not because Lat­in is tra­di­tion­al and medi­ae­val, but sim­ply because even a rudi­men­ta­ry knowl­edge of Lat­in cuts down the labor and pains of learn­ing almost any oth­er sub­ject by at least fifty per­cent. It is the key to the vocab­u­lary and struc­ture of all the Teu­ton­ic lan­guages, as well as to the tech­ni­cal vocab­u­lary of all the sci­ences and to the lit­er­a­ture of the entire Mediter­ranean civ­i­liza­tion, togeth­er with all its his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments.

Those whose pedan­tic pref­er­ence for a liv­ing lan­guage per­suades them to deprive their pupils of all the­se advan­tages might sub­sti­tute Rus­sian, whose gram­mar is still more prim­i­tive. Rus­sian is, of course, help­ful with the oth­er Slav dialects. There is some­thing also to be said for Clas­si­cal Greek. But my own choice is Lat­in. Hav­ing thus pleased the Clas­si­cists among you, I will pro­ceed to hor­ri­fy them by adding that I do not think it either wise or nec­es­sary to cramp the ordi­nary pupil upon the Pro­crustean bed of the Augus­tan Age, with its high­ly elab­o­rate and arti­fi­cial verse forms and ora­to­ry. Post-clas­si­cal and medi­ae­val Lat­in, which was a liv­ing lan­guage right down to the end of the Renais­sance, is eas­ier and in some ways live­lier; a study of it helps to dis­pel the wide­spread notion that learn­ing and lit­er­a­ture came to a full stop when Christ was born and only woke up again at the Dis­so­lu­tion of the Monas­ter­ies.

Lat­in should be begun as ear­ly as possible–at a time when inflect­ed speech seems no more aston­ish­ing than any oth­er phe­nom­e­non in an aston­ish­ing world; and when the chant­i­ng of “Amo, amas, amat” is as rit­u­al­ly agree­able to the feel­ings as the chant­i­ng of “eeny, meeny, miney, moe.”

Dur­ing this age we must, of course, exer­cise the mind on oth­er things besides Lat­in gram­mar. Obser­va­tion and mem­o­ry are the fac­ul­ties most live­ly at this peri­od; and if we are to learn a con­tem­po­rary for­eign lan­guage we should begin now, before the facial and men­tal mus­cles become rebel­lious to strange into­na­tions. Spo­ken French or Ger­man can be prac­ticed alongside the gram­mat­i­cal dis­ci­pline of the Lat­in.

In Eng­lish, mean­while, verse and prose can be learned by heart, and the pupil’s mem­o­ry should be stored with sto­ries of every kind–classical myth, Euro­pean leg­end, and so forth. I do not think that the clas­si­cal sto­ries and mas­ter­pieces of ancient lit­er­a­ture should be made the vile bod­ies on which to prac­tice the tech­niques of Grammar–that was a fault of medi­ae­val edu­ca­tion which we need not per­pet­u­ate. The sto­ries can be enjoyed and remem­bered in Eng­lish, and relat­ed to their orig­in at a sub­se­quent stage. Recita­tion aloud should be prac­ticed, indi­vid­u­al­ly or in cho­rus; for we must not for­get that we are lay­ing the ground­work for Dis­pu­ta­tion and Rhetoric.

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 his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge is of enor­mous help lat­er on in estab­lish­ing the per­spec­tive of his­to­ry. It does not great­ly mat­ter which dates: those of the Kings of Eng­land will do very nice­ly, pro­vid­ed that they are accom­pa­nied by pic­tures of cos­tumes, archi­tec­ture, and oth­er every­day things, so that the mere men­tion of a date calls up a very strong visu­al pre­sent­ment of the whole peri­od.

Geog­ra­phy will sim­i­lar­ly be pre­sent­ed in its fac­tu­al aspect, with maps, nat­u­ral fea­tures, and visu­al pre­sent­ment of cus­toms, cos­tumes, flo­ra, fau­na, and so on; and I believe myself that the dis­cred­it­ed and old-fash­ioned mem­o­riz­ing of a few capi­tol cities, rivers, moun­tain ranges, etc., does no harm. Stamp col­lect­ing may be encour­aged.

