Quotations on Learning

My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed!

Anne Sullivan

 

We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A's on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean's lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.

John Holt (adapted)

 

Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

Maria Montessori

 

If you had had children, Sir, said I, would you have taught them anything? "I hope (replied he), that I should have willingly lived on bread and water to obtain instruction for them; but I would not have set their future friendship to hazard for the sake of thrusting into their heads knowledge of things for which they might not perhaps have either taste or necessity. You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets, and wonder when you have done that they do not delight in your company. No science can be communicated by mortal creatures without attention from the scholar; no attention can be obtained from children without the affliction of pain, and pain is never remembered without resentment.

Hester Thrale Piozzi: Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson

 

In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affection; otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

 

If Chrysler had an assembly line in which the same number of cars got through as kids do in our school system, people would be scandalized.

Frank J Macchiarola, Schools Chancellor, NYC

 

I can read French as easily as English; and under pressure of necessity I can turn to account some scraps of German and a little operatic Italian; but these I was never taught at school. Instead, I was taught lying, dishonorable submission to tyranny, dirty stories, a blasphemous habit of treating love and maternity as obscene jokes, hopelessness, evasion, derision, cowardice, and all the blackguard's shifts by which the coward intimidates other cowards. And if I had been a boarder at an English public school instead of a day boy at an Irish one, I might have had to add to these, deeper shames still.

The school remains what it was in my boyhood, because its real object remains what it was. And that object, I repeat, is to keep the children out of mischief: mischief meaning for the most part worrying the grown-ups.

George Bernard Shaw

 

The books one reads in childhood, and perhaps most of all the bad and good bad books, create in one's mind a sort of false map of the world, a series of fabulous countries into which one can retreat at odd moments throughout the rest of life, and which some cases can even survive a visit to the real countries which they are supposed to represent.

George Orwell, 'Riding Down from Bangor', 1946

 

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