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Miss Brodie: “Education is leading out of knowledge.”

In The Prime of Miss Brodie, the protagonist (Miss Brodie) is a school teacher with a different take on education.

She has a few select female students she’s bonded with, and she applies some of her teaching principles to them. As word of Miss Brodie’s unusual techniques begin to spread around the school, she explains her educational style to some of her students. 

“I am summoned to see the headmistress at morning break on Monday,” said Miss Brodie. “I have no doubt Miss MacKay wishes to question my methods of instruction. It has happened before. It will happen again. Meanwhile, I follow my principles of education and give of my best in my prime. The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix in meaning in and the stem trudo, I thrust. Miss Mackay’s method is to thrust a lot of information into the pupil’s head; mine is leading out of knowledge, and that is true education as is proved by the root meaning. Now Miss Mackay has accused me of putting ideas into my girls’ heads, but in fact that is her practice and mine is quite the opposite. Never let it be said that I put ideas into your heads.”

I thought that was an insightful passage.

I know I have quite a few teachers who read the blog, so I thought you all might particularly be interested in it.

Do you view education as “leading out,” as explained by Miss Brodie?

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Fonte da arte.

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    April 14, 2015
  2. Brandon #

    Ehhh I kinda disagree in general. Most people don’t have differential calculus rattling around in their heads waiting to come out.

    If we’re just talking lit, though, I could agree with her. I only taught for one semester, but from that experience, it seemed as if students were better served learning how to communicate their own interpretations rather than memorizing the seven themes of Moby Dick. The skill of clear and concise communication is a universal tool.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2015
  3. Marvellous. I shall use the quote for my teaching portfolio

    Like

    April 14, 2015
  4. Stephen McDaniel #

    She makes a credible attempt to separate knowledge from thinking. Education should be about both things, but is too often geared to Miss Mackay’s concept. The knowledge part should be taught to give the student perspective and depth, with a strong emphasis on what has been done badly or incorrectly throughout history. Thinking is the more critical of the two skills, but is almost never taught. We simply hope that after X years of ‘education’ the student will have somehow learned to think. Pieces of specific information we need to perform tasks like welding or differential calculus should come dead last and be related to jobs and occupations, not part of basic education.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2015
  5. in, and out

    Like

    April 14, 2015
  6. I believe Muriel Spark and by extension, Miss Brodie, are right about learning. Even in a complex subject like differential calculus, students must have the motivation to learn the information. Telling, in and of itself, is not teaching, just as teaching and learning are not the same thing. Students need explicit instruction, of course, but they will not master any subject until they have interpreted and practiced the use of those skills to the extent that they have truly internalized the related concepts.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2015
  7. Transformational leadership. ‘Seize the day’. Blah de blah.

    Like

    April 15, 2015
  8. I can still hear Maggie Smith saying those lines, and she said them with such conviction.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2015
  9. Me too! Loved the film but have never read the book.

    Like

    April 30, 2015
  10. Reblogged this on lebronneguggenheim.

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    May 16, 2015
  11. StephanW #

    I don’t see many comments here, it means you have not many visitors. I know how to make your page go viral. If you want to know simply search in google for:
    Isud’s Method To Go Viral

    Like

    August 4, 2015

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