The Lost Tools of LearningDorothy SayersThat I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should presume to discuss education is amatter, surely, that calls for no apology. It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of opinionis wholly favorable. Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics;inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technicalministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that Epstein and Picasso do not know howto 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 oneexcellent reason why the veriest amateur may feel entitled to have an opinion about education. For ifwe are not all professional teachers, we have all, at some time or another, been taught. Even if welearnt nothing‐‐perhaps in particular if we learnt nothing‐‐our contribution to the discussion may havea potential value.However, it is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms I propose will ever be carried intoeffect. Neither the parents, nor the training colleges, nor the examination boards, nor the boards ofgovernors, nor the ministries of education, would countenance them for a moment. For they amountto this: that if we are to produce a society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectualfreedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society, we must turn back the wheel of progresssome 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, laudatortemporis acti (praiser of times past), or whatever tag comes first to hand‐‐I will ask you to considerone or two miscellaneous questions that hang about at the back, perhaps, of all our minds, andoccasionally pop out to worry us.When we think about the remarkably early age at which the young men went up to university in, letus say, Tudor times, and thereafter were held fit to assume responsibility for the conduct of their ownaffairs, are we altogether comfortable about that artificial prolongation of intellectual childhood andadolescence into the years of physical maturity which is so marked in our own day? To postpone theacceptance of responsibility to a late date brings with it a number of psychological complicationswhich, while they may interest the psychiatrist, are scarcely beneficial either to the individual or tosociety. The stock argument in favor of postponing the school‐leaving age and prolonging the periodof education generally is there there is now so much more to learn than there was in the Middle Ages.