Sci­ence, in the Poll-Par­rot peri­od, arranges itself nat­u­ral­ly and eas­i­ly around collections–the iden­ti­fy­ing and nam­ing of spec­i­mens and, in gen­er­al, the kind of thing that used to be called “nat­u­ral phi­los­o­phy.” To know the name and prop­er­ties of things is, at this age, a sat­is­fac­tion in itself; to rec­og­nize a devil’s coach-horse at sight, and assure one’s fool­ish elders, that, in spite of its appear­ance, it does not sting; to be able to pick out Cas­siopeia and the Pleiades, and per­haps even to know who Cas­siopeia and the Pleiades were; to be aware that a whale is not a fish, and a bat not a bird–all the­se things give a pleas­ant sen­sa­tion of supe­ri­or­i­ty; while to know a ring snake from an adder or a poi­so­nous from an edi­ble toad­stool is a kind of knowl­edge that also has prac­ti­cal val­ue.

The gram­mar of Math­e­mat­ics begins, of course, with the mul­ti­pli­ca­tion table, which, if not learnt now, will nev­er be learnt with plea­sure; and with the recog­ni­tion of geo­met­ri­cal shapes and the group­ing of num­bers. The­se exer­cis­es lead nat­u­ral­ly to the doing of sim­ple sums in arith­metic. More com­pli­cat­ed math­e­mat­i­cal process­es may, and per­haps should, be post­poned, for the rea­sons which will present­ly appear.

So far (except, of course, for the Lat­in), our cur­ricu­lum con­tains noth­ing that departs very far from com­mon prac­tice. The dif­fer­ence will be felt rather in the atti­tude of the teach­ers, who must look upon all the­se activ­i­ties less as “sub­jects” in them­selves than as a gath­er­ing-togeth­er of mate­ri­al for use in the next part of the Triv­i­um. What that mate­ri­al is, is only of sec­ondary impor­tance; but it is as well that any­thing and every­thing which can be use­ful­ly com­mit­ted to mem­o­ry should be mem­o­rized at this peri­od, whether it is imme­di­ate­ly intel­li­gi­ble or not. The mod­ern ten­den­cy is to try and force ratio­nal expla­na­tions on a child’s mind at too ear­ly an age. Intel­li­gent ques­tions, spon­ta­neous­ly asked, should, of course, receive an imme­di­ate and ratio­nal answer; but it is a great mis­take to sup­pose that a child can­not read­i­ly enjoy and remem­ber things that are beyond his pow­er to analyze–particularly if those things have a strong imag­i­na­tive appeal (as, for exam­ple, “Kubla Kahn”), an attrac­tive jin­gle (like some of the mem­o­ry-rhymes for Lat­in gen­ders), or an abun­dance of rich, resound­ing poly­syl­la­bles (like the Qui­cun­que vult).

This reminds me of the gram­mar of The­ol­o­gy. I shall add it to the cur­ricu­lum, because the­ol­o­gy is the mis­tress-sci­ence with­out which the whole edu­ca­tion­al struc­ture will nec­es­sar­i­ly lack its final syn­the­sis. Those who dis­agree about this will remain con­tent to leave their pupil’s edu­ca­tion still full of loose ends. This will mat­ter rather less than it might, since by the time that the tools of learn­ing have been forged the stu­dent will be able to tack­le the­ol­o­gy for him­self, and will prob­a­bly insist upon doing so and mak­ing sense of it. Still, it is as well to have this mat­ter also handy and ready for the rea­son to work upon. At the gram­mat­i­cal age, there­fore, we should become acquaint­ed with the sto­ry of God and Man in outline–i.e., the Old and New tes­ta­ments pre­sent­ed as parts of a sin­gle nar­ra­tive of Cre­ation, Rebel­lion, and Redemption–and also with the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Com­mand­ments. At this ear­ly stage, it does not mat­ter near­ly so much that the­se things should be ful­ly under­stood as that they should be known and remem­bered.

