In my previous two articles I discussed narration as a tool of learning and as embodying the classical principle of self-education. I bemoaned the departure from this principle in much of modern education. At the same time, it’s worth recognizing the value of modern research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, especially where it is confirming the validity of traditional educational practices like narration.
In my last article, I submitted Charlotte Mason’s practice of narration for consideration as another lost tool of learning. My main contention in its favor followed Charlotte Mason’s claim that narration is a natural gift of children as persons made in the image of our storytelling God.
For those coming late to the party, narration is a simple and elegant teaching tool containing two parts:
The concept of a tool of learning will be familiar to many from Dorothy Sayers’ famous essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.” The underlying idea is derived from the medieval conception of the liberal arts as rational skills or practices that enable a person to fashion knowledge. Just as a skillful carpenter can use the tools of his trade to produce a beautiful and serviceable chair, so the master of the liberal arts can produce new knowledge by means of those arts.