An Educational Philosophy

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All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. -Albert Einstein

The most important attitude that can be formed is a desire to go on learning.
~ John Dewey, Experience and Education, p. 38 ~

Is not the love of learning identical with a philosophical disposition?
~ Plato, The Republic

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. ~ Andre Gide

The Bacon, the Spinoza, the Hume, Schelling, Kant, or whosoever propounds to you a philosophy of the mind, is only a more or less awkward translator of things in your consciousness, which you have also your way of seeing, perhaps of denominating. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Intellect"

No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interestófor it is a part of education to learn to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude. ~ T. S. Eliot

We all learn sooner or later that we must gather ourselves up and more or less arbitrarily concentrate our interests, throw much overboard to save any. ~ William James, Correspondence Vol. 1, p. 122

When anyone is thoroughly interested in some object and cause, he throws himself into it; he does so, as we say, 'heartily,' or with a whole heart. The importance of this attitude or disposition is generally recognized in practical and moral affairs. But it is equally important in intellectual development. There is no greater enemy of effective thinking than divided interest. ~ John Dewey, How We Think

Psychology can state the laws: concrete tact and talent alone can work them to useful results. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies. ~ Albert Einstein

What makes this use of philosophy dangerous is that it is easy to take a sentence or two out [of] context from a philosophical tome. ~ Karen Murphy, The Philosophy in Thee

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence. ~ Robert Frost

Generalizations in education, whether produced through statistical studies or through case studies, need to be treated as tentative guides, as ideas to be considered, not as prescriptions to follow. 'It all depends' is probably the most useful qualifier to attach to answers to questions about the efficacy of particular educational methods. ~ Elliot Eisner, The Enlightened Eye, p. 209

Understanding something in one way does not preclude understanding it in other ways. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 133

We probably live our way into a system of thinking rather than think our way into a pattern of living. This means that living is more influential in determining thinking than thinking is in determining living." ~ Herman H. Horne, from "An idealistic philosophy of education," 1942, p. 141

If you "understand" something in only one way, then you scarcely understand it at allóbecause when you get stuck, you'll have nowhere to go. But if you represent something in several ways, then when you get frustrated enough, you can swtich among differernt points of view, until you find one that works for you! ~ Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine, p. 6

Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. ~ John Dewey, Experience and Education

Whenever you think about something complex, you should try to depict it with more than two parts, or else switch to some different Way to Think! ~ Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine, p. 33

For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g. to find the middle of a circle is not for everyone but for him who knows; so, too, anyone can get angry—that is easy—or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right aim, and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy; that is why goodness is both rare and laudable and noble. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old beliefs. ~ John Dewey, How We Think

The most violent revolutions in an individual's beliefs leave most of his old order standing. ~ William James, Pragmatism

The great world, the background, in all of us, is the world of our beliefs. That is the world of the permanencies and immensities. ~ William James to Helen Keller, 1908, The Correspondence of William James, Vol. 12, p. 135

The "Aha!" experience becomes much more satisfying when it is preceded by the "Huh?" experience. ~ Robert Cialdini, 2005, p. 25

Get to your students' Final Narratives, and your own; seek out the defining beliefs. Uncover central convictions about politics, love, money, the good life. It's there that, as Socrates knew, real thinking starts. ~ Mark Edmundson, Why Read?, p. 28

Familiarity breeds contempt, but it also breeds something like affection. We get used to the chains we wear, and we miss them when removed. ~ John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum

The rivalry of the patterns is the history of the world. ~ William James, "The Social Value of the College-Bred"

The goal of education is to make up for the shortcomings in our instinctive ways of thinking about the physical and social world. And education is likely to succeed not by trying to implant abstract statements into empty minds but by taking the mental models that are our standard equipment, applying them to new subjects in selective analogies, and assembling them into new and more sophisticated combinations. ~ Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought, p. 439

All our arts and sciences and institutions are but so many quests of perfection on the part of men; and when we see how diverse the types of excellence may be, how various the tests, how flexible the adaptations, we gain a richer sense of what the terms "better" and "worse" may signify in general. Our critical sensibilities grow both more acute and less fanatical. ~ William James, "Social Value of the College Bred"

Bitter, brutal thoughts can grow prolifically in the mind's unlighted cellars. But when we bring them into the world and examine them dispassionately, they often lose their force. ~ Mark Edmundson, Why Read?, p. 84

