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QUOTE OF THE DAY
Museums betray the public and their purpose if they aren't seriously amusing.
[Michael Kimmelman]

All our Quotes

Vivian Gussin Paley, Wally's Stories, 1981
I do not ask the children to stop thinking about play. Our contract reads more like this: if you will keep trying to explain yourselves I will keep showing you how to think about the problems you need to solve.
Ken Macrorie, Uptaught, 1970
[Here] lies the core of what I have learned in the late years of my teaching career. It is that teachers must find ways of getting students to produce (in words, pictures, sounds, diagrams, objects, or landscapes) what students and teachers honestly admire. I believe I am not deluding myself about what happens in Third Way classes. No student does well all the time; but every student who carries out the program--respected and supported as an individual possessing the unique and complex experience that is every human being's lot on earth--moves other persons in delight or terror or sympathy at times. He [or she] is capable of seeing the world, human and natural, in a way valuable to others. And capable of learning from others even more sharply.
Amos Pettingill, The Garden Book, 1986
As a guide for the experimentation we so freely encourage, the table opposite will be helpful. We must caution, however, that it is rife with half-truths--despite our best efforts at disclosure.

We are dealing here with living things whose colors, habits, and general constitutions will vary with locale and with the skill of the individual gardener. This unpredictability, which strikes terror into the heart of the beginner, is in fact one of the glories of gardening. Things change, certainly from year to year and sometimes from morning to evening. There are mysteries, surprises, and always, lessons to be learned. After almost 40 years hard at it, we are only beginning.

Nancie Atwell, In the Middle: Writing, Reading, and Learning with Adolescents, 1987
I confess. I started out as a creationist. The first days of every school year I created; for the next thirty-six weeks I maintained my creation. My curriculum. From behind my big desk I set it in motion, managed and maintained it all year long. I wanted to be a great teacher--systematic, purposeful, in control. I wanted great truths from my great practices. And I wanted to convince other teachers that this creation was superior stuff. So I studied my curriculum, conducting research designed to show its wonders. I did not learn in my classroom. I tended and taught my creation. These days, I learn in my classroom. What happens there has changed; it continually changes. I have become an evolutionist, and the curriculum unfolds now as my kids and I learn together. My aims stay constant--I want us to go deep inside language, using it to know and shape and play with our worlds--but my practices evolve as eight graders and I go deeper. This going deeper is research, and these days my research shows me the wonders of my kids, not my methods. But it has also brought me full circle. What I learn with these students, collaborating with them as a writer and reader who wonders about writing and reading, makes me a better teacher--not great maybe, but at least grounded in the logic of learning, and growing.
Shirley Brice Heath, Oral and literate traditions among Black Americans living in poverty,1989
When children learn language, they take in more than forms of grammar: They learn to make sense of the social world in which they live and how to adapt to its dynamic social interactions and role relations. Through the reciprocal processes of family and community life that flow through communication, children develop a system of cognitive structures as interpretive frameworks and come to share to greater or lesser degrees the common value system and sets of behavioral norms of their sociocultural group (Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986). These frameworks and ways of expressing knowledge in a variety of styles and through different symbolic system will vary in their congruence with those of the school and other mainstream institutions.
Horace Mann
Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men,--the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
Richard Shaull, 1970, foreword to Freireís Pedagogy of the Oppressed
There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present sysem and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes: "the practice of freedom", the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.
Michel Foucault, The Discourse on Language
Education may well be, as of right, the instrument whereby every individual, in a society like our own, can gain access to any kind of discourse. But we well know that in its distribution, in what it permits, and in what it prevents, it follows the well-trodden battle-lines of social-conflict. Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.
David Bartholomae, Inventing the university, 1985
Every time a student sits down to write for us, he has to invent the university, that is, or a branch of it, like History or Anthropology or Economics or English. He has to learn to speak our language, to speak as we do, to try on the peculiar ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, recording, concluding, and arguing that define the discourse of our community. Or perhaps I should say the various discourses of our community, since it is in the nature of a liberal arts education that a student, after the first year or two, must learn to try on a variety of voices and interpretive schemes--to write, for example, as a literary critic one day and an experimental psychologist the next, to work within fields where the rules governing the presentation of examples or the development of an argument are both distinct and, even to a professional, mysterious
V. Villanueva, A Rhetorically Critical Literacy, 1988 in S. Harman and Carole Edelsky, 1989
I do not believe I had a problem with English after kindergarten. I could switch from Spanglish to Street to English at will. I read. I didn't fear writing. I could mimic the prestige dialect--both the spoken and the written. I could even add 'however' to essays on the basis of sound, although not often on the basis of sense. I was, however, apparently unable to mimic the school's way of viewing the world, the ways reflected in rhetorical patterns. The literacy we (Puerto Ricans) acquire tends to be of the wrong sort, even when the dialect is right. Basic literacy yields little power.
Ann Berthoff, The Sense of Learning, 1990
Is teaching still possible? Yes--if it is conceived as dialogic action in classrooms which are philosophical laboratories for the study of meaning.
Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education, 1960
We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development. It is a bold hypothesis and an essential one in thinking about the nature of a curriculum. No evidence exists to contradict it; considerable evidence is being amassed that supports it.
William James
You can give humanistic value to almost anything by teaching it historically. Geology, economics, mechanics are humanities when taught with reference to the successive achievements of the geniuses to which these sciences owe their being. Not taught thus, literature remains grammar, art a catalogue, history a list of dates, and natural science a sheet of formulas and weights and measures.
often attributed to William James
Sow an action, a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character
Sow a character, reap a destiny
John Dewey, Democracy and Education, 1916
Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as biological life. This transmission occurs by means of communication of habits of doing, thinking, and feeling from the older to the younger. Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expectations, standards and opinions from those members of society who are passing out of the group life to those who are coming into it, social life could not survive.
John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920, p. 186
The test of all the institutions of adult life is their effect in furthering continued education. Government, business, art, religion, all social institutions have a meaning, a purpose. That purpose is to set free and to develop the capacities of human individuals without respect to race, sex, class or economic status. And this is all one with saying that the test of their value is the extent to which they educate every individual into the full stature of his possibility. Democracy has many meanings, but if it has a moral meaning, it is found in resolving that the supreme test of all political institutions and industrial arrangements shall be the contribution they make to the all-around growth of every member of society.
Apollinaire
Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said.
They came.
He pushed them.

