education 2 - learning - teaching

Education does not mean teaching people to
know what they do not know; it means teaching
them to behave as they do not behave.

John Ruskin


Education should never work against a person's destiny, but should achieve the full development of his or her own dispositions.  The education of people today so often lags behind the talents and tendencies which their destinies have implanted in them.  We must keep pace with these powers to such an extent that the human beings in our care can win their way through to all that their destinies will allow--to the fullest clarity of thought, the most loving deepening of their feeling, and the greatest possible energy and ability of will. This can only be done by an art of education and teaching which is based on a real knowledge of people.

Rudolf Steiner

Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.

William Haley
It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts. . . it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.

Robert Hutchins

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think--rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other people.

Bill Beattie


We are failing in schools of education because we're not helping teachers to shed
the role of teachers and become human beings and to realize that they are guides.
To the extent to which they recognize this, so will they be successful in the classroom
because a kid can recognize a guide. . . . Imagine what it would be like if everyone
in this room had the opportunity to be encouraged to be a unique human being.  But you
know how it seems to me?  That the essence of our educational system is to make
everybody like everybody else.  And when we've done that, we consider ourselves
very lucky, indeed.  You see it happening all the time!  "I'm not interested in your
uniqueness.  I'm interested in knowing if I have succeeded in giving you me, and
to the extent to which you can parrot me, I have been a successful teacher."

Leo Buscaglia


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I am not a teacher; only a fellow traveler of whom you asked
the way.  I pointed ahead–ahead of myself as well as of you.

George Bernard Shaw


You know that I don't believe that anyone has ever taught anything to
anyone.  I question the efficacy of teaching.  The only thing that I know
is that anyone who wants to learn will learn.  And maybe a teacher is
a facilitator, a person who puts things down and shows people how
exciting and wonderful it is and asks them to eat.

Carl Rogers


Boredom will always remain the greatest enemy of school disciplines.  If we
remember that children are bored, not only when they don't happen to
be interested in the subject or when the teacher doesn't make it interesting,
but also when certain working conditions are out of focus with their basic
needs, then we can realize what a great contributor to discipline problems
boredom really is.  Research has shown that boredom is closely related to
frustration and that the effect of too much frustration is invariably irritability,
withdrawal, rebellious opposition or aggressive rejection of the whole show.

Fritz Redl


Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving
your community and world better than you found it.

Marian Wright Edelman

Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.

John Dewey

It can be tempting to blame others for our loss of direction.
We get lots of information about life but little education in
life from parents, teachers, and other authority figures who
should know better from their experience.  Information is
about facts.  Education is about wisdom and the
knowledge of how to love and survive.

Bernie Siegel



Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan
or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most
important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.

Abraham Lincoln


I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will
look back at education as it is practiced in most schools
today and wonder how we could tolerated anything so primitive.

John W. Gardner


Education is a companion which no future can depress, no crime
can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and no nepotism can enslave.

Ropo Oguntimehin

In our present system of education we are taught nearly everything
except the very thing that we ought to know most about—the art
of living.  The schools and colleges teach scores of things that we
never use directly in practical life, but scarcely a word about our
marvelous human mechanism; and many a college graduate cannot
even locate or describe the vital organs upon which his or her very
life and welfare depend.  They may know a lot about dead languages
which they will never use; they  may know much about the earth,
about history, politics, philosophy, and sociology, but about their
human machine, this marvelous mechanism which means more to
us than anything else in the world, they have been taught practically nothing.

Orison Swett Marden
The Joys of Living


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This is about helping children become themselves.  What is a school if it isn't helping people
find what they want to do?  I don't just mean careers.  I mean teaching how to sing, dance,
paint, act, write poetry, play tennis, play the guitar.  We'd be a better, more harmonious
society if people had these interests developed when they were young. But they don't.
That's a cause of depression.  And the things I'm talking about:  children need them here
[in school], but the more deprived the background, the less the infrastructure at home,
the greater the need.  If schools aren't going to do these things, who is?

Anthony Seldon

Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts,
skills, or abilities--that's training or instruction--but is rather a making
visible what is hidden as a seed. . . To be educated, a person doesn't
have to know much or be informed, but he or she does have to have
been exposed vulnerably to the transformative events of an engaged
human life. . . One of the greatest problems of our time is that many
are schooled but few are educated.

Thomas Moore


More money is put into prisons than into schools.  That, in itself,
is the description of a nation bent on suicide.  I mean, what
is more precious to us than our own children?  We are going to build
a lot more prisons if we do not deal with the schools and their inequalities.

Jonathan Kozol

The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.

Joseph Campbell

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

W. B. Yeats


I know some very able people who have obtained most of their education
by reading alone.  They went to school but very little, but, by the persistent
reading habit, they have become well-educated in history, in politics and
literature, in philosophy, and well-posted in all sorts of things.  And they
have achieved all of this during their evenings and odd moments, which most
people either throw away or spend in hunting for pleasure.
The pursuit of education by a soul hungry for knowledge,
yearning for mental enlargement, is the highest kind of pleasure,
because it gives infinite satisfaction and infinite advantage.
One of the grandest sights in the
world is that of adults seizing every opportunity to make up
for the loss of early educational advantages, pouring their very
souls into their spare moments and evenings, trying to make
themselves larger, fuller, completer people.