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.  ~Albert Einstein

Affections for old habit, currents of self-interest, and gales of passion are the forces that keep the human ship moving; and the pressure of the judicious pilot's hand upon the tiller is relatively insignificant energy. But the affections, passions and interests are shifting, successive, and distraught; they blow in alternation while the Pilot's hand is steadfast. He knows the compass, and, with all the leeways lie is obliged to tack toward, he always makes some headway. A small force if it never lets up will accumulate effects more considerable than those of much greater forces if these work inconsistently. The ceaseless whisper of the more permanent Ideals, the steady tug of truth and justice, give them but time, must warp the world in their direction.~ William James, "Social Value of the College Bred"

The nakedness of standing without a frame, in a new paradigm, carries the pleasures of freedom but it also can evoke fears of looking foolish and exposed, feelings of shame that can readily erupt into rage and attack. This is the moment when we are most tempted to return to the familiar, to restore an old framework at all costs—this moment of paradigm shift, of epiphany or sudden radical insight, the creative moment in the lives of artists and scientists, the moment when our ordinary vision is removed and we come to see that the old ways of seeing were mistaken, were blinding us to what we now can see. ~ Carol Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure

There is nothing in which an untrained mind shows itself more hopelessly incapable, than in drawing the proper general conclusions from its own experience. ~ John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at Saint Andrews

Intelligence divorced from judgment produces nothing but foolishness. Understanding is the knowledge of the general. Judgment is the application of the general to the particular. Reason is the power of understanding the connection between the general and the particular. ~ Immanuel Kant, Thoughts on Education

Reason is one of the very feeblest of Nature's forces, if you take it at any one spot and moment. It is only in the very long run that its effects become perceptible. Reason assumes to settle things by weighing them against one another without prejudice, partiality, or excitement; but what affairs in the concrete are settled by is and always will be just prejudices, partialities, cupidities, and excitements. Appealing to reason as we do, we are in a sort of a forlorn hope situation, like a small sand-bank in the midst of a hungry sea ready to wash it out of existence. But sand-banks grow when the conditions favor; and weak as reason is, it has the unique advantage over its antagonists that its activity never lets up and that it presses always in one direction, while men's prejudices vary, their passions ebb and flow, and their excitements are intermittent. ~ William James, "Remarks at the Peace Banquet," 1904

The best claim we can make for the higher education, the best single phrase in which we can tell what it ought to do for us, is then, exactly what I said: it should enable us to know a good man when we see him. ~ William James, "Social Value of the College Bred"

Thoughtful people have been forever troubled by the enigma of applying theoretical knowledge to practical problems. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 44

Theory can blind observation. ~ Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice

It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

The models of correct thinking in each field must be the best illustrations of thinking in that field, not the pattern of another field. ~ Sidney Hook, "Education for Modern Man"

Psychology teaches us at every step that though two types of activity can have the same external manifestation, whether in origin or essence, their nature may differ most profoundly. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths. ~ William James, Pragmatism

Facts and truth really don't have anything to do with one another. ~ William Faulkner

True opinion is as good a guide to correct action as knowledge. ~ Socrates in Plato's, Meno

Knowledge, after all, is justified belief. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 59

Some things have to be believed to be seen. ~ Ralph Hodgson

A clear definition can make things worse, until we're sure that our ideas are right. ~ Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine, p. 95

To say that there really are objective values out there, that there is a moral reality to be corresponded with, seems as pointless as saying that God is on our side. ~ Richard Rorty, "Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching"

Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Ought we ever not to believe what it is better for us to believe? ~ William James, Pragmatism

Right thinking is right doing. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

The art of raising challenging questions is easily as important as the art of giving clear answers. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 127

If I am a pure product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in the world and, therefore, it is not possible for me to speak of ethics. Of course, this assumption of responsibility does not mean that we are not conditioned genetically, culturally, and socially. It means that we know ourselves to be conditioned but not determined. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Students who are never required to do what they cannot do never do what they can do. ~ John Stuart Mill

Whether one seeks to change the world or to achieve a better quality of personal existence, one should always aim a bit higher. ~ Howard Gardner, Extraordinary Minds, pp. 153-154

Scientia dependit in mores.

