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Ten quotations to make you think

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Ken Wilson looks at ten quotations with the aim of making teachers think and reflect on their own practice. January 2013, London.

Part 1

Teachers often quote the words of wise folk to support their ideas and opinions, usually from within the world of education. It can be useful for teachers to go outside their specialised world for words of wisdom that can genuinely make them think about how they teach. Reflecting on the quotation often shows it to have more meaning than originally thought.
For example: Mark Twain – ‘I never let my schooling interfere with my education’. A mildly amusing remark, but if we take it seriously for a moment, what does it tell us? Probably that Mark Twain was a bright, imaginative student who wasn’t well served by the delivery style of education that was normal in his day. You can imagine him questioning his teachers, and either being told to shut up or being punished for insubordination.
What is the message for teachers today? Are we delivering too much information? Can we assert less control over proceedings in class and let the students use their imagination more?
Albert Einstein – ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. For me, this can relate to the unspoken pecking order in every class, which is based on student knowledge. We all know where we are in that order – she’s better than me, he’s not so good. Einstein knows that if you bring imagination into the equation, the knowledge-based pecking order is less important. 
These are two of the ten examples that feature in the presentation.  Some cartoons with a strong message are used, all with the aim of making people think.