Page 1

No printed word nor spoken plea Can teach young minds what they can be, Nor all the books on all the shelves, But what the teachers are themselves.

Julie Boyd and Joan Dalton ‘I Teach’

I am the decisive element in my classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood which makes the weather. As a teacher I possess the tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated, a child humanised or de-humanised. Haim Ginott

The most powerful form of learning, the most sophisticated form of staff development comes not from listening to the good words of others but from sharing what we know with others. Learning comes more from giving than from receiving. By reflecting on what we do, by giving it coherence, and by sharing and articulating our craft knowledge, we make meaning, we learn. Roland Barth

It is fashionable to say that schools are failing and there is a groundswell of anger against educators of all kinds. This is not in the main because they are not doing their job---it is because adequate understanding of what the job is in the kind of society we are becoming.

We cannot always build the future for our youth But we can build our youth for the future Franklin D Roosevelt 1882-1945

Children are our most valuable natural resources Herbert Hoover 1874-1964

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million

Children are likely to live up to what you believe in them. Lady Bird Johnson 1912-

Children are 30% of our population and 100% of our future

Each child is an adventure into a better life- an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new. Hubert Humphrey 1911-1978

When I approach a child he inspires in me two sentiments: tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become Louis Pasteur 1822-1895

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains The superior teacher


The great teacher inspires

William Arthur Ward

It has been said... that ninety five percent of all human learning is based on modelling. Tim Burns

At a time when the traditional structures of caring have deteriorated, schools must become places where teachers and students live together, talk with each other, take delight in each other’s company. My guess is that when schools focus on what really matters in life, the cognitive ends we now pursue so painfully and artificially, will be achieved somewhat more is obvious that children will work harder and do things even odd things like adding fractions - for people they love and trust. Nel Noddings

Democracy is best learned in an environment where the principles being taught are practised.

Commonwealth Schools Commission, An overview, In the National Interest: Secondary Education and Youth Policy in Australia, 1987

It is less important for students to learn to appreciate ethnic foods than it is for students to understand equal rights. Mako Nakagawa

The person who decides what he wants to achieve and works till his dreams all come true; the person who will alter his course when he must, and bravely begin something new; the person who's determined to make his world better, who's willing to learn and to lead; the person who keeps on trying and doing his best is the person who knows how to succeed. Success is not in being the best, but in being the best you can be.

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression Haim Ginnott

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. Ignacio Estrada

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is about

Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it. Haim Ginnott

He who teaches children learns more than they do German Proverb

Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.

Tell me and I’ll forget Show me and may remember Involve me and I’ll


Chinese Proverb

Our children grow up in a culture permeated with the idea that there are 'smart people' and 'dumb people'. . .children will define themselves in terms of their (learned) limitations, and this definition will be consolidated and reinforced throughout their lives. Only rarely does some exceptional event lead people to reorganize their intellectual self-image in such a way as to open up new perspectives on what is learnable.

Seymour Papert: Mindstorms

Children begin their lives as eager and competent learners. They have to learn to have trouble with learning in general and in mathematics in particular.

Seymour Papert: Mindstorms

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Gandhi

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein

One cannot solve a problem, at the same or with the conscious level that created it. Einstein

A mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open.

The moment of greatest learning for any of us is when we find ourselves responsible for a problem that we care desperately to resolve. Roland Barth, Improving Schools from Within

Now as never before we need the imagination, the dedication, the creativity of everyone to get society through the massive transformation required for a planetary society. Margaret Mead

Our children can begin to experience fulfilment as soon as we choose to create environments permitting them to do so. Bob Samples

It makes no difference where ideas come from; it's what we do with them that matters. We don't have to justify our ideas but only our action and its consequences if we decide to follow one or more of them. Koberg

The individual who has been rendered sensitive by education will not be deserted by it in his hour of need. EM Forster

Learning is a treasure that accompanies its owner everywhere. Chinese Proverb

The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world. The more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend to simply adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited on them. Pablo Freire

We are all too much inclined, I think, to walk through life with our eyes closed. There are things around us and right at our very feet that we have never seen, because we have never really looked. We should not keep forever on the public road going only where others have gone; we should leave the beaten track occasionally and enter the woods. Every time you do that you will be certain to find something you have never seen before. Of course, it will be a little thing; but do not ignore it. Follow it up, explore all round it; one discovery will lead to another and before you know it you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind, for all really big discoveries are the results of thought. Alexander Graham Bell

Learning is the fundamental pattern of human adaptation, but mostly it occurs before or after or in the interstices of schooling.