All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits,—practical, emotional, and intellectual,—systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

~ Aristotle

It makes no small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or of another from our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the difference. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

No one suddenly becomes mature at twenty-five years of age. Either we become mature with each day that passes or we do not. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

To have a high standard of excellence often makes the whole difference of rendering our work good when it would otherwise be mediocre. ~ John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at Saint Andrews

We should devote ourselves humbly but perseveringly to our profession in all its aspects: scientific formation, ethical rectitude, respect for others, coherence, a capacity to live with and learn from what is different, and an ability to relate to others without letting our ill-humor or our antipathy get in the way of our balanced judgment of the facts. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Keep before you a busy classroom of nine-year-olds, say, with a hard-working teacher, and ask what kind of theoretical knowledge would help them. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 45

We will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology. ~ Noam Chomsky, Managua Lectures, 1987, p. 159

I sometimes think that every education writer, every would-be education expert, and every politician who pontificates, as many do so condescendingly, about the "failings" of the teachers in the front lines of our nation's public schools ought to be obliged to come into a classroom once a year and teach the class, not just for an hour with the TV cameras watching but for an entire day, and find out what it's like. It might at least impart some moderation to the disrespectful tone with which so many politicians speak of teachers. ~ Jonathan Kozol, Letters to a Young Teacher, p. 3

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~ A. Bronson Alcott, The Teacher

One of the most important jobs a teacher has is to allow students to make contact with their ignorance. ~ Mark Edmundson, Why Read?, p. 35

The proper end of teaching is to lead our students toward autonomy. ~ Marshall Gregory, "Pedagogy and the Three Loves"

It is not the teacher's business to impose his own judgment, but to inform and discipline that of his pupil. ~ John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at Saint Andrews

But as inspired religious teachers and artists of every stripe demonstrate all the time, the process of human growth—when it entails growth of the heart as well as of the mind—is never particularly clean or abstract. To grow it is necessary that all of our human qualities come into play, and if some of those qualities are not pretty, then so be it. But to keep them to the side so as to preserve our professional dignity—that is too much of a sacrifice. (Men and women die every day, perish in the inner life . . . for lack of what we have to offer.) ~ Mark Edmundson, Why Read?, p. 67

Through dialogue, modeling, the provision of practice, and the attribution of best motive, the one-caring as teacher nurtures the ethical ideal. ~ Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminist Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

Some experiences are mis-educative. Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience. ~ John Dewey, Experience and Education

The minds of geniuses are full of copious and original associations. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

The best type of teaching bears in mind the desirability of affecting this interconnection. It puts the student in the habitual attitude of finding points of contact and mutual bearings. ~ John Dewey, Democracy and Education

When a person learns, it is not just a matter of "making connections" but is also a matter of making the structures that then get connected--which means that we need to find some ways to represent not only those external events, but also the relevant mental events. . . . No theory of learning can be complete unless it includes ideas about how we make these "credit assignments." ~ Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine, p. 49

The goal of general studies seems to me to make sure that no student has only one hero, and that there is enough overlap between the students' sets of heroes to permit the students to share their romantic sensibilities, to have interesting conversations with one another. ~ Richard Rorty, "Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching"

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never-so-little scar.

~ William James, Talks to Teachers

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ~ Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I like to be human because in my unfinishedness I know that I am conditioned. Yet conscious of such conditioning, I know that I can go beyond it, which is the essential difference between conditioned and determined existence. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch out of a meandering brook. ~ Henry David Thoreau

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. ~ Albert Einstein

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. ~ Mark Twain

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. ~ Will Durant

What [students] will not generally do, though, is indict the current system. ~ Mark Edmundson, "On the Uses of a Liberal Education"

Soft pedagogics have taken the place of the old steep and rocky path to learning. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

The peripatetic school histories of many leaders and luminaries seem trivial compared to three other prerequisites for spectacular achievement: native smarts, investing at least a decade of hard labor to master a discipline, and a monomaniacal preoccupation with a subject. ~ Susan Pinker, The Sexual Paradox, p. 225

The struggle to bring dignity to the practice of teaching is as much a part of the activity of teaching as is the respect that the teacher should have for the identity of the student, for the student himself or herself, and his or her right to be. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Every intellectual revolution which has ever stirred humanity into greatness has been a passionate protest against inert ideas. ~ Alfred North Whitehead, The Aims of Education and Other Essays

Learning to look through multiple perspectives, young people may be helped to build bridges among themselves; attending to a range of human stories, they may be provoked to heal and to transform. ~ Maxine Greene, "The Passions of Pluralism"

The fact that people can forget these simple truths when intellectualizing about children shows how far modern doctrines have taken us. They make it easy to think of children as lumps of putty to be shaped instead of partners in a human relationship. ~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

