Carl R. Rogers

Epitaph on a Syndic
"No teacher I of boys or small fry,
No teacher I of teachers, no, not I.
Mine was the distant aim, the longer reach,
To teach men how to teach men how to teach."
A. B. Ramsay

The Archaic Authoritarian Method of Teaching.

"What avail is it to win prescribed amounts of information about geography and history, to win ability to read and write, if in the process the individual loses his own soul; loses his appreciation of things worth while, of the values to which these are relative; if he loses his desire to apply what he has learned, and, above all loses the ability to extract meaning from his future experiences as they occur?"
John Dewey

The worst principle of authoritarian and extreme right wing  teaching. This is quoted from the recollections of Michael Merzenich who remembered a conversation between his mother and his mother's first cousin who was a grade school teacher in Wisconsin. "What are your most important principles in teaching", the mother asked and was answered, "Well you test them when they come into school, and you figure out whether they are worthwhile. And if they are worthwhile, you really pay attention to them, and you don't waste time on the ones that aren't." While very few teachers would be willing to admit to this out loud, I think many teachers subscribe to this secretly and some perhaps subconsciously.

Assumptions implicit in authoritarian teaching. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers had a lot to say about the authoritarian method of teaching. Although writing about the graduate education of psychologists, most of the fallacious assumptions he identified as being at the heart of psychologist's graduate education are actually applicable to all situations of authoritarian teaching whether kindergarten, grade school, high school or graduate school. These assumptions outlined below are clearly destructive and stifling to real learning.

  1. "The Student cannot be trusted to pursue his own scientific and professional learning."

  2. "Ability to pass examinations is the best criterion for student selection and for judging professional promise."

  3. "Evaluation is education; education is evaluation."

  4. "Presentation equals learning: What is presented in a lecture is what a student learns."

  5. "Knowledge is the accumulation of brick upon brick of content and information."

  6. "The truths of psychology [any subject?] are known."

  7. "Method is science."

  8. "Creative scientists develop from passive learners."

  9. "'Weeding out' a majority of the students is a satisfactory method of producing scientists and clinicians." [educated people?]

  10. "Students are best regarded as manipulable objects, not as persons."

  1. If students cannot be trusted to pursue their own learning, we are forced to decide for them what they should learn. We are forced to make the choices that they should be making about their lives, and by doing so, we are preventing them from having any practice in deciding for themselves. Yet we expect them to start making those decisions, when they enter the word of work and vocation, without previous practice.

  2. If the ability to pass examinations is the best criterion for judging professional promise we should expect that those people who do well at school are the ones that succeed in life. No matter how you might judge success, be it power, wealth, job satisfaction, lifestyle satisfaction, health, or happiness, the people who succeed in life, are not those who pass the examinations and get the degrees. This happens despite the fact that people who are successful at school go into the world of vocation with everything in their favor.

  3. Lets face it, evaluation by others has nothing to do with learning in the sense that learning implys understanding. Unfortunately however evaluation is one of the ways in which memorized information is revisited and thus it enables learned material to be recalled. In this way it can improve our ability to recall already learned material. Learning is attempting to understand reality. Evaluating is attempting to determine if somebody's understanding of reality is in accordance with what is currently socially acceptable. Although evaluation can improve the memory of already learned material it also has many harmful effects. Large numbers of tests and exams have been shown to seriously discourage students, lower their self esteem and erode their self belief. This has to be weighed against any advantage that accrue from improving the memory of already learned information. We should be trying do away with exams or at least make them less debilitating by not grading them. Exams could be an aid to memorizing if they simply provided feedback about how well we remembered the information to answer the questions in the exam. The grading, which is the harmful element in tests, can easily be be removed from most testing where it is completely unnecessary. Yet exams are not getting less but are rather getting more. How many exams do they want? Every year is not enough, nor every month. Now we have exams every week or every day. Maybe soon it will be every hour. How can students be interested in what they are doing while this sword of Damocles hangs suspended above their heads, ready to fall at any moment. The only important evaluation in learning is self evaluation and even that is not absolutely essential to learning.

