Recommended Reading: The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers

The Lost Tools of Learning

Dorothy Sayers writes in her 1947 essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, “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 Age.” Sayers outlines a liberal education that has inspired the Classical Christian movement across America with the founding of the Association of Classical Christian Schools.  Sayer’s essay is recommended for every parent interested in classical Christian education.  

Click here to read The Lost Tools of Learning

“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 language—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 (his own arguments and other people’s). 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 this point, any tendency to express himself windily or to use his eloquence so as to make the worse appear the better reason would, no doubt, be restrained by his previous teaching in Dialectic. If not, his teacher and his fellow-pupils, trained along the same lines, would be quick to point out where he was wrong; for it was they whom he had to seek to persuade. 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. The heckling, moreover, would not consist solely of offensive personalities or of irrelevant queries about what Julius Caesar said in 55 B.C.—though no doubt medieval dialectic was enlivened in practice by plenty of such primitive repartee.” Dorothy Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning

Recover the Lost Tools with a Classical Christian Education at Kalos Christian Academy

Kalos Christian Academy is a member of the Association of Classical Christian Schools and aims to make classical Christian education more accessible in Kansas City, Missouri. KCA provides a robust classical Christian pedagogy inspired by Dorothy Sayer’s essay.

KCA focuses on the grammar stage of the Trivium in grades K-6, the Logic stage in grades 7-8, and the Rhetoric stage in grades 9-12.  If you want more information about classical Christian education in Kansas City, email us at



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