An abridged and edited version of Dr. Smith's doctoral dissertation: "The Correlation of Latin, Greek, and the Classical Education Model With Learning Other Subjects," this book grew from Dr. Smith having been for several years a high school Latin teacher.
This book is based on the premise put forth in a paper by Oxford don Dorothy L. Sayers in 1947, that stated: "even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent.”
Multiple studies and practical experience in the classroom have demonstrated that this statement is true. The ability to reason and think logically as well as higher SAT scores have been the result of introducing Latin into the curriculum of schools as disparate as inner-city public schools and magnet charter schools nationwide.
"A return to Classical languages and Classical curricula has proven beneficial in many schools in America in producing higher SAT scores and improved learning. Findings indicate that a return to the lost tools of learning, and Latin in particular, would have a powerful impact upon the crisis in the public school systems. Classical language students score much higher on SAT tests, and a return to core subjects and the proven Classical curriculum could allow students who are not learning how to learn, and who are not able to compete at the college level, to succeed. A return to Latin would, in effect, be a return to higher academic achievement."
American education commonly struggles with a gap between scholarly research and classroom application. With specialized academic research on one side and entrepreneurial self-help on the other, educators sometimes find themselves trying to leap across the chasm, while many parents try to guide their children onto solid ground. In The Lost Tools of Learning Jeffry Smith provides a sterling example of a practical way to bridge the gap.
Increasing educational emphasis on student performance on standardized tests has given rise to a new and costly industry: test coaching for college admission, especially the highly visible Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The Lost Tools of Learning describes an “old-new” alternative that can provide a better way. In addition to his own qualitative research, Dr. Smith analyzed in his dissertation a number of studies showing that the learning of classical languages, especially Latin, teaches children and adolescents a disciplined way to learn. Classical language learning carries over into other subjects and improves test performance. So, instead of being framed as forcing students to learn irrelevant “dead” languages, studying Latin and Greek teaches young people to learn in new ways.
This well-documented book reminds both parents and educators that the retrieval of wisdom from past educational practices offers one way to negotiate the challenges of the future. As the Latin proverb declares, “Non nova sed nove. Not new things but in a new way.”
Charles J. Scalise
Professor of Church History
Fuller Theological Seminary
Jeffry L. Smith, BA, MAT, PhD, formerly a professor of Theology and Biblical Languages at The King's University, where he taught Theology, Church History, and New Testament Greek. Originally from Southern California, he and his wife of 35 years, RaNae, currently make their home in Southern Colorado.
Now available for purchase (price $16.95) on Amazon.com ($7.95 on Kindle), BN.com, and at Parsonsporch.com, where 10% of the purchase price goes to support various charities.