  4. Some people say that in order to enable people to learn, all we have to do, is present in a lecture form the data to be learned. However did we arrive at this strange idea? This does not take into account the student's interest or how the data connects with the data already in the student's mind. This idea just does not make sense. If it was true, all that would be needed to learn anything, would be to listen to it being read, or to read it. But the fact is, if something does not make sense or is boring, our minds simply shut off and do not take in the data or discard it immediately. In authoritarian schools students minds are in this shut down state most of the time.

  5. Knowledge is not fact and not fixed. Knowledge is theories and those theories are in a continual state of change. Knowledge cannot be accumulated brick upon brick of content and information, because the bricks are changing and will continue to change even as we are cementing them into place. This the old myth that there is fundamental or basic information that needs to be learned in any subject. The fact that there is no fundamental knowledge is much more obvious in psychology than say physics or mathematics. However all subjects change all the time, and even as students are learning it, it is already wrong or incomplete and certainly not basic.

  6. Those who subscribe to the authoritarian method of teaching, hold if not consciously then unconsciously that the truth is known about their subject. At some level however, we all understand that the only truths that can be known, are those we define as being true and those truths derived from other truths through deduction. Thus in mathematics it is true that 1+1=2. This is true because we define it as being true. From this we can derive, deduce, that 2-1=1. These things are true. History is not true. Science is not true. Geography is not true. English is not true. All these subjects involve theories or current conventions. We are fairly sure that there has been a true history, but we have only theories as to what that history was. It is based on things people in the past have written down and found relics. Nobody is sure. Different historians give different views, and our current beliefs about history are merely the current consensus among historians or the conventions of a particular society or country.

  7. There is a strange belief among authoritarian teachers that if students know and can execute a method, they are doing good science. This idea is quite common. These teachers believe that if experimental procedure is exacting then the student is doing good scientific work. The fact that, what the student is checking, may be unimportant or useless, does not seem to register with them. Much research and experiment therefore ends up being mind numbingly boring and useless. The research design is meticulous, but it is probing questions that are not worth asking.

  8. At some level, we cannot help but understand, that creative people do not develop from passive learners. Yet most authoritarian teaching requires complete passivity on the part of the students. Creativity is a skill, a habit, and a way of life. As such it needs to be practiced, and people in a passive state cannot be practicing anything. Like a limb that is not used, creativity withers and becomes useless. Added to this, authoritarian teachers tend to be dismissive of the importance of problem solving, and tend to ridicule wild or silly ideas. Also, in order to maintain passivity, they may even discourage curiosity as being distracting from what they want the student to absorb. Perhaps the leaders of society really do not want creative people. But this would be crazy, as our survival as a species will rely on the many critical problems facing us, being solved creatively.

  9. There is something dangerously wrong with a system that produces only a tiny number of successes. The idea that the weak, the lesser intelligent, and the non conformists have to be weeded out in order to uncover those who have any promise, is an elitist idea worthy of any totalitarian state. As Carl Rogers has pointed out this weeding out seems to be a scandalous waste of manpower, and of human potential. It is a waste in that, schools and colleges are still the major repositories of knowledge in our societies (though the internet may change this eventually). Schools are places which we can only have access to, if we are willing to, and able to, pass their tests and examinations. The idea that every human being has the right to, (and that society might well need them to) learn to the full extent to which they are capable of learning, seems to be held as a very dangerous idea. Advocates of authoritarian teaching would probably point out that there are not enough colleges and universities for all students to attend and that some just logically must be weeded out. This is currently true but not inevitable. The truth is, that there should be enough colleges to accommodate any who might wish to enroll in them. If the schools are failing in their ability to enable universal learning then perhaps more schools need to be built.

  10. To be treated as an object to be manipulated, is one of the most horrible things that human beings can do to one another. Adults bristle and become furious if they are objectified, yet they seem to see the objectification of children as normal. If you, in your life, are treated mostly as an object to be manipulated, should we then be amazed that you in turn, treat others mostly as objects to manipulate and not as persons? Our inability to relate to others as persons, and our destructive tendency to try to manipulate others to get our way, are directly traceable to our education. Humanity has placed itself in a loop that continues to produce people who manipulate others and treat them as little more that dolls to manipulate. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl Rogers even suggests this objectification may sometimes involve a double bind as follows:

    "In some instances faculty members put the student in a real 'double bind' situation by giving him a contradictory message. It is as if the faculty member said: 'I welcome you to a warm and close interpersonal relationship - and when you come close I will clobber you with my evaluation.' The analogy to the parents of schizophrenics is painfully clear."