It is dif­fi­cult to say at what age, pre­cise­ly, we should pass from the first to the sec­ond part of the Triv­i­um. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, the answer is: so soon as the pupil shows him­self dis­posed to pert­ness and inter­minable argu­ment. For as, in the first part, the mas­ter fac­ul­ties are Obser­va­tion and Mem­o­ry, so, in the sec­ond, the mas­ter fac­ul­ty is the Dis­cur­sive Rea­son. In the first, the exer­cise to which the rest of the mate­ri­al was, as it were, keyed, was the Lat­in gram­mar; in the sec­ond, the key- exer­cise will be For­mal Log­ic. It is here that our cur­ricu­lum shows its first sharp diver­gence from mod­ern stan­dards. The dis­re­pute into which For­mal Log­ic has fal­l­en is entire­ly unjus­ti­fied; and its neglect is the root cause of near­ly all those dis­qui­et­ing symp­toms which we have not­ed in the mod­ern intel­lec­tu­al con­sti­tu­tion. Log­ic has been dis­cred­it­ed, part­ly because we have come to sup­pose that we are con­di­tioned almost entire­ly by the intu­itive and the uncon­scious. There is no time to argue whether this is true; I will sim­ply observe that to neglect the prop­er train­ing of the rea­son is the best pos­si­ble way to make it true. Anoth­er cause for the dis­fa­vor into which Log­ic has fal­l­en is the belief that it is entire­ly based upon uni­ver­sal assump­tions that are either unprov­able or tau­to­log­i­cal. This is not true. Not all uni­ver­sal propo­si­tions are of this kind. But even if they were, it would make no dif­fer­ence, since every syl­lo­gism whose major premise is in the form “All A is B” can be recast in hypo­thet­i­cal form. Log­ic is the art of argu­ing cor­rect­ly: “If A, then B.” The method is not inval­i­dat­ed by the hypo­thet­i­cal nature of A. Indeed, the prac­ti­cal util­i­ty of For­mal Log­ic today lies not so much in the estab­lish­ment of pos­i­tive con­clu­sions as in the prompt detec­tion and expo­sure of invalid infer­ence.

Let us now quick­ly review our mate­ri­al and see how it is to be relat­ed to Dialec­tic. On the Lan­guage side, we shall now have our vocab­u­lary and mor­phol­o­gy at our fin­ger­tips; hence­for­ward we can con­cen­trate on syn­tax and analy­sis (i.e., the log­i­cal con­struc­tion of speech) and the his­to­ry of lan­guage (i.e., how we came to arrange our speech as we do in order to con­vey our thoughts).

Our Read­ing will pro­ceed from nar­ra­tive and lyric to essays, argu­ment and crit­i­cism, and the pupil will learn to try his own hand at writ­ing this kind of thing. Many lessons–on what­ev­er subject–will take the form of debates; and the place of indi­vid­u­al or choral recita­tion will be tak­en by dra­mat­ic per­for­mances, with spe­cial atten­tion to plays in which an argu­ment is stat­ed in dra­mat­ic form.

Mathematics–algebra, geom­e­try, and the more advanced kinds of arithmetic–will now enter into the syl­labus and take its place as what it real­ly is: not a sep­a­rate “sub­ject” but a sub- depart­ment of Log­ic. It is nei­ther more nor less than the rule of the syl­lo­gism in its par­tic­u­lar appli­ca­tion to num­ber and mea­sure­ment, and should be taught as such, instead of being, for some, a dark mys­tery, and, for oth­ers, a spe­cial rev­e­la­tion, nei­ther illu­mi­nat­ing nor illu­mi­nat­ed by any oth­er part of knowl­edge.

His­to­ry, aid­ed by a sim­ple sys­tem of ethics derived from the gram­mar of the­ol­o­gy, will provide much suit­able mate­ri­al for dis­cus­sion: Was the behav­ior of this states­man jus­ti­fied? What was the effect of such an enact­ment? What are the argu­ments for and again­st this or that form of gov­ern­ment? We shall thus get an intro­duc­tion to con­sti­tu­tion­al history–a sub­ject mean­ing­less to the young child, but of absorbing inter­est to those who are pre­pared to argue and debate. The­ol­o­gy itself will fur­nish mate­ri­al for argu­ment about con­duct and morals; and should have its scope extend­ed by a sim­pli­fied course of dog­mat­ic the­ol­o­gy (i.e., the ratio­nal struc­ture of Chris­tian thought), clar­i­fy­ing the rela­tions between the dog­ma and the ethics, and lend­ing itself to that appli­ca­tion of eth­i­cal prin­ci­ples in par­tic­u­lar instances which is prop­er­ly called casu­istry. Geog­ra­phy and the Sci­ences will like­wise provide mate­ri­al for Dialec­tic.