Learning is the new continuity for individuals, innovation the new continuity for business.

Wealth and power are obstacles to learning. People who don't wear shoes learn the languages of people who do, not vice versa.

Trying to understand learning by studying schooling is rather like trying to understand sexuality by studying bordellos.

We started from participant observation and the necessity for improvisation, asserting the need to act and interact with others without complete understanding, learning along the way, and we argued that improvisation can be both creative and responsible. We have explored ways of embracing myths and metaphors and multiple layers of truths, education through lessons that are very different at every encounter. The self is constructed from continuing uncertainity but it can include or reflect a community (or even the entire biosphere) can be both fluid and stable, can be fulfilled in learning rather than in control. Mary Catherine Bateson

In her classroom our speculations ranged from the world. She breathed curiosity into us, so that each morning we came to her class carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas, cupped and shielded in our hands like captured butterflies. When she went away, a sadness came over us; but the light did not go out. She had written her signature upon us; the literature of the teacher who writes on children's minds. I have had many teachers who taught me soon forgotten things, but only a few like her who created in me a new direction, a new hunger, a new attitude. I suppose to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher. What deathless power lies in the hand of such a person." John Steinbeck

Children are our greatest natural resource. Walt Disney

Schools are homes for the mind. Art Costa The mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes

What you do speaks so loudly, they can't hear what you say. Emerson

Let us put our minds together and see what life we will make for our children. Chief Sitting Bull A child is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life. Ernest Renan

An education is not how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't know. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know and it's knowing how to use the information that you get. William Feather

I was thrown out of college for cheating on a metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy. Woody Allen

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. GK Chesterton

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. Robert Frost

The things taught in school are not an education, but a means to an education. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Much knowledge does not teach wisdom. Heraclitus Learning is when you understand something you've known all your life, but in a new way. Doris Lessing

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. John Lubbock

"I dunno", Arthur said. "I forget what I was taught. I only remember what I've learnt." Patrick Wright

We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge. Rutherford Rodgers

You can get all As and still flunk life. Walker Percy

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

In teaching, it is the method and not the content that is the message...the drawing out, not the pumping in. Ashley Montague

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them how to grow their own plants. Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. Roger Lewin

I hear and I forget; I see and I remember, I do and I understand. Chinese Proverb

The most extraordinary thing about a really good teacher is that he or she transcends accepted educational methods. Margaret Mead

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher. Elbert Hubbard

We have ignored cultural literacy in thinking about education..We tend to ignore the air we breathe until it becomes thin or foul. Cultural literacy is the oxygen of social intercourse. Ed Hirsch

Teaching kids to count is fine. Teaching them what counts is best. Bob Talbert

The highest result of education is tolerance. Helen Keller

Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer---into selflessness which links us with all humanity. Nancy Astor

Respect for the fragility and importance of an individual life is the first mark of an educated man. Norman Cousins

A school should not be a preparation for life. A school should be life. Elbert Hubbard

I touch the future. I teach. Christa McAuliffe

Everyone who remembers their own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods or techniques. The teacher is the kingpin of the educational situation. He makes or breaks the situation. Sidney Hook One looks back with gratitude not to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. Carl Jung

Teachers who educate children deserve more honor than parents who merely gave them birth; for bare life is furnished by one, the other ensures a good life. Aristotle

We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and all the failings of the family, then we expect them to educate our children. John Scully

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. John Cotton Dana

I do not teach children, I give them joy. Isadora Duncan

The secret of education is in respecting the pupil. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. Mark Van Doren

To teach is to learn twice. Joseph Joubert

Education is never completed until one dies. Robert E. Lee

A child should learn more of the virtues needed in modern life---fairness, comradeship, collective interest and action--in a school that can be taught in the most perfect family circle. Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Education is learning what you didn't know you didn't know. George Boas

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. Will Durant Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.. The human mind is our fundamental resource. John F. Kennedy

A teacher affects eternity; s/he can never tell where his/her influence stops. Henry Adams

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. George Bernard Shaw

No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. Emma Goldman

That men do not learn from history is the most important lesson that history has to teach. Aldous Huxley