And they flew.
Karen Hume, Exploring the Stars, email, 1993
That experience [igloos built out of sugar cubes in second grade] became, for me, the touchstone of my teaching. I wanted to give my own students at least one experience that they would remember with the same pride and enthusiasm...

This dream became a reality a few years ago when I taught a 5/6 split. My class, with another at the same grade level, decided to study 'outer space'. This became a total focus in our classrooms for three solid months. Everything we did was motivated by our ever growing list of questions about space...

We had long, seamless, glorious days in which students would zip back and forth ... pursuing the answers to their questions by reading, viewing films, talking with friends, phoning Science Center and Planetarium officials...we planned through the disciplines, looking at space from the viewpoints of artists, science fiction authors, mathematicians, scientists....

The study culminated in an evening called: 'Thornton's Junior Tour of the Universe'. Over 600 people came to our school one evening where they were greeted by sixty student experts clad in specially printed t-shirts...

Guests then wandered outside to the courtyard where they could enjoy student made dinners at the 'Stardust Cafe', watch choral readings and dramatic presentations of pieces such as 'The Judge', or climb the hill to where a group of six volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society had high-powered scopes set up and ready to point out objects of interest in the night sky...

It was a magical term, culminating in a magical evening. I remember that the next day, my teaching partner and I gave the kids a celebration picnic lunch, complete with a cake that read: 'You were out of this world.'. We sat in silence over lunch; a silence broken as one student after another said,: 'I can't believe we did that. '...

One student put it best by saying: 'A couple of weeks after we started this study, I thought I knew a lot about space. Now I know how much I don't know.'... What worked ... being involved in a large project, that would not normally be expected of someone of that age, and that would be seen by an audience beyond that of teacher, classmates, and even one's own parents....