But above all, we must not neglect the mate­ri­al which is so abun­dant in the pupils’ own dai­ly life.

There is a delight­ful pas­sage in Leslie Paul’s “The Liv­ing Hedge” which tells how a num­ber of small boys enjoyed them­selves for days argu­ing about an extra­or­di­nary show­er of rain which had fal­l­en in their town–a show­er so local­ized that it left one half of the main street wet and the oth­er dry. Could one, they argued, prop­er­ly say that it had rained that day on or over the town or only in the town? How many drops of water were required to con­sti­tute rain? And so on. Argu­ment about this led on to a host of sim­i­lar prob­lems about rest and motion, sleep and wak­ing, est and non est, and the infin­i­tes­i­mal divi­sion of time. The whole pas­sage is an admirable exam­ple of the spon­ta­neous devel­op­ment of the rati­o­ci­na­tive fac­ul­ty and the nat­u­ral and prop­er thirst of the awak­en­ing rea­son for the def­i­n­i­tion of terms and exact­ness of state­ment. All events are food for such an appetite.

An umpire’s deci­sion; the degree to which one may trans­gress the spir­it of a reg­u­la­tion with­out being trapped by the let­ter: on such ques­tions as the­se, chil­dren are born casu­ists, and their nat­u­ral propen­si­ty only needs to be devel­oped and trained–and espe­cial­ly, brought into an intel­li­gi­ble rela­tion­ship with the events in the grown-up world. The news­pa­pers are full of good mate­ri­al for such exer­cis­es: legal deci­sions, on the one hand, in cas­es where the cause at issue is not too abstruse; on the oth­er, fal­la­cious rea­son­ing and mud­dle­head­ed argu­ments, with which the cor­re­spon­dence columns of cer­tain papers one could name are abun­dant­ly stocked.

Wherever the mat­ter for Dialec­tic is found, it is, of course, high­ly impor­tant that atten­tion should be focused upon the beau­ty and econ­o­my of a fine demon­stra­tion or a well-turned argu­ment, lest ven­er­a­tion should whol­ly die. Crit­i­cism must not be mere­ly destruc­tive; though at the same time both teacher and pupils must be ready to detect fal­la­cy, slip­shod rea­son­ing, ambi­gu­i­ty, irrel­e­vance, and redun­dan­cy, and to pounce upon them like rats. This is the moment when pre­cis-writ­ing may be use­ful­ly under­tak­en; togeth­er with such exer­cis­es as the writ­ing of an essay, and the reduc­tion of it, when writ­ten, by 25 or 50 per­cent.

It will, doubtless, be object­ed that to encour­age young per­sons at the Pert age to brow­beat, cor­rect, and argue with their elders will ren­der them per­fect­ly intol­er­a­ble. My answer is that chil­dren of that age are intol­er­a­ble any­how; and that their nat­u­ral argu­men­ta­tive­ness may just as well be canal­ized to good pur­pose as allowed to run away into the sands. It may, indeed, be rather less obtru­sive at home if it is dis­ci­plined in school; and any­how, elders who have aban­doned the whole­some prin­ci­ple that chil­dren should be seen and not heard have no one to blame but them­selves.

Once again, the con­tents of the syl­labus at this stage may be any­thing you like. The “sub­jects” sup­ply mate­ri­al; but they are all to be regard­ed as mere grist for the men­tal mill to work upon. The pupils should be encour­aged to go and for­age for their own infor­ma­tion, and so guid­ed towards the prop­er use of libraries and books for ref­er­ence, and shown how to tell which sources are author­i­ta­tive and which are not.

Towards the close of this stage, the pupils will prob­a­bly be begin­ning to dis­cov­er for them­selves that their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence are insuf­fi­cient, and that their trained intel­li­gences need a great deal more mate­ri­al to chew upon. The imag­i­na­tion– usu­al­ly dor­mant dur­ing the Pert age–will reawak­en, and prompt them to sus­pect the lim­i­ta­tions of log­ic and rea­son. This means that they are pass­ing into the Poet­ic age and are ready to embark on the study of Rhetoric. The doors of the store­house of knowl­edge should now be thrown open for them to browse about as they will. The things once learned by rote will be seen in new con­texts; the things once cold­ly ana­lyzed can now be brought togeth­er to form a new syn­the­sis; here and there a sud­den insight will bring about that most excit­ing of all dis­cov­er­ies: the real­iza­tion that tru­ism is true.

