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Thoughts on Education

Read the quotations below and think how you would answer the questions.

EDUCATION

“Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” [Lord Brougham: in a speech to the House of Commons, 1828]

Ÿ         Does the sentence suggest that it’s easier to control uneducated masses?

Ÿ         Is it in the interest of those who wield power to keep people ignorant?

Ÿ         Do you think that it’s still possible in the 21st century to doubt the benefits of education?

LEARNING

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.” [Alexander Pope]

Ÿ         How would the meaning of the sentence change if it started with ‘little learning’ instead of ‘a little learning’?

Ÿ         What can be dangerous about ‘a little learning’?

Ÿ         Is ‘a little learning’ better than ignorance?

TEACHING

“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” [Oscar Wilde]

Ÿ         Which things are worth knowing that cannot be taught?

Ÿ         If you were to choose things that you want to know, would they exclude things that you are currently learning?

Ÿ         If certain things cannot be taught, does it mean that they cannot be learned?

INSTRUCTION

“The things which hurt, instruct.” [Benjamin Franklin]

Ÿ         Do we learn better through pain?

Ÿ         If children learn through fun and play, isn’t it proper education?

Ÿ         Is an idea of punishment necessarily connected with instruction?

TEACHERS

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” [Henry Adams]

Ÿ         Doesn’t teachers’ influence stop the moment you leave the classroom?

Ÿ         Have you ever been taught by a teacher whose lessons you will still remember after 10 or even 20 years?

Ÿ         Is the teaching profession considered a ‘vocation’ or a ‘job’?

WISDOM

“The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind, is wisdom.” [T.H. Huxley]

Ÿ         How different is ‘wisdom’ from ‘education’?

Ÿ         Is wisdom connected with technological and scientific progress or compassion and understanding?

Ÿ         Who can be called a wise man?


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