Galbraith's Law
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
F. Matthias Alexander
When people are wrong, the thing which is right is bound to be wrong to them
T.S. Eliot's poem "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
C.W. Leadbeater
It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.
John Dewey
No matter how ignorant a person is, there is one thing he knows better than anybody else, and that is where the shoes pinch on his own feet and because it is the individual that knows his own troubles even if he is not literate or sophisticated in other respects...every individual must be consulted in such a way, actively not passively, that he himself becomes part of the process of authority, of the process of social control, that his needs and wants have a chance to be registered in a way where they count in determining social policy.
Confucius
To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know; that is true knowledge.
John Dewey, Experience and Education
Almost everyone has had occasion to look back upon his school days and wonder what has become of the knowledge he was supposed to have amassed during his years of schooling, and why it is that the technical skills he acquired have to be learned over again in changed form in order to stand him in good stead. Indeed, he is lucky who does not find that in order to make progress, in order to go ahead intellectually, he does not have to unlearn much of what he learned in school. These questions cannot be disposed of by saying that the subjects were not actually learned, for they were learned at least sufficiently to enable a pupil to pass examinations in them. One trouble is that the subject-matter in question was learned in isolation; it was put, as it were, in a water-tight compartment. When the question is asked, then, what has become of it, where has it gone to, the right answer is that it is still there in the special compartment in which it was originally stowed away. If exactly the same conditions recurred as those under which it was acquired, it would also recur and be available. But it was segregated when it was acquired and hence is so disconnected from the rest of experience that it is not available under the actual conditions of life. It is contrary to the laws of experience that learning of this kind, no matter how thoroughly engrained at the time, should give genuine preparation.
S. Wright
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University, 1998
Undergraduate education in research universities requires renewed emphasis on a point strongly made by John Dewey almost a century ago: learning is based on discovery guided by mentoring rather than on the transmission of information. Inherent in inquiry-based learning is an element of reciprocity: faculty can learn from students as students are learning from faculty.
Eugène Ionesco
It is not the answer that enlightens but the question.
Goéry Delacôte
At the Exploratorium, [Frank] Oppenheimer ... had a provocative approach to learning, which can be summarized by saying that the best way to learn is to teach, the best way to teach is to keep learning, and that what counts in the end is having had a shared, reflected experience.
Arthur C. Clarke
Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other and we need them all.
Norman Maclean in A River Runs Through It
One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly become the author of something beautiful.
Einstein, 1949
It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet 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 wreck and ruin without fail. 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.
Basho
Learn about pines from the pine, and about bamboo from the bamboo.
Goethe
Every new object, clearly seen, opens up a new organ of perception in us.
Minna Antrim
Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.
Hannah Arendt
Action, in which a We is always engaged in changing our common world, stands in the sharpest possible opposition to the solitary business of thought, which operates in a dialogue between me and myself. Under exceptionally propitious circumstances that dialogue can be extended to another insofar as a friend is, as Aristotle said, "another self." But it can never reach the We, the true plural of action.
Albert Einstein
Bear in mind that the wonderful things that you learn in your school are the works of many generations. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children
Martin Heidegger
The best technical ability can never replace the actual power of seeing, inquiring and speaking.
Michel Foucault
A work, when it's not at the same time an attempt to modify what one thinks and even what one is, is not much fun -- to work is to undertake to think something other than what one has thought before.
Elspeth Huxley, The Flame Trees of Thika, p. 272
The best way to find things out .. is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing of a gun - bang it goes, and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit quite still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets, and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone; and if you are very patient you will see and understand a great deal more than a man with a gun does.
Walt Whitman
There was a child
Went forth every day
And the first object he look'd upon
That object he became
Quoted in Oliver Sacks, Awakenings (1990, p. 228)
On his deathbed, Pasteur said, 'Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything'
John Dewey, Experience and Education
We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future.
Dutton, Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourses and Social Practices, 1995, p. 172
Schools in particular are never neutral sites or free spaces above the conflicts of society. Tangled within the infinite relations of society, they unavoidably, produce, reproduce, and challenge political, social, cultural, and economic directions in society. Schools, like any institution, are places of ongoing struggle over meaning, truth claims, the organization of knowledge and interpersonal relations, classroom practices and so on.
Alfred Lord Whitehead
The 'silly question' is the first intimation of some totally new development.
George Orwell
If you hate violence and don't believe in politics, the only major remedy remaining is education.
Nancy Atwell, (1987). In the Middle. : Writing, Reading, and Learning with Adolescents
In general, we don't ask our secondary level kids to handle it (activity and independence). One result is increasing conformity as students progress through the grades, rather than the increasing independence adolescents might reasonably be expected to assume as they approach adulthood. p. 38

Learning is more likely to happen when students like what they are being asked to do. Learning is also more likely to happen when they can actively engage as learners, and when they are not engaged alone but are grouped so that as they engage together they may learn from each other. p. 38

A workshop is student-centered in the sense that individuals' rigorous pursuit of their own ideas is the course content. . . p. 41

Barry Beyer (1971). Inquiry in the Social Studies Classroom
Inquiry is one way of making sense out of what we experience. It requires thinking. . .Inquiry teaching is putting learners into situations in which they must engage in the intellectual operations that constitute inquiry. It requires learners to make their own meaning out of what they experience. Neither inquiry nor inquiry teaching are easy. But they are productive. And fun! p. 6

