One Child, One Teacher
12 incredible Malala quotes that will make you want to give her the Nobel Peace Prize all over again – Salon.com
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”
The Importance of Teaching
Teaching changes individuals and societies. The idea that human beings who were not aristocrats could improve themselves is an Enlightenment concept(1). This is a relatively new idea in history and hopefully an abiding one. Those of us who teach have a responsibility to shape minds and character. Many teachers transmit either willingly or unconsciously their own biases. But the real revolutionary act is to transmit the basic skills of a respect for facts and the ability to use reason.
A developed mind, fact and reason oriented, is a lethal weapon against stale tradition, incompetent leadership and, above all, complacency. It tends to activate the mind and invigorate the recognition of self-importance and action.
We live in an age where conspiracy theorists, internet come-ons and manipulative business practices are common. We can try to knock them down one by one or we can seek to create in a student’s mind the intellectual skills necessary for self-defense. The skills that help a student understand the risks are very similar to those enabling them to recognize opportunities, and that empowerment is another goal fulfilled when the student-teacher cooperation toward learning occurs. Remember education is not purely a matter of teaching skill. The student can always choose to past tests and ignore the rest of the content.
An undeveloped mind is a playground for manipulators, whether corporate flacks, PR experts or venal politicians. A critical thinking human can learn to protect himself from scams, false claims and other nonsense.
For an educator, a teacher, that is the mission. To raise a human being from a state of understanding less to understanding more. In itself this is a life and society changing event.
(1) Leading educational theorists like England’s John Locke and Switzerland’s Jean Jacques Rousseau both emphasised the importance of shaping young minds early. By the late Enlightenment there was a rising demand for a more universal approach to education, particularly after the American and French Revolutions.