My teacher is so stubborn She is told that I am unmotivated But she invites me anyway. She is told that I don't want to learn

She invites me anyway. She is told that I don't have the ability

She invites me anyway. She is told I just want to cause trouble

She invites me anyway. She invites me again, again, and again. She fills my world with invitations. One day, I'll accept one and see what happens. Inviting School Success: Purkey and Novak

The principal who is a committed learner is likely to have a school full of students and adults who are committed learners. Roland Barth

Successful schools seem to have strong and functional cultures aligned with a vision of quality schooling. Thomas Sergiovanni

Learners are given a sense of their own powers---the power to think of and express ideas in many forms, to accept rather than resist growth. Roland Barth

Children are not our subordinates. Ultimately, it is they who will write, rewrite and edit our scripts of life. Anthony Gregore

I saw life through the eyes of a child as I watched him clean his boat before putting it into the lake...We can learn from children. Walter Rinder

The children's school experiences need to be real, daily life experiences, not a withdrawal from life, which is resumed only outside of in school should make varying demands on concentration, effort, challenge and involvement. Some time free from external pressures, some time assigned to demanding work, and some time allocated to relaxation. Lilian Katz

Engaging Children's Minds

In creative play, there are no wrong answers, only possibilities. The best learners are children, not children segregated in schools but children at play, zestfully busy exploring their own homes, families, neighbourhoods, languages, conjuring up possible and impossible worlds of imagination. Mary Catherine Bateson

Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way

DID is a word of achievement; WON'T is a word of retreat; MIGHT is a word of bereavement; CAN'T is a word of defeat; OUGHT is a word of duty; TRY is a word each hour; WILL is a word of beauty; CAN is a word of power.

We cannot discover the oceans unless we have courage to lose sight of the shore. Don't count a day done until you've done something to make the day count.

When we jump to have an answer we are closing the door to the process of discovery and learning, so that we will not encounter the endless number of other answers that are available. What is needed in the area of child rearing and education is a long enough period of questioning that will allow a large number of possibilities to show up-possibilities that don't occur to us now at all. Naomi Aldort

Schools should be a place where children learn what they most want to know, instead of what we think they ought to know. The child who wants to know something remembers it and uses it..the child who learns something to please or appease someone else, forgets it when the need for pleasing or the danger of not appeasing is past. This is why children quickly forget all but a small part of what they learn in school. John Holt

Albert Einstein didn't read until he was eight or nine and Woodrow Wilson, until he was nearly eleven. Thomas Edison once said: "I remember I used never to be able to get along at school...I almost decided that I was a dunce." Teachers described Auguste Rodin, he sculptor, as "the worst pupil in school". Friedrich Nietzsche's parents thought he was retarded. Giacomo Puccini, the opera composer, consistently failed examinations. Teachers criticized Marcel Proust for writing disorganized compositions. Amy Lowell, the poet, was an atrocious speller. A thirteen year old tried unsuccessfully to teach Ludwig Van Beethoven basic arithmetic. Many other great people, transplanted into contemporary society, would also probably have ended up in remedial or learning disability classes, including Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, William Butler Yeats, Agatha Christie, and Hans Christian Andersen. Each of these talented people possessed an ability--scientific, artistic, musical, political, literary--that was irrelevant or even bothersome in a school setting but vital to the betterment of civilization. Thomas Armstrong

Understanding the emerging biology of learning is the keystone to meaningful, systemic school change.

Powerful learning requires a ‘bodybrain partnership- an integrated process

Both students and adults require a body-brain compatible environment to work and learn

Where students experience bodybrain-compatible learning, their product-producing and problem solving capabities are greatly enhanced

I don’t give a damn for a man that can spell a word only one way

Why isn’t phoenetic spelled the way it sounds Anon

The best teacher lodges an intent not in the mind but in the heart. Mark Twain supporting children with lots of praise. By the time I came to know them in 5th grade, all but a few of the children were so totally dependent on continued adult approval that they were terrified of making mistakes, lacking in self-confidence. 99% of the praise I have observed was more harmful than helpful. Babies do not learn in order to please us. If we praise them for everything they do, after a while they are going to start learning, doing things, just to please us, and the next step is that they are going to become worried about not pleasing us. John Holt

