Tag Archives: education

James Mill

The end of Education is to render the individual, as much as possible, an instrument of happiness, first to himself, and next to other beings.

James Mill, ‘Education’, in Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, London, 1825

Samuel Johnson

Sir, it is no matter what you teach [children] first, any more than what leg you shall put into your breeches first. Sir, you may stand disputing which is best to put in first, but in the mean time, your breech is bare. Sir, while you are considering which of two things you should teach your children, another boy has learnt them both.

Samuel Johnson, in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1791, vol. 1, p. 245

Joseph Epstein

After thirty years teaching in a university, I came to have a certain measured suspicion, sometimes edging onto contempt, for what I called (only to myself) “the good student.” This good student always got the highest grades, because he approached all his classes with a single question in mind: “What does this teacher want?” And once the good student decides, he gives it to him—he delivers the goods. The good student is thus able to deliver very different goods to the feminist teacher at 9:00 am, to the Marxist teacher at 10:00 am, to the conservative teacher at 11:00 am, and just after lunch to the teacher who prides himself on being without any ideology or political tendency whatsoever.

Joseph Epstein, ‘A Literary Education’, The New Criterion, vol. 26, no. 10 (June, 2008), p. 11

Albert Einstein

It is […] nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of enquiry; 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.

Albert Einstein, ‘Autobiographical Notes’, in Paul A. Schilpp (ed.), Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Berkeley, 1949, p. 17

Richard Dawkins

We’d be aghast to be told of a Leninist child or a neo-conservative child or a Hayekian monetarist child. So isn’t it a kind of child abuse to speak of a Catholic child or a Protestant child?

Richard Dawkins, ‘The Future Looks Bright’, The Guardian, June 21, 2003

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

El resultado del sistema gubernativo es, pues, exonerar a los pudientes y querientes de costear la educación de sus propios hijos haciendo que las rentas del Estado le economicen su propio dinero, mientras que el pobre que no educa a sus hijos paga por la educación de los hijos de los acomodados.

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, ‘Catedral al norte’, in Educación común, 1869

Yehudi Menuhin

Why is compassion not part of our established curriculum, an inherent part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, exaltation, humility–these are the very foundation of any real civilisation, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every home, in every school.

Yehudi Menuhin, ‘Just for Animals’, in Victoria Moran (ed.), Compassion: The Ultimate Ethic, New York, 1985, p. 200

Juan José Sebreli

El desaprensivo apoyo de Sarmiento a la destrucción de las formas primitivas de comunidad no significaba, sin embargo, como sostienen sus enemigos, una concepción antidemocrática. Podía despreciar a las masas ignaras, pero dedicaba todos sus esfuerzos a educarlas. Su contrapartida era Rosas, quien adulaba a las masas pero cerraba escuelas para mantenerlas en su estado de ignorancia, sumisas y fáciles de manipular.

Juan José Sebreli, Crítica de las ideas políticas argentinas: los orígenes de la crisis, Buenos Aires, 2002, p. 25