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John Dewey
Quotes about Education

John Dewey:

James Neill
Last updated:
28 Jan 2005

Intellectually, religious emotions are not creative but conservative. They attach themselves readily to the current view of the world and consecrate it.
Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.
Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.
Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.
The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.
It is our American habit if we find the foundations of our educational structure unsatisfactory to add another story or wing. We find it easier to add a new study or course or kind of school than to recognize existing conditions so as to meet the need.
We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique.
The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.
Every serious-minded person knows that a large part of the effort required in moral discipline consists in the courage needed to acknowledge the unpleasant consequences of one's past and present acts.
Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.
There is no discipline in the world so severe as the discipline of experience subjected to the tests of intelligent development and direction.
The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

The most notable distinction between living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by renewal.  A stone when struck resists.  If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is shattered.  While the living thing may easily be crushed by a superior force, it none the less tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its own further existences...  It is the very nature of life to strive to continue in being.  Since this continuance can be secured only by constant renewals, life is a self-renewing process.  What nutrition and reproduction are to physiological life, education is to social life.

Confidence is directness and courage in meeting the facts of life.

To me faith means not worrying.

Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart's desire.

Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.

By reading the characteristic features of any man's castles in the air you can make a shrewd guess as to his underlying desires which are frustrated.

Complete adaptation to environment means death. The essential point in all response is the desire to control environment.

Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and
memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like
passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving. Not that it always
effects this result; but that conflict is a 'sine qua non' of
reflection and ingenuity.
- "Morals Are Human," Dewey: Middle Works, Vol.14, p. 207
   also see DEWEY-L archive posting by Richard Hake (2005)

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

Genuine ignorance is profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.

Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.

We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.

Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender their logical basis.

No man's credit is as good as his money.

One lives with so many bad deeds on one's conscience and some good intentions in one's heart.

Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.

Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situations of experience its own full and unique meaning.

There is more than a verbal tie between the words common, community, and communication... Try the experiment of communicating, with fullness and accuracy, some experience to another, especially if it be somewhat complicated, and you will find your own attitude toward your experience changing.

To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.

Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live.

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