This is the road I have tried to follow as a teacher: living my convictions; being open to the process of knowing and sensitive to the experience of teaching as an art; being pushed forward by the challenges that prevent me from bureaucratizing my practice; accepting my limitations, yet always conscious of the necessary effort to overcome them and aware that I cannot hide them because to do so would be a failure to respect both my students and myself as a teacher. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

The student is infinitely more important than the subject matter. ~ Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminist Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

There is nothing much to be said about general studies or the teaching of such studies save a warning against taking either as more than ways of helping the young to join the human race. What helps them to do this is—to employ a factitious antithesis—love rather than knowledge. ~ Richard Rorty, "Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching"

Every time we teach a child something , we keep him from inventing it himself. On the other hand, that which we allow him to discover for himself will remain with him visible for the rest of his life. ~ Jean Piaget

Frequently, failures help more than successes do, when we try to acquire deeper ideas. ~ Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine, p. 38

Because much of the content of education is not cognitively natural, the process of mastering it may not always be easy and pleasant, notwithstanding the mantra that learning is fun. Children may be innately motivated to make friends, acquire status, hone motor skills, and explore the physical world, but they are not necessarily motivated to adapt their cognitive faculties to unnatural tasks like formal mathematics. A family, peer group, and culture that ascribe high status to school achievement may be needed to give a child the motive to persevere toward effortful feats of learning whose rewards are apparent only over the long term. ~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society

Good teachers use a variety of teaching methods to reach diverse learning styles of their students, so any student taught in a way that is responsive to his or her pattern of abilities can excel. ~ Robert Sternberg, AERJ, 2008, p. 157

The only "good learning" is that which is in advance of development. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society

The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

I teach because I search, because I question, and because I submit myself to questioning. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

There is, in fact, no teaching without learning. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

To become a better teacher, I must nurture a sense of self that both does and does not depend on the responses of others—and that is a true paradox. ~ Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

Teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability. ~ Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

I cannot be a teacher without exposing who I am. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

The exercise of my teaching activity does not leave me untouched. No more than I could be out in the rain with no protection and expect not to get wet. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

[Teachers] are the ultimate change agents. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 84

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

I feel it is necessary to overcome the false separation between serious teaching and the expression of feeling. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

We must understand the meaning of a moment of silence, of a smile, or even of an instance in which someone needs to leave the room. Or the fact that a question was asked perhaps a little discourteously. After all, our teaching space is a text that has to be constantly read, interpreted, written, and rewritten. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Sometimes a simple, almost insignificant gesture on the part of a teacher can have a profound formative effect on the life of a student. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

Without [silence], communication withers. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

This is the sense in which I am obliged to be a listener. To listen to the student's doubts, fears, and incompetencies that are part of the learning process. It is in listening to the student that I learn to speak with him or her. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

One is never just a teacher. One is always—even if not consciously—an advocate of a point of view, a critic of certain positions, an exemplar of someone trying to communicate, a purveyor of images, a practitioner of behavioral standards, a person dealing with, and indeed responsible for, others in common tasks. ~ Robert Audi, On the Ethics of Teaching and the Ideals of Learning

Through dialogue, modeling, the provision of practice, and the attribution of best motive, the one-caring as teacher nurtures the ethical ideal. ~ Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminist Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

Narrative meanings . . . depend in only a trivial way on truth in the strict sense of verifiability. The requirement, rather, is verisimilitude or "truth likeness," and that is a compound of coherence and pragmatic utility, neither of which can be rigidly specified. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 90

[Using the elements of truth I spun a little tale. ~ Collected Stories]

If we teachers do not endorse genius and self-overcoming, can we be surprised when our students find their ideal images in TV's latest persona ads? ~ Mark Edmundson, "On the Uses of a Liberal Education"

What is important in teaching is not the mechanical repetition of this or that gesture but a comprehension of the value of sentiments, emotions, and desires. Of the insecurity that can only be overcome by inspiring confidence. Of the fear that can only be abated to the degree that courage takes its place. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Some delinquents, perhaps, in their determination to be themselves at all costs and under terrible conditions have more strength and a greater potential for contributing to the richness of the national life than do many excessively conforming or neurotically defeatist members of their generation, who have given up youth’s prerogatives to dream and to dare. ~ Erik Erikson, Youth and the Life Cycle

