Philosophical and Psychological Foundations of Education



My Educational Philosophy
Quotations by Author

Chance & Fate
Connections in Learning
Ethics & Morality
Particular & Universal
Play & Relaxation
The Self
Teaching & Learning
The Art Of Teaching
The Teaching Relationship
Other Wise Words

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

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nature or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again. ~ William James

Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life. Each lapse is like the letting fall of a ball of string which one is carefully winding up: a single slip undoes more than a great many turns will wind again. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

For have you not perceived that imitations, whether of bodily gestures, tones of voice, or modes of thought, if they be persevered in from an early age, are apt to grow into habits and a second nature? ~ Plato, The Republic

Moral virtues come from habits. They are not in us neither by nature, nor in despite of nature, but we are furnished by nature with a capacity for receiving them, and we develop them through habit. These virtues we acquire first by exercising them, as in the case of other arts. Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it: men come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp. In the same way by doing just acts we come to be just; by doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we come to be brave. ~ Aristotle

It is by doing good that we become good. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile

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

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

For human nature should be early habituated to endure all which by habit it can be made to endure; but the process must be gradual. . . . Such care should attend them in the first stage of life. ~ Aristotle, Politics

Another thing you are to take care of, is, not to endeavour to settle too many habits at once, lest by a variety you confound them, and so perfect none. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

It is hard, if not impossible, to remove by argument the traits that have long since been incorporated in the character; and perhaps we must be content if, when all the influences by which we are thought to become good are present, we get some tincture of excellence. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

What you think necessary for them to do, settle in them by an indispensable practice, as often as the occasion returns; and, if it be possible, make occasions. This will beget habits in them, which, being once established, operate of themselves easily and naturally, without the assistance of the memory. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

Men's happiness or misery is [for the] most part of their own making. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

And this habit, as the true foundation of future ability and happiness, is to be wrought into the mind, as early as may be, even from the first dawnings of any knowledge or apprehension in children. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

The same thing recurring on different days, in different contexts, read, recited on, referred to again and again, related to other things and reviewed, gets well wrought into mental structure.~ William James, Talks to Teachers

Your task is to build up a character in your pupils; and a character, as I have so often said, consists in an organized set of habits of reaction. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

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

For every act, by the principle of habit, modifies disposition—it sets up a certain kind of inclination and desire. ~ John Dewey, Democracy and Education

We carry with us habits of thought and taste fostered in some nearly forgotten classroom by a certain teacher. ~ Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, p. 24

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

He held the old; he holds the new; I had the habit of tacking together the old and the new, which he did not use to exercise. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Intellect"



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Last updated:
September 19, 2008 4:23 PM