  11. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl Rogers missed out one important assumption that is well embedded in authoritarian teaching. That assumption is that all students should go to colleges and those who have failed to obtain a degree from a college have seriously failed in society and are its rejects. So not only do some learners have to be weeded out but, they are expected to feel like failures because of it, and that everyone else feels they are failures also. In "Learning for Tomorrow" Harold G. Shane and June Grant Shane had this to say about it:

    "The belief that almost all youth should go to colleges as they are now constituted is one of the most indefensible and dangerous of the tactic assumptions made by teachers, parents, and their children... Beginning with children of elementary-school age, we need to point out that there are numerous valuable, important, dignified ways in which everyone can serve humanity, and that most of them do not require a liberal arts degree. Until this point is put across with conviction, millions of children of twelve or younger will continue to feel that they are failures if they do not contemplate attending a college."

    "Not only must we de-intensify the anachronistic campaign to persuade most children and youth to attend college, we must create even for quite young children, learning atmospheres that are wholesome and hopeful, infused with the idea that each individual learner - and our entire species as well - have many desirable choices open to us, and that, with rational planning, there will be a rewarding role for each child to fill."

    Think about this: Society not only tries to instill in us the absolute essentiality of going to a college, but it then turns round and does not provide us with enough colleges for us to go to..

The Empty Glass Student. The authoritarian method requires passivity on the part of the student. The teacher is active and the student is passive. It embodies the analogy of the student as a glass to be filled and the teacher as a jug full of knowledge to be poured into the student.

The authoritarian teacher needs no humanity. The job of storing and dumping unconnected
facts is well known to be more efficiently performed by machines, by robots.

The passive student does not think or choose or question, he is entirely receptive.
The information is dumped into his head, but has no meaning or connection with reality.

"That's the reason they're called lessons," the Gryphon remarked: "because they lessen from day to day." - Lewis Carrol [Lessen in use, lessen in value, lessen the teacher and lessen the student.]

Force-feeding. Central to the authoritarian method of teaching is trying to cram information in the form of separate facts in an unbroken stream instead of allowing the minds of students to digest the information. This is passive learning at the extreme. Real learning requires that our brains interact with information making as many connections or association in order to produce meaning in the information. This is a situation where learners not only need to actively seek information but also have breaks when the information can be assembled into something understandable as a whole. In his book "Brain Rules" John Medina painfully illustrates this idea with the following analogy of pâté de foie gras.

"Our need for timed interruptions reminds me of a film called Mondo Cane, which holds the distinction of being the worst movie my parents reported ever seeing. Their sole reason for hating this movie was one disturbing scene: farmers force-feeding geese to make pâté de foie gras. Using fairly vigorous strokes with a pole, farmers literally stuffed food down the throats of these poor animals. When a goose wanted to regurgitate, a brass ring was fastened around its throat, trapping the food inside the digestive tract. Jammed over and over again, such nutrient oversupply eventually created a stuffed liver, pleasing to chefs around the world. Of course it did nothing for the nourishment of the geese, who were sacrificed in the name of expediency.

My mother would often relate this story to me when she talked about being a good or bad teacher. 'Most teachers overstuff their students,' she would exclaim, 'like those farmers in that awful movie!' When I went to college, I soon discovered what she meant. And now that I am a professor who has worked closely with the business community, I can see the habit close up. The most common communication mistakes? Relating too much information, with not enough time to connect the dots. Lots of force-feeding, very little digestion. This does nothing for the nourishment of the listeners, whose learning is often sacrificed in the name of expediency."  

The Passive Learner. Passivity and submission to power is like an addictive drug. Yet in our schools students are trained to submit and be passive again and again. By submitting to external power, be it societal or interpersonal, man forgoes the right to be a creative participant on his own terms. In his book "Man for Himself" Erich Fromm spells out this addiction as follows:

