Sine scientia ars nihil est — A skill is useless without knowledge

December 2015

After meditating on the previous post, I had something of an epiphany and wrote this corollary.

A Postscript

The facts—logic—reason stack I outlined mirrors the relationship of words, grammar, and fluency as the components of speaking (the cement being pronunciation and listening). In this scheme, words represent the declarative memory, i.e. the ability to recall facts. Grammar (or more specifically, syntax) represents the procedural memory, i.e. the ability to link items together in steps to create or comprehend forms. Above these, the fluency aspect represents the synthesis of the two and the entire ability to speak a language.

Skill Pyramids

Making languages less sterile

Developing the ability to reason in learners is just as important as developing fluency in the language and the two skills ought to fit hand in glove. There is limited value in being fluent in a language if you have nothing really original to talk about. We want our learners to communicate extensively. That’s why the classics are important: they taught intellectual and linguistic skills through inductive thinking. Do we want our students to have these skills; the skills to reason, to converse in depth, and with independence and integrity? If we do, we should be at least promoting a modicum of erudition by giving learners access to a wide range of subjects including philosophy, art, and science.

To that end, here are some authentic resources for advanced learners (IELTs 6.5+) and/or humanities students. These materials rather than a vehicle for teacher-centred lecturing or grammar translation, can provide a more humanistic foundation for inductive reasoning, intellectual advancement and the development of wisdom.