Education Quotations


But education ordinarily so called - the learning of trades and professions which is designed to enable men to earn their living, or to fit them for a particular station in life- is servile.—Journal8 December 1859
Can there be any greater reproach than an idle learning? Learn to split wood, at least.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably.—Walden
Every incident is a parable of the great teacher.—Journal, 18 April 1852
How admirably the artist is made to accomplish his self-culture by devotion to his art! The wood-sawyer, through his effort to do his work well, becomes not merely a better wood-sawyer, but measurably a better man.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 19 December 1853
How important is a constant intercourse with nature and the contemplation of natural phenomena to the preservation of moral and intellectual health! The discipline of the schools or of business can never impart such serenity to the mind.—Journal, 6 May 1851
I am still a learner, not a teacher, feeding somewhat omnivorously, browsing both stalk and leaves—but I shall perhaps be enabled to speak with the more precision and authority by and by—if philosophy and sentiment are not buried under a multitude of details.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 21 May 1856
I have much to learn of the Indian, nothing of the missionary.—The Maine Woods 
I served my apprenticeship and have since done considerable journeywork in the huckleberry field. Though I never paid for my schooling and clothing in that way, it was some of the best schooling that I got and paid for itself.—"Huckleberries"
I would make education a pleasant thing both to the teacher and the scholar. This discipline, which we allow to be the end of life, should not be one thing in the schoolroom, and another in the street. We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him.—Thoreau to Orestes Brownson, 30 December 1837
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