"The paralyzing effect of power does not rely only upon the fear it arouses, but equally on an implicit promise - the promise that those in possession of power can protect and take care of the 'weak' who submit to it, that they can free man from the burden of uncertainty and of responsibility for himself by guaranteeing order and assigning the individual a place in this order which makes him feel secure. Man's submission to this combination of threat and promise is his real 'fall.' By submitting to power = domination he loses his power = potency. He loses his power to make use of all those capacities which make him truly human; his reason ceases to operate; he may be intelligent, he may be capable of manipulating things and himself, but he accepts as truth that which those who have the power over him call the truth. He loses his power of love, for his emotions are tied [in a symbiotic relationship] to those upon whom he depends. He loses his moral sense, for his inability to question and criticize those in power stultifies his moral judgment with regard to anybody and anything. ...Indeed freedom is the necessary condition of happiness as well as of virtue; freedom, not in the sense of the ability to make arbitrary choices and not freedom from necessity, but freedom to realize that which one potentially is, to fulfill the true nature of man according to the laws of his existence."

The most socially crippling dangers of authoritarianism in the classroom have been clearly stated by Bertrand Russel in his "Selected Papers of Bertrand Russel" as follows:

"Passive acceptance of the teacher's wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than the pupils. ...Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes men to seek a leader, and to accept as leader, whoever is established in that position. It makes the power ... by which plain men are misled into accepting old systems which are harmful to themselves."

Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said the following:

"Our chief want in life is someone who will make us do what we can."

This is very true and seems truer every day. But it is a sad indictment of our society and the educational institutions that usher it in. For, yes, we all want to do the things we can and do them well. We all want to accomplish something, but why is it that we should need someone to make us do it? Why do people seem unable to initiate action in themselves? Why do we not do things, to please ourselves and for our own gratification? Why?... because we have been made passive by our education.

Passivity in school becomes passivity in life and vice versa. This passivity, that we become accustomed to at school, sets us up for a passive life. Such passive mediums as radio, TV and movies seemed to come along at just the right time. The experience of forced passivity in schools prepared the young people coming out of them to just sit there and take in whatever the medium dished out. Likewise the kids brought up by radio and TV were much more accepting of an educational system that asked them to just sit there while bits of unconnected data was poured into their heads.

The fact is we really need a different word for the activity that will be talked about next as the word teach or teaching has become so mired with destructive meaning and connotations. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said it as well as anybody could:

"I wish to begin... with a statement which may seem surprising to some and perhaps offensive to others. It is simply this. Teaching, in my estimation, is a vastly over-rated function.

Having made such a statement, I scurry to the dictionary to see if I really mean what I say. Teaching means 'to instruct.' Personally I am not much interested instructing another in what he should know or think. 'To impart knowledge or a skill.' My reaction is, why not be more efficient, using a book or programmed learning? 'To make to know.' Here my hackles rise. I have no wish to make anyone know something. 'To show, guide, direct.' As I see it, too many people have been shown, guided, directed. So I come to the conclusion that I do mean what I said. Teaching is for me a relatively unimportant and vastly overvalued activity."

The Enlightened Facilitation Method of Teaching.

"The teacher must derive not only the capacity, but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. In our system, she must become a passive, much more than an active, influence, and her passivity shall be composed of anxious scientific curiosity and of absolute respect for the phenomenon which she wishes to observe. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon." Maria Montessori

"We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit." Robert H. Shaffer

"When teaching, light a fire, don't fill a bucket." Dan Snow

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

Assumptions Implicit in Facilitation. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers also outlined some assumptions behind facilitation. Below is an extended and amended list of the assumptions which promote real or significant learning and the growth of better or superior people.

  1. Human beings have a natural need for learning. They are curious about their world, until and unless this curiosity is blunted by the educational system. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "This potentiality and desire for learning, for discovery, for enlargement of knowledge and experience, can be released under suitable conditions. It is a tendency which can be trusted, and the whole approach to education which we have been describing builds upon and around the student's natural desire to learn."

  2. Evaluation and judgment is almost always perceived as a threat. As learning already involves fear and distress due to the giving up of previous learnings, of changing one's view of the world and restructuring one's model of reality, added threats such as evaluation can easily tip the scales making learning so frightening, that the natural need to lean is overcome and crushed. Facilitation releases student from the fear and humiliation of evaluation by others by being based on student self evaluation. Criticism of ideas by others can still be accomplished under facilitation if approached in a non threatening and constructive manner.