Orison Swett Marden
Be Good to Yourself



He had made a passionate study of education, only to come,
gradually, to the knowledge that education is nothing but
the process of building up, gradually, a complete unit of
consciousness.  And each unit of consciousness is the living
unit of that great social, religious, philosophic idea towards
which humankind, like an organism seeking its final form,
is laboriously growing.

D.H. Lawrence


Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to
make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done,
whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to
be learned; and however early a person’s training begins,
it is probably the last lesson he or she learns thoroughly.

Thomas Henry Huxley


The aim of education should not be to teach how to use
human energies to improve the environment, for we are
finally beginning to realize that the cornerstone of
education is the development of the human personality,
and that in this regard education is of immediate
importance for the salvation of humankind.

Maria Montessori


It is through education that all the good in the world arises.

Immanuel Kant

The true end of education is not only to make the young learned,
but to make them love learning;
not only to make them industrious, but to make them love industry;
not only to make them virtuous, but to make them love virtue;
not only to make them just, but to make them hunger and thirst after justice.

John Ruskin

Must we always teach our children with books?
Let them look at the mountains and the stars above.  Let them
look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth.
They will then begin to think,
and to think is the beginning of a real education.

David Polis

Articles and book excerpts on education:

Education      Kent Nerburn


Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

B.F. Skinner


     education 2 - learning - teaching

More people have access to education today than ever before.
But I cannot help but feel that the modern educational
experience is not preparing us adequately to attend the rich
banquet of life.  Certainly the young people of today have
mastered the use of technology and are capable of solving
complex scientific and mathematical problems, but who and
what do these serve if they cannot think for themselves?
If they have no understanding of the meaning and purpose of
their own lives?  If they do not know who they are as individuals?

Matthew Kelly

There is no end to education.  It is not that you read a book, pass an
examination, and finish with education.  The whole of life, from the
moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti


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The biggest dilemma in education today is the differing visions
of what an educated person means.  To do well on tests
is often more important than helping young people really
be prepared to deal with the tests of life.

Linda Lantieri

Theories and goals of education don't matter a whit if you
do not consider your students to be human beings.

Lou Ann Walker


From the time we begin school, if not sooner, we are taught to be blind
to our assets and only see our deficits.  We are carefully marked on
how many we got wrong on a test and, rarely if ever, asked how
we know how to spell the ones we got right.  By the time we are
adults, we are well versed in every one of our limitations, skilled
in our incompetence.  If we were fish in an aquarium, it would be
as if we kept smashing against the glass, and forgot the fact
that we were perfectly capable of turning ever so slightly and
swimming gracefully in the water all around us.

Dawna Markova
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life


Education should be of value to men and women both as private individuals
and as free, self-reliant, and responsible members of the community to which
they belong.  It should help them, as individuals, to grow in self-mastery and
personal depth, to develop wider and deeper appreciations, to acquire
an enthusiasm for hard work, to love good talk and good books,
to delight in the adventures of intellectual curiosity, to become fair-minded,
open-minded, and generous in all their human responses.

American Association of Colleges


There is a good deal more to the Importance of Observation than
scientific discoveries.  There is also the matter of Living Wisely and
Well.  In this area in particular, we believe, the West could learn a
few things from the East.  For example, what sort of education in
Practical Wisdom do we tend to receive in school?

There are three hundred cows in a field.  The gate has been left open,
and two cows pass through it every minute.  How many cows are left
in the field after an hour and a half?

This sort of thing, we're told, will help us once we graduate--help us
apply our learning to everyday matters and, ideally, help us discern
the true from the false.  But, to return to the terms of the three-hundred-
cow math problem:  If you have ever herded cattle, you know that
cows do not pass through an open gate at the rate of two per minute.
They either go through all at once, or not at all.  Or they wander through
whenever they feel up to it.  In all probability, there would be no cows
left in the field ten minutes after a gate was opened, or a fence pulled
down.  But if you told the teacher that, you would be told that you were
wrong.  Such is the difference between School and Life.  (And if you in
school don't believe that such a difference exists, just wait until you get out.)

Benjamin Hoff
The Te of Piglet


Education allows us to be truly human.  It deepens us and enables
us to build a better society and a brighter future.  The profundity
of education determines the profundity of culture, the nature of
society and the firmness of peace.  Education plays a major role
in creating deep solidarity, mutual understanding and trust.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day


Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or
her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being
indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not
a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do.
What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and
the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show
how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have
been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by
their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are
more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find
ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgments. Those that
stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded
and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular
needs of this particular society.

Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook


The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education
is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence,
and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and
independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public
education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many
individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized
citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States,
whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other
such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.

H.L. Mencken


I began my studies with eagerness.  Before me I saw a new world opening
in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things.  In
the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and
hearing].  Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living,
tangible interpreters of the real world. The lecture halls seemed filled with the
spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment
of wisdom.

But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had
imagined.  Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience
became beautifully less and "faded into the light of common day."  Gradually
I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college.  The one I
felt and still feel most is lack of time.  I used to have time to think, to reflect,
my mind and I.  We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner
melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the
words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until
then had been silent.  But in college there is no time to commune with one's
thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think.  When one enters
the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures--solitude, books and
imagination--outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some
comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I
am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.

Helen Keller
The Story of My Life



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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.