It is sometimes labeled an approach, sometimes a method, and more frequently a strategy. Terms such as reflective thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, inductive teaching, discovery, and guided discovery are often used to describe it. p. 6

All in all there seems to be little agreement about what inquiry really is. p. 7

Essentially, meaning making is finding out for oneself. This is the goal, and essence, of inquiry. p. 9

. . for such a strategy (inquiry oriented) requires the student to use his mind for something other than a data storage bin. Inquiry learning is essentially a way in which the student finds out for himself. Thus, inquiry teaching is a type of strategy that puts the learner into situations which require him to engage in the same operations he would use if he were trying to find out for himself. In inquiry teaching much more than mere listening is required of the student. Indeed, the student must engage in an active intellectual search -- a search in which he manipulates data gathered from his or others' experiences or observations or reflections in order to make sense out of it, to give it meaning. p. 13

An inquiry teaching strategy, simply put, is one that has students identify a problem for resolution, propose possible solutions, test these possible solutions against the evidence, draw conclusions warranted by the testing, and then, later perhaps, apply these conclusions to new data and generalize. p. 14

Lucy Calkins
...the whole point of doing thematic studies is so that we can finally stop racing between one tiny subject and another. . . One is the misconception that our goal in a theme study is to link together as many disciplines as possible. When this is the goal, the result is often a hodgepodge of vaguely related activities. . . If we really believe that knowledge is integrated, why can't we trust that a deep investigation of one particular topic will lead us naturally across subject divisions? pp. 456-457

What I am saying is that if we want our students to study something in depth, we need to focus on a particular topic. But I'm also saying that researching something 'small' doesn't prevent us from working with the broad concepts of our curriculum. p. 458

. . when we organize our entire curriculum around questions students raise at the start of their inquiry, we forget that until they have immersed themselves in a topic for a while, they don't know the significant questions to ask. . . It takes a lot of knowledge before a person can identify the really interesting, loose ends to pursue, the gaps to fill. p. 459

Ideally in theme studies youngsters are invited to take on an inquiry stance like that of a field scientist, anthropologist, or historian. p. 459

... learning should be purposeful . . . language is used, skills are developed, and information is learned for real purposes. p. 461

But how do we decide which topics will be particularly suited to a theme study? These are some of the questions I consider:

* If I have a curriculum I am expected to follow, which subjects within it . . . might capture the imagination, interest, and energy of my students and of me?
* What resources . . . are available . . . are there experts, sites for field trips, people to interview and survey, things to obseve, brochures, pamphlets, maps, music, newspaper clippings, radio broadcasts, and accessible nonfiction books?
* Within which of these subjects might students be able to conduct hands-on primary research?
* If my students develop an expertise in one or several of these topics, will it have real-world payoffs for them? Will they find themselves understanding current events differently?
* Which of these topics . . . might help my students think critically about the issues of democratic society?
* Of the topics I'm considering, are some more developmentally appropriate for the age groups I teach than others?
* What kinds of final projects and purposes can I imagine the students pursuing? pp. 463-464

Students, from the first, need to gather resources, but they also need to find meaning in those resources. p. 467

The goal is to open up the world to investigation. p. 478

Eleanor Duckworth (May, 1972). The having of wonderful ideas. Harvard Educational Review.
The having of wonderful ideas is what I consider to be the essence of intellectual development. p. 218

Wonderful ideas cannot spring out of nothing. They build on a foundation of other ideas. p. 222-223

Wonderful ideas build on other wonderful ideas. They are not had without content. . .Schools and teachers can provide materials and questions in ways that suggest things to be done with them; and children, in doing, cannot help being inventive.

There are two aspects of providing occasions for wonderful ideas. . . One is being prepared to accept children's ideas. The other is providing a setting which suggests wonderful ideas to children. . p. 224

When children are afforded the occasions to be intellectually creative -- by being offered matter to be concerned about intellectually and by having their ideas accepted -- then not only do they learn about the world, but their general intellectual ability is stumulated as a happy side effect. p. 229

Eleanor Duckworth (1987). Teaching as research. The having of wonderful ideas
I invite them (teachers) to put their efforts into trying to elicit and understand someone else's explanation -- to join me in practicing teaching by listening rather than by explaining. p. 129

The essential element of having the students do the explaining is not the withholding of all the teacher's own thoughts. It is, rather, that the teacher not consider herself or himself the final arbiter of what the learner should think, not the creator of what the learner does think. The important job for the teacher is to keep trying to find out what sense the students are making. p. 133

Knowledge is coming to be understood as a representation of experience that is constructed by the learner using his or her prior schemes and adapting them to subsequent experience. p. 509
Jack Easley (1987). A teacher educator's perspective on students' and teachers' schemes. Thinking: The Second International Conference.
David Hawkins (1974). Messing about in science. The informed vision: Essays on learning and human nature.
. . .there are, as I see it, three major phases of good science teaching; that no teaching is likely to be optimal which does not mix all three. . .