  3. Real learning only takes place when learners are interested, when the subject matter has meaning for learners and is perceived by learners as having relevance to his own purposes. It is interest, meaning and relevance that decide if learning shall take place at all. But it can also be shown that the degree to which interest, meaning and relevance are evident, increases the depth and breadth of learning, its retention, its accuracy and the speed at which it is learned.

  4. True facilitation of learning, without pressure or threat promotes and escalates, both the desire for knowledge and the habit of lifelong learning. It does this, by reaffirming that learning is a joyous and sometimes ecstatic experience. All children know this when they are young but so many have this understanding erased under pressure from parents and especially through unpleasant associations with learning such as fear and humiliation gained at schools. Part of facilitation is to restore this joy in learning to the learners.

  5. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "Learning which involves change in self organization - in the perception of oneself - is threatening and tends to be resisted." The type of person that we are, depends on our beliefs and values and our understanding of how we fit into the world of our model of reality. This core of our map of reality, not only tries to maintain itself but will react violently if we feel threatened in this area. Teachers often feel threatened in this way when students do not conform to their standards and values. Teachers should of course, not react this way, but rather find ways to coexist which students who hold different values.

  6. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said that there are: "... learnings which are threatening to the self are more easily perceived and assimilated when external threats are at a minimum. The boy who is retarded in reading already feels threatened and inadequate because of this deficiency. When he is forced to attempt to read aloud in front of the group, when he is ridiculed for his efforts, when his grades are a vivid reflection of his failure, it is no surprise that he may go through several years of school with no perceptible increase in reading ability. On the other hand, a supportive, understanding environment and a lack of grades, or an encouragement of self evaluation, remove the external threats and permit him to make progress because he is no longer paralyzed by fear."

  7. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "When threat to the self is low, experience can be perceived in differentiated fashion and learning can proceed. In a sense this only an extension of, or an explanation of the preceding principle. The poor reader is a good illustration of what is involved in this principle. When he is called upon to recite in class the internal panic takes over and the words on the page become less intelligible symbols than when he was sitting in his seat before he was called upon. When he is in an environment in which he is assured of personal security and when he becomes convinced that there is no threat to his ego, he is once more free to perceive the symbols on the page in a differentiated fashion."

  8. Our site's position is that questions are more important than facts or even theories. Only in this way can we avoid the dangerous pitfall of thinking we have the final answer or the truth. For everything changes and what was held as being true yesterday must be discarded or revised tomorrow. In learning we seek to know the truth, but we can never know it. All we can do is approach that truth. As Zeno said: "For even if by chance he were to utter the final truth, he would himself not know it: For all is but a woven web of guesses."

  9. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "Much significant learning is acquired through doing." Doing whether it is physical or mental is always active and not passive and ensures that the student is to some extent initiating his own activity. Things to do can of course be set by a teacher, but even in this form more learning is accomplished than if the student had no involvement in the learning and was completely passively absorbing data.

  10. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "Self-initiated learning which involves the whole person of the learner - feelings as well as intellect - is the most lasting and pervasive." This is just obvious, in that the incorporation of feelings, and awareness of them provides more and stronger connections to whatever is being learned. It is these connections, that hook new learned material into our map or model of reality. It is pervasive because it is connected to more areas in our map of reality, and it is more lasting because it may be reached starting at a lot of different places and tracing the connections back to it.

  11. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process. When he chooses his own directions, helps to discover his own learning resources, formulates his own problems, decides his own course of action, lives with the consequences of each of those choices, then significant learning is maximized." For it is usually only when we make our own choices that learning has personal meaning and relevance and thus is real to us.

  12. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "Independence, creativity and self-reliance are all facilitated when self-criticism and self-evaluation are basic and evaluation by others is of secondary importance." In other words we cannot become independent, self-reliant, or creative without practicing those things, and we cannot practice those things without becoming our own judge of our own skills and accomplishments.

  13. In his book "Freedom to Learn" Carl R. Rogers said: "The most socially useful learning in the modern world is the learning of the process of learning, a continuing openness to experience and the incorporation into oneself of the process of change." Facilitation encourages non closure and the continuing of being open to new ideas and change. This continuing quest, must in the end, discard fact and even theory in favor of learning how to find those facts and theories when you want them. Learning the process of learning is ultimately the only essential learning.

