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Quotes on Teaching and Learning
Opinionated quotations from the famous and not-so-famous.

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There's put-down humor, where a person or a group of people is the target of cruelty in the guise of a "joke." And then there's inclusive humorthe kind I practice and promote in my work. Inclusive humor means everyone is included in the laughter and it isn't at anyone else's expense.

Lynn Grasberg

The tests are largely a speed processing test, they're not an intelligence test. And there are many, many students who may be brilliant, may be very talented, but are not successfully measured by speed processing.

William Hiss (CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, February 18, 2014)

Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.

Og Mandino

There was a cover story in Fortune magazine . . . on chief executive officers who had dyslexia and of course, until recently, dyslexics were treated like dirt in the school system. And the guy who ran Kinko's was a dyslexic and I love this: when he was being just battered and bruised in school his mother told him not to worry Paul, in the long run, the A students work for the B students, the C students run the businesses and the D students get the buildings named after them.

Tom Peters

Tell if you know, ask if you don't.

Duane Alan Hahn

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.

George Santayana

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.

John Cotton Dana

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

Peter F. Drucker

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to thinkrather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.

John Dewey

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.

Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

The true aim of everyone who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds.

Frederick W. Robertson

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.

Gail Godwin

It seems that, as parents and educators, we mold children's values and morals. We teach them valuable lessons related to honesty, courage, integrity, loyalty and so on. Yet it seems that we allow children to dictate to us the concept of 'fairness.' When asked to define 'fairness,' most children respond: "Fairness means everybody gets the same." Unfortunately, we often allow children to convince us that this indeed is the definition of that concept. As a result, we attempt to deal with all children in an identical manner. When a teacher modifies a lesson for an LD child or adjusts the course requirements for him, his classmates charge that the situation is 'unfair.' Rather than respond to their complaints, the teacher should explain that the mature conceptualization of 'fairness' is not equal, identical treatment; rather, 'fairness' means that every student receives what he needs. Because each individual's needs are different, 'fairness' dictates that their programs and expectations will be different. Children are capable of understanding this concept if it is explained clearly and if it is observed daily in the teacher's modeling behavior.

Rick Lavoie

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

William A. Ward

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Henry Adams

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

Albert Einstein

Knowledge exists to be imparted.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own.

Unknown

He that imagines he has knowledge enough has none.

Unknown

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.

Thomas Carruthers

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

Mark Van Doren

When you only read things that you agree with, the mind becomes stagnant.

Duane Alan Hahn

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.

Margaret Fuller

To me the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knowsand I needn't.

Francis Yeats-Brown

When one teaches, two learn.

Robert Half

You teach what you have to learn. It is not necessary to have achieved perfection to speak of perfection. It is not necessary to have achieved mastery to speak of mastery.

God from Conversations with God (Book 3) through Neale Donald Walsch

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Confucius

One of the most exciting developments in modern education goes by the name of cooperative (or collaborative) learning and has children working in pairs or small groups. An impressive collection of studies has shown that participation in well-functioning cooperative groups leads students to feel more positive about themselves, about each other, and about the subject they're studying. Students also learn more effectively on a variety of measures when they can learn with each other instead of against each other or apart from each other. Cooperative learning works with kindergartners and graduate students, with students who struggle to understand and students who pick things up instantly; it works for math and science, language skills and social studies, fine arts and foreign languages.

Alfie Kohn from Punished By Rewards

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)

One must marvel at the intellectual quality of a teacher who can't understand why children assault one another in the hallway, playground, and city street, when in the classroom the highest accolades are reserved for those who have beaten their peers. In many subtle and some not so subtle ways, teachers demonstrate that what children learn means much less than that they triumph over their classmates. Is this not assault? Classroom defeat is only the pebble that creates widening ripples of hostility. It is self-perpetuating. It is reinforced by peer censure, parental disapproval, and loss of self-concept. If the classroom is a model, and if that classroom models competition, assault in the hallways should surprise no one.

Joseph Wax (adapted)

Arrogance, pedantry, and dogmatism…the occupational diseases of those who spend their lives directing the intellects of the young.

Henry S. Canby

Learning without thought is labor lost.

Confucius

It's easy to point a finger, but much harder to point the way.

Duane Alan Hahn

How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.

Alexandre Dumas

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

Kahlil Gibran

A lesson that is never learned can never be too often taught.

Seneca

To free a person from error is to give, and not to take away.

