O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph

O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
In you we place all our faith and all our trust.

Monday, June 7, 2010

John Holt's Quotes on True Learning

+ JMJ +


To learn more about John Holt's educational philosophy, I've posted a number of his quotes below.  In my opinion, it's so much better to hear from the master himself!

“Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns.  Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can (to them); give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."

~  John Holt in How Children Learn                                                                               

The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.

~  John Holt

"Teaching does not make learning…organized education operates on the assumption that children learn only when and only what and only because we teach them. This is not true. It is very close to 100% false. Learners make learning.”

~  John Holt

“If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.”

~  John Holt

There is no difference between living and learning.

~  John Holt

“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school.”

~ John Holt

“Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors, but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy to children.”

~   John Holt

Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process...the independent scientist in the child disappears.

~   John Holt

Since we can't know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.

~   John Holt

The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure... severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied.

~   John Holt 

Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.

~   John Holt

"I choose to define it here as most people do, something that some people do to others for their own good, molding and shaping them, and trying to make them learn what they think they ought to know. Today, everywhere in the world, that is what "education" has become, and I am wholly against it. People spend a great deal of time—as for years I did myself—talking about how to make "education" more effective and efficient, or how to do it or give it to more people, or how to reform or humanize it. But to make it more effective and efficient will only be to make it worse, and to help it do even more harm. It cannot be reformed, cannot be carried out wisely or humanely, because its purpose is neither wise nor humane. "

~  John Holt

"To parents I say, above all else, don't let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your kids alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can."

~   John Holt

"Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them."

~   John Holt in How Children Fail

Next to the right to life itself, the most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control our own minds and thoughts. That means, the right to decide for ourselves how we will explore the world around us, think about our own and other persons' experiences, and find and make the meaning of our own lives. Whoever takes that right away from us, as the educators do, attacks the very center of our being and does us a most profound and lasting injury. He tells us, in effect, that we cannot be trusted even to think, that for all our lives we must depend on others to tell us the meaning of our world and our lives, and that any meaning we may make for ourselves, out of our own experience, has no value."

~  John Holt in Instead of Education

Let me sum up what I have been saying about learning. I believe that we learn best when we, not others, are deciding what we are going to try to learn, and when, and how, and for what reasons or purposes; when we, not others, are in the end choosing the people, materials, and experiences from which and with which we will be learning; when we, not others, are judging how easily or quickly or well we are learning, and when we have learned enough; and above all when we feel the wholeness and opennesss of the world around us, and our own freedom and power and competence in it. When then can we do about it? How can we create or help create these conditions for learning?

~  John Holt in What Do I Do Monday?



Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

Wonderful quotes.
Wonderful blog!
So glad to have found you through your comment on my good friend Colleen Spiro's blog: Thoughts on Grace!
I look forward to many happy visits here to your special place in the blogosphere!
Hope to get to know you better!
Peace and Joy to your family!

Sweetums5 said...

Hi Judy,

Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to post -- I really appreciate it! I'm so glad to have *met* you, too! Yes, I saw your comment at Colleen's blog and I'm so happy you came by for a visit! Thanks for leaving me your blog addresses -- I can't wait to go and visit them. I was busy yesterday helping my daughter with her credit report forms, which were due yesterday for her transcript from the long-distance highschool program she's enrolled with. During breaks, I was doing a blog makeover. ;) But I hope to get to know you better, too, in the coming days!

Lots of blessings to you and your family!


Sweetums5 said...

Oops! Hi Judy, it's me again. I clicked on "publish comment" when I meant to press "preview." I hastily wrote out the above reply, so was dismayed to see that it was published without my even giving it a once-over. Oh, well. I've been blogging for only a month now. This is what I wanted to add:

I'm so glad you liked the quotes! It's not often that I get to meet someone who appreciates John Holt's philosophy. Do you also do a certain amount of unschooling in your home? In my opinion, every family does it even a little. It's just so natural!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting to know you more!

Take care and have a great weekend!


the sleepy time gal said...

i love, love, love the quotations. nice ot meet you and your blog. we see eye to eye of raising children. thanks.

Sweetums5 said...

Hi Nicole,

Nice to meet you, too! I enjoy getting to know people who practice the same parenting style as we do! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment. Looking forward to exploring your blog more!

Blessings, Shelley


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