The Student Sponge. The Facilitation method requires activity on the part of the student. The teacher is not entirely passive but rather waits for an invitation for activity. It embodies the analogy of the student as a sponge to soak up knowledge and the teacher as facilitator to help locate where various jugs of knowledge may be found.

Memorizing & Learning. Elsewhere in this site it was shown how knowledge, or information in messages, could be made more memorable, or as we put it, sticky. Memory however, of what the teacher wants the student to learn, is not, and cannot be the ultimate goal of learning. This is so, for two very important reasons. Firstly, the teacher, the school, the educational institution, should have no right to decide what the learner should learn. It can be shown that what they decide is almost never useful and always out of date. Secondly, what we are taught to memorize are facts and theories, and this does not give us the exercise our minds need in solving problems, investigating and inventing. It is all about passively absorbing, and not about actively learning.

The Active Learner. Activity is interesting, contagious and enjoyable but not usually addictive. It allows learners to be independent, autonomous and self directing. It encourages thought, criticism and speculation. It allows learners to become what they can become.

These ideas imply that learning can only be accomplished through learner interest, and through connecting ideas with reality and thus with their use. The importance of learner interest and meaningfulness is supported by recent findings from the world of neuroscience. Alternatively the thinking that learning can be accomplished through coercion seems irrational, despite it being so far much the preferred method. Many people have much to say about this, not the least of whom is John Amos Comenius, a 17th century Czech religious leader who had great understanding of teaching and learning in this early period. His criticism and suggestions are as relevant today as they were in his own time. He said:

"Let the main object of this our Didactic, be as follows: To seek and to find a method of instruction, by which teachers may teach less, but learners learn more; by which schools may be the scene of less noise aversion, and useless labor, but more leisure, enjoyment, and solid progress..."

Professor David Hawkins, in his article "What it Means to Teach" brings the relationship of student and teacher into sharp focus as follows:

"I should like to begin by observing that the teacher-learner relationship is at least as old as our human species, and that its formal institutional framework, though much more recent in origin, is only a stylized and often stilted version of something which goes on all the time among us, especially between the older and the younger. I want to underline the antiquity of this honorable relationship if only to remind you of the obvious, that it is a key link in the chain of human history and culture, and that without it we would perish immediately. Also to remind you that it is not something on which anyone has a patent.

...A reasonable general account of the relationship is therefore, that the teacher is one who acquires authority through a compact of trust, in which the teacher seeks to extend the powers of the learner and promises to abridge them only transiently and to the end of extending them. The teacher offers the learner some kind of loan of himself or herself, some kind of auxiliary equipment which will enable the learner to make transitions and consolidations he could not otherwise have made. And if this equipment is of the kind to be itself internalized, the learner not only learns, but begins the process to be his own teacher - and that is how the loan is repaid..."
John Holt in "How Children Learn" said:

"The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, do what he can see other people doing. He is open, receptive and perceptive. ...What is essential is that children learn independently not in bunches; that they can learn out of interest and curiosity, not to please or appease the adults in power; and that they ought to be in control of their own learning, deciding for themselves what they want to learn and how they want to learn..."

In his book "Instead of Education" John Holt explains it like this.

"No one can act or learn for another. The doer must do the work himself. The task, the choice, the purpose must be his."

"And so it must always be the first and central task of any teacher to help the student to become independent of him, to learn to be his own teacher. The true teacher must always be trying to work himself out of a job."

"If the student can't hurt himself doing the harder task, let him try it if he wants. The most valuable and indeed essential asset the student brings to any learning task is a willingness to adventure, to take risks. Without that, he can't learn anything. The teacher must not kill this spirit, but honor and strengthen it. Thus, one of the stupidest things the Schools do is insist that children 'comprehend' everything they read, and read only what the comprehend. People who read well do not learn to read this way. They learn by plunging into books that are 'too hard' for them, enjoying what they can understand, wondering and guessing about what they do not, and not worrying when they cannot find an answer."

"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think." Socrates

"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." Oscar Wild

"The most important outcome of education is to help students become independent of formal education." Paul E. Gray

Perhaps the last word on teaching rightly belongs the poetic vision of Kahlil Gibran in "The Prophet" which follows.

Needs Interest Method Reality Keys How to Help Creative Genius Future What is Wrong Theories Plus
School Paradox Fear & Coercion Punishment Reward Discipline Work & Play The Rat Race Child Rights