Quotes on Education and Learning

If I could find it, I've provided a link to further information about the person quoted and/or something about the original quote of the source.

  • Anonymous:
    Learning makes a man fit company for himself.

  • Aristotle, as quoted by Diogenes:
    When asked how much educated men were superior to those uneducated, Aristotle answered, "As much as the living are to the dead."

  • Isaac Asimov:
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."

  • David Berglund, 1984 Libertarian candidate for President:
    The right to freedom in the area of intellectual development and personal philosophy is fully as important as freedom of religion. Thus there should be a separation of education and state just as there is a separation of church and state.

  • Dorothea Brande:
    Man's mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.

  • Chinese Proverbs:
    • Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
    • Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.

  • Yvon Chouinard:
    You can't separate creativity from risk-taking. I think the best ideas are so whacko and ahead of their time, that everybody's going to laugh at them. So people have to feel confident enough to just throw it out anyway, and not be hurt if nobody likes if.

  • Arthur C. Clarke:
    The object of teaching a child is to enable the child to get along without the teacher. We need to educate our children for their future, not our past.

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

  • Albert Einstein:
    • 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.
    • It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry, because what this delicate little plant needs most, apart from initial stimulation, is freedom; without that it is surely destroyed ... I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not.
      "Autobiographical Notes" in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, edited by Paul Schilpp

  • T.S. Eliot:
    It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape -- not from our own time, for we are bound by that -- but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our own time.

  • Miguel Ángel Escotet:
    Education is to mould the human being for ongoing change and even for the eventual crisis which might arise as a result of the transition.

  • William Feather, U.S. author and publisher, 1889-1981:
    Education: Being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it.

  • John Taylor Gatto:
    • Christ didn't set up the Judea Compulsory School System. He issued an invitation, "Follow me," and some did, and some didn't. And Christ didn't send the truant officer after those who didn't. - "Education and the Western Spiritual Tradition"
    • Depending upon the individual teacher's political perspective, schools are, from the right wing, a necessary way to avoid social chaos and target winners, or from the left wing, a way to adjust children to fit a particular social hierarchy controlled by the upper classes, and hopefully a means to control children's minds to accept a different, more liberal hierarchy. In either case, when looked at politically, schools are a means of behavioral, attitudinal indoctrination, places in which the development of the mind is only a rhetorical genuflection. - The Curriculum of Necessity
    • Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges, it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die. - We Need Less School, Not More
    • After you fall into a habit of accepting what other people tell you to think you lose the power to think for yourself. I suspect that's why so few of us challenge the premises of old-age homes, television, day-care centers and schools. - What Really Matters

  • Charles Handy:
    ...the best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms.

  • Sydney J. Harris, (1917-1986) American journalist:
    The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's time.

  • John Holt:
    • The poor thinker dashes madly after an answer; the good thinker takes his time & looks at the problem...The good thinker can take his time because he can tolerate uncertainty, he can stand not knowing. The poor thinker can't stand not knowing; it drives him crazy.
    • What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn't a school at all.
    • Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. "Leadership qualities" are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.
    • Education—something that some people do to others for their own good, trying to make them learn what they think they ought to know, cannot be reformed or carried out wisely or humanely, because its purpose is neither wise nor humane. A most fundamental human right is the right to decide for ourselves how we will explore the world around us, think about our own and other persons' experiences, and find and make the meaning of our own lives. Whoever takes that right away from us…attacks the very center of our being and does us a most profound and lasting injury. Education, with its supporting systems of compulsory and competitive schooling, all its carrots and sticks, grades, diplomas and credentials, now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind.
    • The most we will be able to do will be to find ways to help some children escape education and schooling and to help some others, who cannot escape, to be less damaged by it than they are now…You cannot have human liberty, and the sense of all persons' uniqueness, dignity, and worth on which it must rest, if you give to some people the right to say officially and "objectively" that some people are more able and worthy than others…

  • Elbert Hubbard:
    • A school should not be a preparation for life; A school should be life.
    • The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.

  • Robert Hutch:
    The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.

  • Ivan Illich:
    School is necessary to produce the habits and expectations of the managed consumer society.

  • Lillian Jones:
    Homeschooling is most successful as a way of life when we can separate ourselves from the limiting notion of a thing called homeschooling. We must truly free ourselves from the school model if we are to reclaim our lives, our families, our dreams and potentials. Although there are many things to learn (and things to study) about the world and life, learning need not be like schooling. Children want and need their parents to be parents, not teachers. Great joy comes in just being, learning, and growing together in mutual respect…

  • Francis Keppel:
    Education is too important to be left solely to educators.

  • Eartha Kitt:
    I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.

  • Michael Garrett Marino:
    A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak.

  • John Stuart Mill, economist and philosopher, in On Liberty, 1859:
    A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.

  • Maria Mitchell, 1878, astronomer:
    We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.

  • Frank Musgrove:
    The immediate case against compulsory school for adolescents is quite simply their barbarity: it is a triangle of hatred, humiliation and contempt.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt:
    The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

  • John Ruskin:
    The entire object of true education is to make people not merely to do the right things, but to enjoy them; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.

  • Bertrand Russell:
    Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.

  • Chris Shute:
    Whatever their claims, schools are training most young people to be habitually subservient.

  • Socrates:
    To find yourself, think for yourself.

  • Thomas Sowell:
    The greatest harm done by schools and departments of education is not in what they teach or fail to teach those who are studying to become educators. Their greatest harm is in creating mind-numbing mumbo-jumbo that drives out good people the way bad money drives out the good.

  • Herbert Spencer:
    The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.

  • Anne Sullivan, teacher of Helen Keller:
    I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must taught to think. Quoted in The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, 8 May 1887.

  • Vin Suprynowicz:
    Let a child suddenly become interested in pursuing a subject that strikes his or her fancy, and a teacher should be able to seize that opportunity.... Instead, the bell rings, and the little inmates are expected to turn off that spark of curiosity that fires constantly in six-year-olds, but which is progressively extinguished by a 19th century factory model of education that only considers such outbursts inconvenient, as they shuffle off to their next planned activity like spiritless drones.

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

  • Granny Weatherwax:
    I don't hold with schools, they get in the way of education.

  • E.S. Wilson:
    Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.

  • Sydney Wood:
    An educated man is one who can entertain a new idea, entertain another person and entertain himself.


Last updated July 17, 2001


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This file last modified 05/16/06