Quotes On Academia To Start A Class Discussion

Quotes On Academia To Start A Class Discussion

Greetings! If read in sequence the following quotes are generally arranged to be a conversation across the ages on a topic. Use for your syllabi, your exams, to start a class discussion, or to enliven your day.

The Nature of Education

Edith Hamilton

To be able to be caught up into the world of thought–that is being educated.

Robert Frost

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper.

Helen Keller

The highest result of education is tolerance.

Georg Hegel, 1821

Education is the art of making man ethical.

John Dewey

Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the aim of living.

John Dewey

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

James Mason Wood

Education today, more than ever before, must see clearly the dual objectives: Education for living and educating for making a living.

  1. Scott Fitzgerald

What we must decide is perhaps how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

Friedrich Schlegel, 1798

Every uneducated person is a caricature of himself.

Joseph Addison, 1711

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul.

Vachel Lindsay

How can we help students to understand that the tragedy of life is not death; the tragedy is to die with commitments undefined and convictions undeclared and service unfulfilled?

John Lennon (1940-1980)

Life is what happens when you are making other plans.


The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Berenson Bernard

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.


We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

Will Durant

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.


The Relationship between Teaching & Learning


While we teach, we learn.

Oscar Wilde

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

Japanese Proverb

To teach is to learn.


Teaching is the highest form of understanding.

Elbert Hubbard in biographical sketch of Friedrich Froebel

The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is a learner.

Soren Kierkegaard

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student.


On Being a Teacher

Albert Einstein

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.

Stephen Brookfield

We teach what we like to learn and the reason many people go into teaching is vicariously to reexperience the primary joy experienced the first time they learned something they loved.

H.L. Mencken

It is the mission of the pedagogue, not to make his pupils think, but to make them think right, and the more nearly his own mind pulsates with the great ebbs and flows of popular delusion and emotion, the more admirably he performs his function. He may be an ass, but that is surely no demerit in a man paid to make asses of his customers.

Stephen Brookfield

The best learners…often make the worst teachers. They are, in a very real sense, perceptually challenged. They cannot imagine what it must be like to struggle to learn something that comes so naturally to them.

John Roueche

Teachers who cannot keep students involved and excited for several hours in the classroom should not be there.

Bertrand Russell

No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he himself believes to be of value.

Frank Smith

The teachers who get “burned out” are not the ones who are constantly learning, which can be exhilirating, but those who feel they must stay in control and ahead of the students at all times.

Donald D. Quinn

If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.


The Art of Teaching

Linda Conway

It’s not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.


A mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled.

Alexander Pope

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown proposed as things forgot.

John Trimble

Laurence Houseman once said, “A saint is one who makes goodness attractive.” Surely, a great teacher does the same thing for education.

Pat Cross

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: It is in making winners out of ordinary people.

W.S. Gilbert

When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.

George Savile

The vanity of teaching often tempteth a man to forget he is a blockhead.


The Process of Teaching

  1. Dee Fink

Teaching = helping someone else learn.

  1. McKeachie

Professors known as outstanding lecturers do two things; they use a simple plan and many examples.

Frank Smith

Thought flows in terms of stories–stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best story tellers. We learn in the form of stories.

Gail Godwin

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.

B.F. Skinner

Many instructional arrangements seem “contrived,” but there is nothing wrong with that. It is the teacher’s function to contrive conditions under which students learn. It has always been the task of formal education to set up behavior which would prove useful or enjoyable later in a student’s life.

Ellen Key, 1911

The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.

Arnold Ross

The young man taught all he knew and more;

The middle-aged man taught all he knew;

The old man taught all that his students could understand.

Aaron Elkins

His students were hardly in a position to tell him when he was getting windy, and he had recently noticed, as most professors did after a while, that his lectures mysteriously seemed to be getting longer with time.

Old Chinese proverb

Tell me and I forget.

Show me and I remember.

Involve me and I understand.

Phyllis Brooks

Teaching is truth mediated by personality.

  1. Bronson Alcott

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.

D.B. Gowin, 1981, Educating.

Teaching is the achievement of shared meaning.


Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The secret of education is respecting the pupil.


On Learning

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

Thomas Szasz, 1973

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem that is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.

