July 16th, 2008

January 2010

“The neglect of the arts by those who identified the goals of Goals 2000 was consistent with the focus on the manageable, the predictable, and the measurable. The danger afflicting both teachers and students of such emphasis is, in part, the danger of feeling locked into existing circumstances defined by others.”

                                                                                    Maxine Greene

A selection of quotations on education compiled by Roland Meighan (1994) The Freethinkers Guide to the Educational Universe published in England by Education Heretics Press: 

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.

Albert Einstein


Why not make schools into places in which children would be allowed, encouraged, and (if and when they asked) helped to explore and make sense of he world around them . . .  in ways that most interested them?

When I was teaching in school, a man came to a parents’ meeting and complained about the extraordinary amount of testing we were doing. His words went right to the heart of the matter: “You’re like a gardener who constantly pulls his plants up by the roots to see if they’re growing.”

  John Holt

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.


 Education extracts the active ingredient of living a full, inquisitive life, calls it ‘learning’ and then attempts to improve this learning through bureaucratic administration of curriculum.

Ivan Illich

The sum of human knowledge and the complexity of human problems are perpetually increasing; therefore every generation must overhaul its educational methods if time is to be found for what is new.

                                               Bertrand Russell

This intelligence-testing business reminds me of the way they used to weigh hogs in Texas. They would get a long plank, put it over a crossbar, and somehow tie the hog on one end of the plank. They’d search all around till they found a stone that would balance the weight of the hog, and then they’d put it on the other end of the plank. Then they’d guess the weight of the stone.

John Dewey


Previous Quotations

The human brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern, though never an abiding one.

David Loye

The Human Mind, once stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Teaching is not just delivering learning like a mail carrier. Instead learning is played with, applied badly at first, slowly understood, implications are rarely grasped at first. It is an internal process filtered through many screens of meaningfulness, emotion, past experience, biases and linkages. It cannot be thought of as static and inserted into the brain of another.

You can’t out-perform your self-image.

William James

Play is your brain’s favorite way of learning.

Diane Ackerman

The desire to learn, to discover, to figure something out, and to be able to do something well enough to proclaim it as one’s own must surely be as strong as any impulse in the human soul.

Joseph Fried

There is a great need for a new approach, new methods and new tools in teaching, man’s oldest and most reactionary craft. There is great need for a rapid increase in the productivity of learning. There is, above all, great need for methods that will make the teacher effective and multiply his or her efforts and competence. Teaching is, in fact, the only traditional craft in which we have not yet fashioned the tools that make an ordinary person capable of superior performance. In this respect, teaching is far behind medicine, where the tools first became available a century or more ago.

Peter Drucker, The Age Of Discontinuity.

What is desired is that the teacher ceased being a lecturer, satisfied with transmitting ready-made solutions. His role should rather be that of a mentor stimulating initiative and research.

Jean Piaget

The current obsession with ensuring that children achieve basic reading and math literacy may have obscured the more fundamental question of what it is that children learn to do with those skills. How do they become reflective citizens, with an informed, critical sense of the world around them? Is it a stock of relevant knowledge that they lack or is it a set of intellectual habits? Put otherwise, what is the relationship between “knowledge” and “understanding”?

George Traub

Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.

John W. Whitehead

“We are students of words; we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Vincent Van Gogh

Cherish you visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul and the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

Napoleon Hill

You hold all of our futures in your hands. So you better make it good.

Jodie Foster

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.

Pablo Picasso

While in the process of executing an idea, creativity happens not with one brilliant flash but in a chain reaction of many tiny sparks.

R. Keith Sawyer

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.

Tommy Lasorda

To be able to be caught up into the world of thought-that is educated.

Edith Hamilton

Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?”  I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”

George Bernard Shaw

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.


The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.

George Bernard Shaw

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the choice of many alternatives. 

Willa A. Foste

Literacy is at the heart of sustainable development.

Kofi Annan

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that mine are still greater. 

Albert Einstein

There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people. 

Thomas Jefferson

The greatest joy of teaching occurs every time you realize that one of your students “gets it.” 

Nancy Gallavan

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. 


Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing. 

Madeline Hunter

I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.

Vincent Van Gogh

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

Ignacio Estrada

The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”

Maria Montessori