Circle Phase -- Messing About. There is a time, much greater in amount than commonly allowed, which should be devoted to free and unguided exploratory work (call it play if you wish; I call it work). Children are given materials and equipment -- things -- and are allowed to construct, test, probe, and experiment without superimposed questions or instructions.

Triangle Phase -- Multiply Programmed . . . 'Multiply Programmed' material; material that contains written and pictorial guidance of some sort for the student, but which is designed for the greatest possible variety of topics, ordering of topics, etc. so that for almost any given way into a subject that a child may evolve on his own, there is material available that he will recognize as helping him farther along that very way.

When children have no autonomy in learning everyone is likely to be bored.

Square Phase. . . .question and answer, with discussion between children as well. . . It includes lecturing, formal or informal. I think they (theory questions) come (alive) primarily with discussion, argument, the full colloquium of children and teacher.

Vivian Paley (May, 1986). On listening to what the children say. Harvard Educational Review.
I practiced open-ended questions, the kind that seek no specific answers but rather build a chain of ideas without the need for closure. It was not easy. I felt myself always waiting for the right answer -- my answer. p. 123

But the goal is the same, no matter what the age of the students; someone must be there to listen, respond, and add a dab of glue to the important words that burst forth. p. 127

The key is curiosity, and it is curiosity, not answers, that we model. As we seek to learn more about a child, we demonstrate the acts of observing, listening, questioning, and wondering. p. 127

George Polya (June-July 1963). On learning, teaching, and learning teaching. American Mathematical Monthly.
These 'principles of learning' can also be taken for the 'principles of teaching,'. . .

1. Active learning. . . The best way to learn anything is to discover it by yourself. . . What you have been obliged to discover by yourself leaves a path in your mind which you can use again when the need arises.
2. Best Motivation. . . For efficient learning, the learner should be interested in the material to be learnt and find pleasure in the activity of learning.
3, Consecutive Phases. . . Learning begins with action and perception, proceeds from thence to words and concepts, and should end in desirable mental habits. . . Let us distinguish three phases: the phases of exploration, formalization, and assimilation.

A first exploratory phase is closer in action and perception and moves on a more intuive, more heuristic level.
A second formalizing phase ascends to a more conceptual level, introducing terminology, definitions, proofs.
The phase of assimilation comes last: there should be an attempt to perceive the 'inner ground' of things, the material learnt should be mentally digested, absorbed into the system of knowledge, into the whole mental outlook of the learner. p. 607-608

Gordon Wells. Language and the inquiry-oriented curriculum. Curriculum Inquiry.
Meanings are made not found. p. 4

. . . It becomes clear that learning is as much a social as an individual endeavor and that the meanings that are constructed occur, not within, but between individuals. p. 5

But perhaps the most energizing and productive inquiries are those that are motivated by problems that are both practical and intellectual. p. 6

So often, students are presented with questions that their teachers think are important to answer. And, at one level, the teachers may well be right. But that does not make them real questions. What makes a question real is the commitment of the questioner that energizes him or her to persist in efforts to make an answer to it, that he or she finds personally satisfying. p. 7

At the heart of the inquiry-oriented curriculum are the questions that individuals or small groups of students choose to investigate. Helping them to develop questions that are both real, in the sense of being personally significant, and also amenable to investigation in a worthwhile manner with the resouces available, is one of the most challenging aspects of this mode of teaching. p. 9

. . . an inquiry typically consists of three major components: Research, Interpretation, and Presentation p. 9

. . . when the curriculum is approached from the perspective of inquiry, it becomes clear that product and process are interdependent. p. 14

. . . discourse, in both spoken and written modes, has a vital function to perform in inquiry-oriented learning. . . p. 16

. . . the teaching-learning relationship is essentially dialogic. p. 24

Grant Wiggins, (November, 1989). The futility of trying to teach everything of importance. Educational Leadership.
Developing in students a love of discovery. . . should be our aim. To do so, however, teachers and students must have the intellectual freedom to follow the lead of their own questions. p. 44

Our aim should be to develop a thirst for inquiry . . . p. 46

The test for a modern curriculum is whether it enables students, at any level, to see how knowledge grows out of, resolves, and produces questions. p. 46

That goal makes the basic unit of a modern curriculum the question . p. 46

The task is to reorganize curriculums more than add or subtract from them. p. 47

. . . if the students' questions partially determine the direction of the course, it will no longer be possible to write scope and sequence lesson plans in advance. The teacher and the students must have the intellectual freedom to go where essential questions lead. . . p. 47

Samuel Johnson, (1753). The role of the scholar.
It is observed by Bacon, that "reading makes a full man, conversation a ready man, and writing an exact man".