Barbara Harrell Carson, 1996, Thirty Years of Stories

“Students learn what they care about…,” Stanford Ericksen has said, but Goethe knew something else: “In all things we learn only from those we love.” Add to that Emerson’s declaration: “the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.” and we have a formula something like this: “Students learn what they care about, from people they care about and who, they know, care about them…”

Barbara Harrell Carson, 1996, Thirty Years of Stories

The lasting measure of good teaching is what the individual student learns and carries away.

Richard Anthony de los Santos II

In all the years I’ve lived I have yet to stop learning.



B.F. Skinner

We shouldn’t teach great books, we should teach a love of reading.

Oscar Wilde (1856-1900)

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Essays: Of Studies

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Louis L’Amour

Reading without thinking is as nothing, as a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes one think.

George Foreman

As long as I’m reading, I’m at home.


The Nature of Truth

Marlon Brando

Elvis Presley had nothing to do with excellence, just myth.

Sir Isaac Newton

I can measure the motion of bodies but I cannot measure human folly.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.


If you do not expect it, you will not find the unexpected, for it is hard to find and difficult.

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Humankind can’t stand too much reality.

Andre’ Gide

The color of truth is gray.

John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,–that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.


On Ideas & Criticism

Harrison’s Postulate

For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Tip O’Neil quoting Sam Rayburn, former Speaker of the House

Remember, any jackass can kick over the barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.

Carlos Urbizo

Stoop and you’ll be stepped on; stand tall and you’ll be shot at.

Claude Debussy…on overanaylzing his music:

When you tear the wings off a butterfly, it is no longer a butterfly.


It is lawful to be taught by an enemy.

Luke 6:26

How terrible when all people speak well of you; their ancestors said the very same things about the false prophets.

Niels Bohr

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

Linda Conway

Today I will remind myself and others that mistakes are lessons too.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don’t know.

Rev. David Stier

Let us always be open to the miracle of the second chance.


Education & Society

H.G. Wells

The teacher, whether mother, priest, or schoolmaster, is the real maker of history.

Henry Adams

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Source unknown

We should so live and labor in our time that what comes to us as seed may go to the next generation as blossom,

and what came to us as blossom may go to them as fruit.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow for ever and for ever.

Denny Crum, U of Louisville basketball coach

Most of our future lies ahead.

Sir Richard Livingston

A technician is a man who understands everything about his job except its ultimate purpose and its place in the order of the universe.

William Burroughs

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.

John Locke 1693

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.

Lyndon B. Johnson

At the desk where I sit, I have learned one great truth. The answer for all our national problems–the answer for all the problems of the world–comes to a single word. That word is “education.”

Eric Hoffer, 1973

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.

H.G. Wells, 1920

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Thomas Jefferson

The nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never will and never can be.

Adolph Hitler (1889-1945)

What luck for rulers that men do not think.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad.

Catullus (87?-54?B.C.)

Oh, this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is!


We would rather criticize ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.



Ralph Waldo Emerson

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

Ronald Wright

Societies that don’t eat people are fascinated by those that do.


You can ask a question and look stupid, or not ask a question and be stupid.

Howard Aiken

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.


Originality is the art of concealing your sources.

Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)

Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.


In the computer world, hardware is anything you can hit with a hammer, software is what you can only curse at.


A figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for logic.

Henry David Thoreau

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

Albert Camus

An intellectual is a person whose mind watches itself.

Ken Hill

If the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be too simple to understand it.



Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.

Fletcher Knebel

A decision is what a man makes when he can’t find anyone to serve on a committee.

Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland

I’m very brave generally only today I happen to have a headache

Dalai Lama

If your heart has peace, nothing can disturb you.

Jean Kerr

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it’s just possible you haven’t grasped the situation.

Leon Trotsky

If we had had more time for discussing we probably would’ve made a great many more mistakes.


It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.

Henry David Thoreau

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.


It is good to kill an Admiral from time to time to encourage the others.

Helen Keller

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.

Rudyard Kipling

Teach us delight in simple things, and mirth that has no bitter springs.



Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

Mark Twain

I never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Hesketh Pearson

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, V, 2.

The rest is silence.


Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.


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