Be patient and sympathetic with the type of mind that cuts a poor figure in examinations. It may, in the long examination which life sets us, come out in the end in better shape than the glib and ready reproducer, its passions being deeper, its purposes more worthy, its combining power less commonplace, and its total mental output consequently more important. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The strengths a young person finds in adults at this time—their willingness to let him experiment, their eagerness to confirm him at his best, their consistency in correcting his excesses, and the guidance they give him—will codetermine whether or not he eventually makes order out of necessary inner confusion and applies himself to the correction of disordered conditions. He needs freedom to choose, but not so much freedom that he cannot, in fact, make a choice. ~ Erik Erikson, Youth and the Life Cycle

Only through communication can human life hold meaning. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The child begins to perceive the world not only through his eyes but also through his speech. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society

Doing entails risk. ~ Kenneth Eble, The Craft of Teaching

How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved! ~ Sigmund Freud, letter to friend Wilhelm Knopfmacher, August 1878

Kids are tougher critics than teachers. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 94

Childrearing is above all an ethical responsibility. ~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

Children, in their simple directness, often bring us adults back to basics. ~ Gareth Matthews, The Philosophy of Childhood

What I must do is to be totally and nonselectively present to the student—to each student—as he addresses me. The time interval may be brief but the encounter is total. ~ Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminist Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

The greatest learning experiences, for me, were almost always the greatest personal experiences. It is hard to know which came first: interest in what was said or interest in the sayer. ~ Cristina Nehring, The Higher Yearning

Professors gravitate to the bright, well-prepared students. They are easier to teach, and they appear to profit most from instruction, which may simply mean they are most like the professors. But in the increasing pluralism and decreasing professionalism of colleges and universities in the next decades, the master teacher is likely to be the one who can provide contexts for many kinds of students. ~ Kenneth Eble, The Craft of Teaching

Any system of education, any theory of pedagogy, any "grand national policy" that diminishes the school's role in nurturing its pupils' self-esteem fails at one of its primary functions. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 38

The criterion of the value of school education is the extent in which it creates a desire for continued growth . . . ~ John Dewey, Democracy and Education

Where would any of us be, were there no one willing to know us as we really are or ready to repay us for our insight by making recognizant return? We ought, all of us, to realize each other in this intense, pathetic, and important way. If you say that this is absurd, and that we cannot be in love with everyone at once, I merely point out to you that, as a matter of fact, certain persons do exist with an enormous capacity for friendship and for taking delight in other people’s lives; and that such persons know more of truth than if their hearts were not so big. ~ William James, Talks to Students, What Makes a Life Significant?

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~ Carl Jung

Goodness must have some edge to it — else it is none. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

Education is risky, for it fuels the sense of possibility. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 42

In God's eyes, the differences of social position, of intellect, of culture, of cleanliness, of dress, which different men exhibit, and all the other rarities and exceptions on which they so fantastically pin their pride, must be so small as practically, quite to vanish; and all that should remain is the common fact that here we are, a countless multitude of vessels of life, each of us pent in to peculiar difficulties, with which we must severally struggle by using whatever of fortitude and goodness we can summon up. The exercise of the courage, patience, and kindness, must be the significant portion of the whole business; and the distinctions of position can only be a manner of diversifying the phenomenal surface upon which these underground virtues may manifest their effects. ~ William James, Talks to Students, What Makes a Life Significant?

The world is not finished.

~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom


Finally, a caution about words . . .

The fact remains that verbal material is, on the whole, the handiest and most useful material in which thinking can be carried on. Abstract conceptions are far and away the most economical instruments of thought, and abstract conceptions are fixed and incarnated for us in words.

Nothing is more deplorable than that inarticulate and helpless sort of mind that is reminded by everything of some quotation, case, or anecdote, which it cannot now exactly recollect. Nothing, on the other hand, is more convenient to its possessor, or more delightful to his comrades, than a mind able, in telling a story, to give the exact words of the dialogue or to furnish a quotation accurate and complete. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

And a word of caution . . .

Intellectuals who memorize everything, reading for hours on end, slaves to the text, fearful of taking a risk, speaking as if they were reciting from memory, fail to make any concrete connections between what they have read and what is happening in the world, the country, or the local community. They repeat what has been read with precision but rarely teach anything of personal value. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

I have suffered a great deal from writers who have quoted this or that sentence of mine either out of its context or in juxtaposition to some incongruous matter which quite distorted my meaning, or destroyed it altogether. ~ Alfred North Whitehead


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All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. -Albert Einstein