"To read, write, and converse in due proportions is, therefore, the business of a man of letters. For all these there is not often equal opportunity; excellence, therefore, is not often attainable: and most men fail in one or other of the ends proposed, and are full without readiness, or ready without exactness. Some deficiency must be forgiven all, because all are men. It is, however, reasonable to have perfection in our eye; that we may always advance towards it, though we know it can never be reached
Deborah Meier, The Power of Their Ideas, 1995.
All kids are indeed capable of generating powerful ideas; they can rise to the occasion. It turns out that ideas are not luxuries gained at the expense of the 3 R's, but instead enhance them.
John Dewey, 1906
To feel the meaning of what one is doing, and to rejoice in that meaning; to unite in one concurrent fact the unfolding of the inner life and the ordered development of material conditions--that is art.
James Thurber
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
Charles Darwin
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Richard Feynman
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself.
Robert Frost, 1920
Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs Always wrong to the light, so never seeing Deeper down in the well than where the water Gives me back in a shining surface picture Me myself in the summer heaven, godlike, Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs. Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb, I discovered, as I thought, beyond the picture, Through the picture, a something white, uncertain, Something more of the depths--and then I lost it. Water came to rebuke the too clear water. One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple, Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom, Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness? Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.
Rita Edaakie - Senior Mentor and Tradition Bearer at the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center
My grandmother used to say, 'If you ask me things you want to know, I will tell you what you want to know. If you don't ask, I myself just can't come right up and say, okay, I want to tell you this and that.' So that's the reason why when you asked to tell something of what you know, that's the time to relay what you have to tell.
Martin Heidegger -The Question Concerning Technology
Questions are paths toward an answer ...questioning builds a way.
T. S Eliot, "The Dry Salvages"
We had the experience, but missed the meaning, And approach to the meaning restores the experience In a different form...
Rabindra Nath Tagore
A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. The teacher who has come to the end of his subject, who has no living traffic with his knowledge, but merely repeats his lesson to his students can only load their minds. He cannot quicken them. Truth not only must inform, but also must inspire. If the inspiration dies out and the information only accumulates then truth loses its infinity. The greater part of our learning in the schools has been waste, because for most of our teachers their subjects are like dead specimens of once living things, with which they have a learned acquaintance, but no communication of life and love.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables
...all human progress is in a circle; or, to use a more accurate and beautiful figure, in an ascending spiral curve.
Eleanor Roosevelt
I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.
Carl Edward Sagan
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
a Smithsonian Anthropologist in 1905
Very few of us walked a bee line into our present work. We just fell in love with it and by and by the doors opened...
Peter Berger
What is more, I hear myself speak; my own subjective meanings are made objectively and continuously available to me and, ipso facto, become "more real" to me.
Rom Harre
You need an "as if" to look at the world; you need an "as if" to explain the world.
Frank Smith, "Misleading Metaphors of Education," in Joining the Literacy Club (p. 93)
We look through the words and perceive the meaning, just as we look through a window and see the view ... Sometimes a window is opaque. There are blemishes on the surface and we become more aware of the glass than of what we are trying to see. In the same way, individual words may divert our attention as we listen or read, so that awareness of the words comes between us and the meaning. Like poorly constructed glass, inadequate words obscure the scene beyond.
James Carey, Communication as Culture (1995), p. 25
I want to suggest, to play on the Gospel of St. John, that in the beginning was the word; words are not the names for things but, to steal a line from Kenneth Burke, things are the signs of words. Reality is not given, not humanly existent, independent of language and toward which language stands as a pale refraction. I want to suggest, to play on the Gospel of St. John, that in the beginning was the word; words are not the names for things but, to steal a line from Kenneth Burke, things are the signs of words. Reality is not given, not humanly existent, independent of language and toward which language stands as a pale refraction.
George T. Karnezis, Interpretation Theory and the Teaching of Literature, 1980
What you choose to honor in art, what you choose to read and, more importantly, to discuss with others, is a decision about the constituents of your culture and the meanings and images you will seek to share with others.
Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, 1973
One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one.
Vestergaard and Schroder
[T]he really insidious ideological processes are those which treat a phenomenon as so self-evident and natural as to exempt it completely from a critical inspection and to render it inevitable.
