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How Children Learn

John Holt

Top 10 Best Quotes

“The person who really needs to know something does not need to be told many times, drilled, tested. Once is enough.”

“We think in terms of getting a skill first, and then finding useful and interesting things to do with it. The sensible way, the best way, is to start with something worth doing, and then, moved by a strong desire to do it, get whatever skills are needed.”

“For a long time I have been interested in my own thoughts, feelings, and motives, eager to know as much as I can of the truth about myself. After many years, I think that at most I may know something about a very small part of what goes on in my own head. How preposterous to imagine that I can know what goes on in someone else's.”

“But the greatest difference between children and adults is that most of the children to whom I offer a turn on the cello accept it, while most adults, particularly if they have never played any other instrument, refuse it.”

“If we try to make children fantasize, these fake fantasies, like the ready-made fantasies of TV, will in time drive out most of their true fantasies, the ones that come from their experience in the world and their need to make sense of it and become at home in it.”

“Words are not only a clumsy and ambiguous means of communication, they are extraordinarily slow.”

“There is more real learning in a good picture than in twenty workbooks.”

“The only thing to do was to turn off the questions and watch - like a child. Take it all in. See everything, worry about nothing.”

“How much people can learn at any moment depends on how they feel at that moment about the task and their ability to do the task.”

“Children. Nothing could be more simple—or more difficult. Difficult, because to trust children we must trust ourselves—and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted. And so we go on treating children as we ourselves were treated, calling this “reality,” or saying bitterly, “If I could put up with it, they can too.”

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