Philosophical and Psychological Foundations of Education


The Teaching Relationship

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

I am dealing with people and not with things. And, because I am dealing with people, I cannot refuse my wholehearted and loving attention, even in personal matters, where I see that a student is in need of such attention. ~ 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

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

Mentoring is a mutuality that requires more than meeting the right teacher: the teacher must meet the right student. ~ Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

As so many of us have personally experienced, the actions of significant individuals—perhaps a teacher who came our way at just the right time—helped instill self-beliefs that influence the course and direction our lives take. ~ Frank Pajares, An Interview with Frank Pajares

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

The same is true of Love, and the instinctive desire to please those whom we love. The teacher who succeeds in getting herself loved by the pupils will obtain results which one of a more forbidding temperament finds it impossible to secure. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

I do not need to establish a deep, lasting, time-consuming personal relationship with every student. 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

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?

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

Legend has it that love is blind. And lust is blind. Just sometimes, though, they are clairvoyant. They take the glaze from our eyes. They prompt us to look through the odd, unfamiliar exterior of our neighbors and detect a familiar soul, a soul with which, to our surprise, we can communicate. ~ Cristina Nehring, The Higher Yearning

To say that chemistry between a student and a teacher distracts from learning is like saying that color distracts from seeing. It does not distract; it enlivens, enhances, intensifies: it fixes the gaze. It gives teeth to the eyes, a digestive tract to the brain. ~ Cristina Nehring, The Higher Yearning

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 (p. 399)

What a teacher doesn't say . . . is a telling part of what a student hears. ~ Maurice Natanson

Pupils may learn many things when a teacher is not in fact teaching. ~ Paul Hirst, "What Is Teaching?"

. . . [we] read in the bystander’s eyes the success or failure of our own conduct. ~ William James, Talks to Teachers

I must yield to you, for you are irresistible. ~ Plato, Meno

As children's inquiries are not to be slighted, so also great care is to be taken, that they never receive deceitful and illuding answers. They easily perceive when they are slighted or deceived, and quickly learn the trick of neglect, dissimulation, and falsehood, which they observe others to make use of. We are not to intrench upon truth in any conversation, but least of all with children; since, if we play false with them, we not only deceive their expectation, and hinder their knowledge, but corrupt their innocence, and teach them the worst of vices. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

Your first duty is to be humane. Love childhood. Look with friendly eyes on its games, its pleasures, its amiable dispositions. Which of you does not sometimes look back regretfully on the age when laughter was ever on the lips and the heart free of care? Why steal from the little innocents the enjoyment of a time that passes all too quickly? ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile

Issues that touch on personal conviction and deeply held assumptions are skirted, perhaps because the confrontation between teacher educator and student on the subject of what beliefs shall be deemed appropriate can be an uncomfortable one. . . . It is, after all, dangerous to wade into deep waters if one cannot swim. ~ Frank Pajares, Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs

The development occurs through reciprocal give-and-take, the teacher taking but not being afraid also to give. ~ John Dewey, Experience and Education

Let the awe [the teacher] has upon [children's] minds be so tempered with the constant marks of tenderness and good will, that affection may spur them to their duty, and make them find a pleasure in complying with his dictates. This will bring them with satisfaction to their tutor; make them hearken to him, as to one who is their friend, that cherishes them, and takes pains for their good; this will keep their thoughts easy and free, whilst they are with him, the only temper wherein the mind is capable of receiving new information, and of admitting into itself those impressions. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

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

"But remain the teacher of the young teachers. Advise and direct us, and we will be ready to learn. I will have need of you as long as I live." ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile

All through life a man has need of a counsellor and guide. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile

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

Teachers – and this holds especially of the stronger and better teachers – tend to rely upon their personal strong points to hold the child to his work, and thereby to substitute their personal influence for that of subject matter as a motive for study. The teacher finds by experience that his own personality is often effective where the power of the subject to command attention is almost nil; then he utilizes the former more and more, until the pupil's relation to the teacher almost takes the place of his relation to the subject. In this way, the teacher's personality may become, for the pupil, a source of personal dependence and weakness, an influence that renders the pupil indifferent to the value of the subject for its own sake. ~ John Dewey, How We Think

Students deserve our care and concern on the grounds of principle, not personality. ~ Marshall Gregory, "Pedagogy and the Three Loves"

It is hard to be an apprentice to an unfriendly professor, or even one whose warmth or tolerance wears thin when the going gets hard for the student and help is needed. ~ Robert Audi, On the Ethics of Teaching and the Ideals of Learning

The need here is professional closeness tempered by emotional distance. ~ Robert Audi, On the Ethics of Teaching and the Ideals of Learning

One may have a right to be unconventional and even eccentric, so long as one is fully competent and a decent person; but one's ideal as a professor should be to conduct oneself as an admirable human being: just, kind, tolerant, competent, committed, and good-humored. ~ Robert Audi, On the Ethics of Teaching and the Ideals of Learning

Professors gravitate to the bright, well-prepared students. They are easier to teach, and they appear to profit most from instruction, which may simple 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

Teaching is what is technically known as a polymorphous activity; it quite literally takes many different forms. ~ Paul Hirst, "What Is Teaching?"

There is a gap between the knowledge, skills, or state of mind of the learner and what he is to learn, which it seems to me any teaching activity must seek to bridge if it is to deserve that label. Teaching activities must therefore take place at a level where the pupil can take on what it is intended he should learn. ~ Paul Hirst, "What Is Teaching?"

I now understand what Nelle Morton meant when she said that one of the great tasks in our time is to "hear people to speech." Behind their fearful silence, our students want to find their voices, speak their voices, have their voices heard. A good teacher is one who can listen to those voices even before they are spoken—so that someday they can speak with truth and confidence. ~ Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

Whether the teacher is authoritarian, undisciplined, competent, incompetent, serious, irresponsible, involved, a lover of people and of life, cold, angry with the world, bureaucratic, excessively rational, or whatever else, he/she will not pass through the classroom without leaving his or her mark on the students. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

How can I be an educator if I do not develop in myself a caring and loving attitude toward the student, which is indispensable on the part of one who is committed to teaching and to the education process itself. ~ 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



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Last updated:
September 19, 2008 4:23 PM