Maxine Greene
There is...an implicit encouragement of the tendency to accede to the given, to view what exists around us as an objective "reality," impervious to individual interpretation. Finding it difficult to stand forth from what is officially (or by means of media) defined as real, unable to perceive themselves in interpretive relation to it, the young (like their elders) are all too likely to remain immersed in the taken-for-granted and the everyday. For many this means an unreflectives consumerism; for others, it means a preoccupation with having more rather than being more.
Shoshana Zuboff, In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, 1988
Questions, in a fundamental way, are inimical to authority. The question values change over tradition, doubt over reverence, fact over faith. The question responds to knowledge and creates new knowledge. The question initiates and reflects learning. Yet the question is essential if information is to yield its full value. Obedience will not lead to and does not require a depth of understanding.
Menand, Louis (2001), The Metaphysical Club, p. xi-xii
They [Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey] all believed that ideas are not "out there" waiting to be discovered, but are tools--like forks and knives and microchips--that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves...[the ideas'] survival depends not on their immutability but on their adaptability.
Kong Zi (Confucius)
I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.
Roy Underhill, Khrushchev's Shoe: and Other Ways to Captivate Audiences From One to One Thousand, Perseus Publishing, 2000, pg 36
When you have an audience in close proximity to a resource be sure that you exhaust every direct sensory experience first. ...Let them discover it here. ... Don't substitute symbolic words for the richer experience. Don't tell them about it - let them do it! ...When people have gone to the trouble to bring their bodies to you, you must do everything that you can to take advantage of their physical presence.
Alfred North Whitehead (1943)
A philosopher of imposing stature doesn't think in a vacuum. Even his most abstract ideas are, to some extent, conditioned by what is or is not known in the time when he lives.
John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, 1897
I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. All reforms which rest simply upon the law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile.... But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move.... Education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience.
Mishala al'Ayan
Without knowledge, we live in darkness. Yet pursuit of knowledge is only the first step. Unless we apply and share what we have learned as we journey along the road of life, knowledge is useless and the future is lost.
John Adams, Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.
made up by me, Laura Colt, 10-29-01
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Max Beberman
Math is as creative as music, painting, or sculpture. The high school freshman will revel in it if we let him play with abstractions. But insisting that he pin numbers down is like asking him to catch a butterfly to explain the sheen on its wings - the magical glint of the sun rubs off on his fingers and the fluttering thing in his hands can never lift into the air again to renew his wonder.
George Lucas, from a Q&A with Linda Darling-Hammond
Once you put in project learning, then a lot of other things fall away because it's hard to do project learning without having communication with the students. You can't do it in isolation. And obviously you're not doing things in the abstract - you end up having to work with other students, which is cooperative learning, which promotes emotional intelligence, which is actually much more important in the real world than a high degree of intellectual intelligence because what you're really doing is working with other people.
Will Durant (U.S. teacher and philosopher, 1885-1981)
Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Michael Kimmelman
Museums betray the public and their purpose if they aren't seriously amusing.
Rabindranath Tagore, "Stray Birds"
If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out.
Arthur Bentley, "The Human Skin: Philosophy's Last Line of Defense", (p.204)
To the direct question as to where knowlege is located ... Such possiblities as "in the head," "in the mind," "in the brain," "on the library shelf," "in the absolute," or just "out there" in the facts are all sad answers; you cannot stick to any one of them for more than three sentences without being in trouble.
Dewey, Democracy and Education, 1916; MW 9:179
How one person's abilities compare in quantity with those of another is none of the teacher's business. It is irrelevant to his work. What is required is that every individual shall have opportunities to employ his own powers in activities that have meaning. Mind, individual method, originality (these are convertible terms) signify the quality of purposive or directed action.
Tom Lauer, Perfectionism vs Wholeness, World Tribune, pg 8 February 8, 2002
It is ironic that obsession with perfectionism in education will stifle learning through the abhorrence of mistakes, since the nature of learning requires mistakes by definition. ... Mistakes are means for changing and a compass for productive inquiry.
W. E. B. Du Bois, "The Freedom to Learn," Midwest Journal 2, Winter, 1949
Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for five thousand years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental.
W. E. B. Du Bois, 1957 (read at his funeral in 1963 as his last message to the world)
Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.
W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks, 1903
Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor-all me know something of poverty; not that men are wicked-who is good? Not that men are ignorant-what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.
Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves but in our attitude towards them.
Merissa Pickford 19/4/2002
Sprinkle your dream upon the highest star and wish. For a dream is something that makes the unblievable possible.
Randolph Bourne
If your ideal is to be adjustment to the situation, in radiant co-operation with reality, then your success is likely to be just that and no more...You never transcend anything.
The Rhythm of Education by Alfred North Whitehead
The business of universtiy "is to take the knowledge of a boy and convert it inot the power of a man".
anonymous - edited by Bernhart P. Holst in "Practical Home and School Methods" 1934
The Spirit of Inquiry: The immortal spirit of inquiry -- the basis of every addition to knowledge -- cannot die. It is as irresistible as the onward flow of the tides, or the movement of the stars. The spirit of inquiry and investigation in all ages has dared to explore the wilds of untrodden lands. It has invaded the region of unknown seas, penetrated the crust of the earth and the milky heavens above, and planted imperishable monuments as the result of constant search for knowledge. Seizing the power and speed of steam, it has moved the commerce of the world. It has bridled the lightning and commanded it to bear messages from land to land. It has discovered the secrets which enable man to fly through the air with the precision and the speed of birds. The conquests of this spirit have kindled the fire of intelligence which will burn for ages and centuries. To think and investigate are now considered among the greatest glories of life. He who ascends highest the mountain steeps of thought, or plunges deepest into the ocean of unsolved doubt, is considered a benefactor of mankind. The intellect of the thinker, daring to seize the bolts of thought, is not impaled by a tyrannical Jupiter. Every phase of human economy has been investigated by the spirit of inquiry. This spirit is at the bottom of every progressive movement and is emblazoned on every landmark of civilization. It has supplanted doubt, uncertainty, and superstition by promoting truth, knowledge, and progress. The influence of this spirit has trained the statesman, guided the schoolmaster, and educated the masses. The spirit of inquiry should be made a subject of personal study. Our ability to learn and understand should be limited only by our power to acquire a greater fund of knowledge and skill. To be and to become -- this is the tonic which should quicken the soul each new morning, the sparkling dew which should refresh the feet of those who tread the grassy sward.
Albert Einstein
God doesn't play dice.
Anne Herbert
Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.
Jan Hawkins & Roy Pea, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24(4), 291-307.
One has to live in the culture and be accountable in one's explanations to the normative standards of one's community in order to deeply understand.(p. 299)
Aristotle
If one must philosophize, then one must philosophize; and if one must not philosophize, then one must philosophize; in any case, therefore, one must philosophize. For if one must, then given that Philosophy exists, we are in every way obliged to philosophize. And if one must not, in this case too we are obliged to inquire how it is possible for there to be no philosophy; and in inquiring we philosophize, for inquiry is the cause of Philosophy.
EGOÏSTE (No. 9, September 1984) "An Interview with Richard Avedon", Nicole Wisniak. Reprinted in Black & White (Yale University, Spring 1986), pp. 8, 26 - 31. http://www.richardavedon.com/interviews/interviews.html
The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them are truth.
Pablo Casals, Salute to Life
On my last birthday I was 93 years old. That is not young, of course. But age is a relative matter. If you continue to work and to absorb the beauty in the world around you, you find that age does not necessarily mean getting old. At least, not in the ordinary sense. I feel many things more intensely than ever before, and for me life grows more fascinating. For the past 80 years I have started each day in the same manner... I go to the piano, and I play two preludes and figures of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction on the house. But that is not its only meaning for me. It is rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being. The music is never the same for me, never. Each day is something new, fantastic, and unbelievable. I see no particular merit in the fact that I was an artist at the age of 11. I was born with an ability, with music in me, that is all. No special credit was due me. The only credit we can claim is for the use we make of the talent we are given. That is why I urge young musicians: Don't be vain because you happen to have talent. You are not responsible for that; it was not of your doing. What you do with your talent is what matters. You must cherish this gift. Do not demean or waste what you have been given. Work--work constantly and nourish it. Of course the gift to be cherished most of all is that of life itself. One's work should be a salute to life. Sometimes I look about me with a feeling of complete dismay. In the confusion that affects the world today, I see a disrespect for the very values of life. Beauty is all about us, but how many are blind to it! They look at the wonder of this earth--and seem to see nothing. Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body--what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move!... You have the capacity of anything. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work--we all must work--to make this world worthy of its children.


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