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

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Rick Lavoie on Competition in Schools from The Motivation Breakthrough

Fairness (Richard Lavoie)

. . . as I speak to parents and teachers all over this country, I see classrooms and families being run based on the adults' concept of honesty, the adults' concept of truth, the adults' concept of liberty, patriotism, religion. And yet those same families and classrooms are being run based on the child's concept of fairness.

 

What I'd like you to do when this session is over tonight, is go home and walk into your attic, pull down your old philosophy books from high school or college, or even take out a Webster's dictionary, and look up the definition of "fairness." Fairness does not mean that everyone gets the same, fairness actually means that everyone gets what he or she needs.

 

And yet still, I'll deal with teachers where I'll say to a teacher, "Jody's going to be in your class next semester, teacher, and she's a wonderful, very bright kid. She's going to do very well in your math class, but she's got a learning disability and it's called a 'far-point copying problem,' and she can't copy off the blackboard. So here's what I'd like you to do: when you put problems on the blackboard for everyone to copy, I'd like you to write up an extra set for Jody and give that to Jody. And if that doesn't work, you don't have time for that, Lee's pretty quick, maybe Lee could write up two sets and then hand one across to Jody or even put a piece of carbon paper under Lee's sheet, so when she writes up one set of problems, there's an extra one automatically to give to Jody. I'd like you to do that please."

 

Invariably the teacher will say, "I can't do that." And I say, "why not?" There's a lot of answers I'll accept. I'll accept "because I don't know how." I'll accept "because I don't have time." I'll accept "because I don't believe in mainstreaming." I'll accept "because I don't like Jody." I will go to the mat with a teacher and I will discuss any one of those answers with a teacher. The one answer I will not discuss, the one answer that I think is beneath contempt and beneath discussing is the answer I hear most often, and that is: "I can't do that for Jody because it's not fair to the others." It's got nothing to do with the others! Jody needs it, the others don't. It has nothing to do with the others.

 

Let's take it and try it in an adult situation. Suppose I'm up here lecturing. In the middle of my lecture, god forbid in the middle of my lecture, Carolyn here falls off her chair. I look down at her and she's turning blue; cardiac arrest. God forbid, she's having a heart attack right in front of us, and I'm trained in C.P.R. technique, so I know what to do. How ludicrous, how unfair, how absolutely foolish and unethical would it be for me to say, "hey Carolyn, I'd like to help you, I really would, but heck we've got 30 people here. I haven't got time to give C.P.R. to everybody, and it wouldn't be fair to only give it to you." But the teacher who says, "I can't help the L.D. Child because it's not fair to the others" is working at the same moral level as a ten-year-old child.

 

And it's particularly important for you as parents to understand, because I know a lot of parents of special needs kids who spend full-time beating themselves up and trying to keep the scales balanced: "What do I do? Johnny, the L.D. Child, needs a special tutor. How do I make that up to the other kids, so that I'm fair to everybody?" You don't have to. As long as you can look into the eyes of the siblings and say, "honey, if it was you, I'd be doing the same thing."

 

Fairness does not mean that everyone gets the same. Fairness means that everyone gets what he or she needs. And we're not going to be able to work successfully with the child, mainstream child, learning disabled child, in the mainstream classroom until teachers and parents begin to understand that in order to be fair we've got to treat them differently.

 

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George Carlin on Education

Bill Wesley at YouTube had this to say about the clip above: "There, that wasn't so bad, just a little pin prick injection of direct honesty instead of the usual quack tincture of pretend analysis. I can tell you what our masters fear the most and it's not education, it's worse than education. They fear unsigned creativity, individual invention and integrity. What we call 'education' is really just 'regimentation.' The goal is not to promote understanding, but rather to prevent originality. An independently owned patent can bring down an entire corporation."

 

Clip Transcript:

There's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests.

 

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Related Videos

DVDs Worth Watching

The Motivation Breakthrough

Presented by Richard Lavoie. The Motivation Breakthrough will revolutionize the way parents, teachers, and professionals reach out to and motivate all children.

 

Unconditional Parenting

Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason. A Talk by Alfie Kohn.

 

How Difficult Can This Be?

The F.A.T. City Workshop: Understanding Learning Disabilities (Richard Lavoie)

 

Beyond F.A.T. City

A Look Back, A Look Ahead (Richard Lavoie)

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Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

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Links About Cooperation

Cooperative Board Games

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