It is dif­fi­cult to map out any gen­er­al syl­labus for the study of Rhetoric: a cer­tain free­dom is demand­ed. In lit­er­a­ture, appre­ci­a­tion should be again allowed to take the lead over destruc­tive crit­i­cism; and self-expres­sion in writ­ing can go for­ward, with its tools now sharp­ened to cut clean and observe pro­por­tion. Any child who already shows a dis­po­si­tion to spe­cial­ize should be given his head: for, when the use of the tools has been well and tru­ly learned, it is avail­able for any study what­ev­er. It would be well, I think, that each pupil should learn to do one, or two, sub­jects real­ly well, while tak­ing a few class­es in sub­sidiary sub­jects so as to keep his mind open to the inter-rela­tions of all knowl­edge. Indeed, at this stage, our dif­fi­cul­ty will be to keep “sub­jects” apart; for Dialec­tic will have shown all branch­es of learn­ing to be inter-relat­ed, so Rhetoric will tend to show that all knowl­edge is one. To show this, and show why it is so, is pre-emi­nent­ly the task of the mis­tress sci­ence. But whether the­ol­o­gy is stud­ied or not, we should at least insist that chil­dren who seem inclined to spe­cial­ize on the math­e­mat­i­cal and sci­en­tific side should be oblig­ed to attend some lessons in the human­i­ties and vice ver­sa. At this stage, also, the Lat­in gram­mar, hav­ing done its work, may be dropped for those who prefer to car­ry on their lan­guage stud­ies on the mod­ern side; while those who are like­ly nev­er to have any great use or apti­tude for math­e­mat­ics might also be allowed to rest, more or less, upon their oars. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, what­so­ev­er is mere appa­ra­tus may now be allowed to fall into the back­ground, while the trained mind is grad­u­al­ly pre­pared for spe­cial­iza­tion in the “sub­jects” which, when the Triv­i­um is com­plet­ed, it should be per­fect­ly will equipped to tack­le on its own. The final syn­the­sis of the Trivium–the pre­sen­ta­tion and pub­lic defense of the thesis–should be restored in some form; per­haps as a kind of “leav­ing exam­i­na­tion” dur­ing the last term at school.

The scope of Rhetoric depends also on whether the pupil is to be turned out into the world at the age of 16 or whether he is to pro­ceed to the uni­ver­si­ty. Since, real­ly, Rhetoric should be tak­en at about 14, the first cat­e­go­ry of pupil should study Gram­mar from about 9 to 11, and Dialec­tic from 12 to 14; his last two school years would then be devot­ed to Rhetoric, which, in this case, would be of a fair­ly spe­cial­ized and voca­tion­al kind, suit­ing him to enter imme­di­ate­ly upon some prac­ti­cal career. A pupil of the sec­ond cat­e­go­ry would fin­ish his Dialec­ti­cal course in his prepara­to­ry school, and take Rhetoric dur­ing his first two years at his pub­lic school. At 16, he would be ready to start upon those “sub­jects” which are pro­posed for his lat­er study at the uni­ver­si­ty: and this part of his edu­ca­tion will cor­re­spond to the medi­ae­val Quadriv­i­um. What this amounts to is that the ordi­nary pupil, whose for­mal edu­ca­tion ends at 16, will take the Triv­i­um only; where­as schol­ars will take both the Triv­i­um and the Quadriv­i­um.

Is the Triv­i­um, then, a suf­fi­cient edu­ca­tion for life? Prop­er­ly taught, I believe that it should be. At the end of the Dialec­tic, the chil­dren will prob­a­bly seem to be far behind their coevals brought up on old-fash­ioned “mod­ern” meth­ods, so far as detailed knowl­edge of speci­fic sub­jects is con­cerned. But after the age of 14 they should be able to over­haul the oth­ers hand over fist. Indeed, I am not at all sure that a pupil thor­ough­ly pro­fi­cient in the Triv­i­um would not be fit to pro­ceed imme­di­ate­ly to the uni­ver­si­ty at the age of 16, thus prov­ing him­self the equal of his medi­ae­val coun­ter­part, whose pre­coc­i­ty aston­ished us at the begin­ning of this dis­cus­sion. This, to be sure, would make hay of the Eng­lish pub­lic-school sys­tem, and dis­con­cert the uni­ver­si­ties very much. It would, for exam­ple, make quite a dif­fer­ent thing of the Oxford and Cam­bridge boat race.

