Thursday, February 5, 2015
Ten Great Quotations On Education, Part 1
TEN GREAT QUOTATIONS ON EDUCATION
This issue of “Living Philosophies” contains ten inspiring and thought provoking quotations about education and learning. I am interested in your reactions to them, either individually or collectively. Please let me hear from you. If you have others worth sharing, please send them along too.
(1) INCENDIARY CAPACITY IN EVERY TEACHER, INFLAMMABILITY IN EVERY STUDENT
No one can say what or when it will be, or that it will have happened with any clarity by graduation day (it often doesn’t); yet the true college is based on the faith that there is an incendiary capacity in every teacher and an inflammability in ever student.
Andrew Delbanco, “Education is Not a Matter of Coercion or Persuasion, but Invitation,” commencement address at Marlboro College, 18 May 2014. In Vital Speeches of the Day, 80, No. 8 (August 2014), p. 259.
(2) EDUCATING A WHOLE RACE FOLLOWING THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION
This experience of a whole race beginning to go to school for the first time, presents one of the most interesting studies that has ever occurred in connection with the development of any race. Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education. As I have stated, it was a whole race trying to go to school. Few were too young, and none too old, to make the attempt to learn. As fast as any kind of teachers could be secured, not only were day-schools filled, but night-schools as well. The great ambition of the older people was to try to learn to read the Bible before they died. With this end in view, men and women who were fifty or seventy-five years old would often be found in the night-school. Sunday-schools were formed soon after freedom, but the principle book studied in the Sunday-school was the spelling-book. Day-school, night-school, Sunday-school, were always crowded, and often many had to be turned away for want of room.
Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, (New York: Bantam Pathfinder Editions, 1963), pp. 20-21.
(3) DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEARNING TO LIVE AND LEARNING TO MAKE A LIVING
When I was in school we were graded on memorization and on whether we had gotten the feel of a poem. At Vanderbilt in the freshman English course, I had to memorize at least 500 lines a term. Today, young people aren't obliged to do that. When I taught at Yale I would often ask students in a seminar which of them could quote a poem all the way through. Only once did I ever get a person who could do so. Modern youngsters never have a chance to learn anything about poetry. It's the practicality of a world in which education no longer teaches you how to live, just how to learn to make a living. A whole side of the self is gone.
Robert Penn Warren, Reader's Digest, (January 1988), p. 177.
(4) SAMUEL JOHNSON'S PRAYER UPON ENTERING LAW SCHOOL IN 1765
Almighty God, the Giver of wisdom, without whose help resolutions are vain, without whose blessings study is ineffectual, enable me, if it be Thy will, to attain such knowledge as may qualify me to direct the doubtful and instruct the ignorant: to prevent wrong and terminate contentions; and grant that I may use that knowledge which I shall attain to Thy glory and my own salvation; for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Samuel Johnson, cited in, F. Burton Howard, "Keeper of the Flame," address of 22 October 1993, in Clark Memorandum, (Fall 1994), p. 26.
(5) THE OBJECT OF TRUE EDUCATION IS TO LEARN TO LOVE THE HIGH AND NOBLE
The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right thing, but enjoy the right things; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.
John Ruskin, in B. C. Forbes, The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, (New York: Forbes, Inc., 1976), p. 143.
(6) LIVINGSTONE’S SELF-EDUCATION
At the age of ten Livingstone was sent to work in a cotton-factory near Glasgow as a " piecer." With part of his first week's wages he bought a Latin grammar, and began to learn that language, pursuing the study for years at a night-school. He would sit up conning his lessons till twelve or later, when not sent to bed by his mother, for he had to be up and at work in the factory every morning by six. In this way he plodded through Virgil and Horace, also reading extensively all books, excepting novels, that came in his way, but more especially scientific works and books of travels. He occupied his spare hours, which were but few, in the pursuit of botany, scouring the neighborhood to collect plants. He even carried on his reading amidst the roar of the factory machinery, so placing the book upon the spinning-jenny which he worked that he could catch sentence after sentence as he passed it. In this way the persevering youth acquired much useful knowledge; and as he grew older, the desire possessed him of becoming a missionary to the heathen. With this object he set himself to obtain a medical education, in order the better to be qualified for the work. He accordingly economized his earnings, and saved as much money as enabled him to support himself while attending the Medical and Greek classes, as well as the Divinity Lectures, at Glasgow, for several winters, working as a cotton-spinner during the remainder of each year. He thus supported himself, during his college career, entirely by his own earnings as a factory workman, never having received a farthing of help from any source- "Looking back now," he honestly says, "at that life of toil, I can not but feel thankful that it formed such a material part of my early education; and, were it possible, I should like to begin life over again in the same lowly style, and to pass through the same hardy training."
Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts that Make Them, (Chicago: U. S. Publishing House, 1898), pp. 286-287.
(7) EDUCATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER
Education does not develop your character, until it merges with integrity and wisdom.... The future of our nation will be affected by our education, our wealth, and our technology, but our survival as a free society will be determined by our wisdom, our integrity, and our character.
Sam Nun, in Jan Price, Graduation Moments: Wisdom and Inspiration from the Best Commencement Speakers Ever, (Tulsa, OK: Honor Books, 2004), p. 49.
(8) HAS ROUGH TUTELAGE RIPENED YOU INTO SOME READINESS TO KNOW GREAT MEN
Will you sit down with me? Perhaps you are a college graduate, and are ready, then to begin your education [by reading the 100 best books for an education]. Perhaps you have never had a chance to go to college, and have never considered what else our children learn there except the latest morals. They might learn many fine things if they came to it old enough, but our youngsters take so long to grow up in these complex days that they are too immature, when they enter college, to absorb or understand the treasures offered them there so lavishly. If you have studied with life rather than with courses, it may be as well; the rough tutelage of reality has ripened you into some readiness to know great men. Here at this spacious table you will prepare yourself for membership in the International of the Mind; you will be friends with Plato and Leonardo, with Bacon and Montaigne; and when you have passed through that goodly company you will be fit for the fellowship of the fines leaders of your time and place.
Will Durant, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), p. 65.
(9) TIME THE WORLD THINKS BIGGER
Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child.
Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.
Malala Yousafzai, “We Ask the World to Unite and Make Education a Top Priority,” address in Oslo, Norway as 17-year-old co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2014, in Vital Speeches of the Day, 81, no. 2 (February 2015): 38.
(10) TEXAS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE ON AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY
"It is an axiom in political science that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty or the capacity of self-government," stated the Texas Declaration of Independence. That axiom still holds, and the well-springs of education and enlightenment are still in pages of print.
“The Reason for Reading,” Royal Bank Letter, 67, no. 3 (May/June 1986), p. 3.
Let's think together again, soon.