The Smithsonian Report on genius offered a three-part recipe for high achievement: 1. much time spent with warm responsive parents and other adults 2. very little time spent with peers 3. a great deal of free exploration under parental guidance. One conclusion of that study was that "the mass education of our public school system is, in its way, a vast experiment on reducing..all three factors to a minimum; accordingly, it should ten to suppress the occurrence of genius The Childhood Pattern of Genius

...a common myth, believed by most of our adult population, indeed suggests the opposite-that children are best socialized by mixing them regularly into groups of children about their own age. Yet if one wants truly positive sociable children who will mature into outgoing, altruistic adults, one will avoid their regular mixing with their peers on a group basis as in preschool, kindergarten or primary school until they are at least 8 or, the parents are the best socializers of your children. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. Praise, help, or even a look, may be enough to interrupt him, or destroy the activity. It seems a strange thing to say, but this can happen even if the child merely becomes aware of being watched. After all, we too sometimes feel unable to go on working if someone comes to see what we are doing. The teacher's skill in not interfering comes with practice, like everything else, but it never comes very easily. What advice can we give to mothers? Their children need to work at an interesting occupation: they should not be helped unnecessarily, nor interrupted, once they have begun to do something intelligent. Maria Montessori

With school focusing most of their attention on the good test-taker, the expert fill-inthe-blanker, and the handraiser who always has the 'right' answer, we're left with a situation in which 99.9% of the country's natural human resources could go undeveloped. A greater national tragedy could scarely be envisioned. Thomas Armstrong

Avoid using rewards and punishments. Bribing kids with privileges and prizes communicates the message to them that learning is not worth pursuing in its own right. Thomas Armstrong Yet we keep pretending that there is a correct model of a working brain and that it is our duty to refashion each brain to fit the model. Eloise Ristad

In the face of a century of contrary experience, educators cling to the notion that teaching produces learning, and therefore, the more taught, the more learned. Not one of the reports I have read has raised serious questions about this assumption. And I only very slowly and painfully--believe me, painfully-learned that when I started teaching less, the children started learning more. Learning is not the product of teaching. Teaching does not make learning...uninvited teaching does not make learning, but for the most part, such teaching prevents learning..the second message that uninvited teaching conveys to the other person is: What I'm teaching you is so difficult that, if I didn't teach it to you, you couldn't learn it. John Holt

It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. Albert Einstein

Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. Rudolf Steiner

He who teaches learns twice Qui Docet Discet Seneca

Those who know little can teach those who know everything Lancaster

You are not finished until you have taught what you have learned to someone else. Michael Norman

The teacher if (he) is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but leads you to the threshold of your own mind. Kahlil Gibran

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. Albert Einstein

Learning is not a spectator sport. Anonymous

For learning to take place with any kind of efficiency students must be motivated. To be motivated, they must become interested. And they become interested when they are actively working on projects which they can relate to their values and goals in life. Gus Tuberville President. William Penn College 1981

The only kind of learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered or self-appropriated learningtruth that has been assimilated in experience. Carl Rogers

Humanist Psychologist

You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help (him) discover it for hinself Galileo Galilei


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust. 1871 French novelist

The biggest enemy to learning is the talking teacher. John Holt

Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight. Thomas Carlyle Scottish essayist 1795

Learning without thought is not labor lost. Thought without learning is intellectual death. Confucius


Education is what survives when what has been learned is forgotton. B F Skinner. Psychologist

There is always an easy solution to every human problem- neat, plausible and wrong. H L Mencken 1880 Assessment: Only in North America do we grade students, in other parts of the world they only grade vegetables and meat. Sylvia Ashton-Warner

It's easier to change a cemetry, than it is to change the curriculum. Woodrow Wilson

You don't learn from your experience. You learn from processing your experience. John Dewey

You are asking me questions and I hear you. I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know it just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers Richard Bach

"How does one grow up?" I asked a friend. She answered, "By thinking." May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Across the Curriculum, up and down the grade ladder, a new wave of teachers is casting out text books, cursing standardised tests, killing drills and preaching a new creed of student engagement. Wall Street Journal, September 11, 1992

Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for their elders and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They contradict their parents, gobble up their food and tyrannise their teachers.

Socrates 400BC

For more Wise Words see


Profile for Julie Boyd

Wise Words: Teaching and Learning  

A series of quotes related to effective teaching and learning

Wise Words: Teaching and Learning  

A series of quotes related to effective teaching and learning

Profile for jboydedu