But I am not here to con­sid­er the feel­ings of aca­d­e­mic bod­ies: I am con­cerned only with the prop­er train­ing of the mind to encoun­ter and deal with the for­mi­da­ble mass of undi­gest­ed prob­lems pre­sent­ed to it by the mod­ern world. For the tools of learn­ing are the same, in any and every sub­ject; and the per­son who knows how to use them will, at any age, get the mas­tery of a new sub­ject in half the time and with a quar­ter of the effort expend­ed by the per­son who has not the tools at his com­mand. To learn six sub­jects with­out remem­ber­ing how they were learnt does noth­ing to ease the approach to a sev­en­th; to have learnt and remem­bered the art of learn­ing makes the approach to every sub­ject an open door.

Before con­clud­ing the­se nec­es­sar­i­ly very sketchy sug­ges­tions, I ought to say why I think it nec­es­sary, in the­se days, to go back to a dis­ci­pline which we had dis­card­ed. The truth is that for the last three hun­dred years or so we have been liv­ing upon our edu­ca­tion­al cap­i­tal. The post-Renais­sance world, bewil­dered and excit­ed by the pro­fu­sion of new “sub­jects” offered to it, broke away from the old dis­ci­pline (which had, indeed, become sad­ly dull and stereo­typed in its prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion) and imag­ined that hence­for­ward it could, as it were, dis­port itself hap­pi­ly in its new and extend­ed Quadriv­i­um with­out pass­ing through the Triv­i­um. But the Scholas­tic tra­di­tion, though bro­ken and maimed, still lin­gered in the pub­lic schools and uni­ver­si­ties: Mil­ton, how­ev­er much he protest­ed again­st it, was formed by it–the debate of the Fal­l­en Angels and the dis­pu­ta­tion of Abdiel with Satan have the tool-marks of the Schools upon them, and might, inci­den­tal­ly, prof­itably fig­ure as set pas­sages for our Dialec­ti­cal stud­ies. Right down to the nine­teen­th cen­tu­ry, our pub­lic affairs were most­ly man­aged, and our books and jour­nals were for the most part writ­ten, by peo­ple brought up in homes, and trained in places, where that tra­di­tion was still alive in the mem­o­ry and almost in the blood. Just so, many peo­ple today who are athe­ist or agnos­tic in reli­gion, are gov­erned in their con­duct by a code of Chris­tian ethics which is so root­ed that it nev­er occurs to them to ques­tion it.

But one can­not live on cap­i­tal forever. How­ev­er firm­ly a tra­di­tion is root­ed, if it is nev­er watered, though it dies hard, yet in the end it dies. And today a great number–perhaps the majority–of the men and wom­en who han­dle our affairs, write our books and our news­pa­pers, car­ry out our research, present our plays and our films, speak from our plat­forms and pulpits–yes, and who edu­cate our young people–have nev­er, even in a lin­ger­ing tra­di­tion­al mem­o­ry, under­gone the Scholas­tic dis­ci­pline. Less and less do the chil­dren who come to be edu­cat­ed bring any of that tra­di­tion with them. We have lost the tools of learning–the axe and the wedge, the ham­mer and the saw, the chis­el and the plane– that were so adapt­able to all tasks. Instead of them, we have mere­ly a set of com­pli­cat­ed jigs, each of which will do but one task and no more, and in using which eye and hand receive no train­ing, so that no man ever sees the work as a whole or “looks to the end of the work.”

What use is it to pile task on task and pro­long the days of labor, if at the close the chief object is left unat­tained? It is not the fault of the teachers–they work only too hard already. The com­bined fol­ly of a civ­i­liza­tion that has for­got­ten its own roots is forc­ing them to shore up the tot­ter­ing weight of an edu­ca­tion­al struc­ture that is built upon sand. They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils them­selves ought to do. For the sole true end of edu­ca­tion is sim­ply this: to teach men how to learn for them­selves; and what­ev­er instruc­tion fails to do this is effort spent in vain.

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