Saturday, December 20, 2003

On Teaching and Learning

Another long hiatus, but I wanted to post this as soon as possible. From J.S. Mill's Autobigraphy, avaliable from the gutenberg project

In my eighth year I commenced learning Latin, in conjunction with a
younger sister, to whom I taught it as I went on, and who afterwards
repeated the lessons to my father; from this time, other sisters and
brothers being successively added as pupils, a considerable part of my
day's work consisted of this preparatory teaching. It was a part which
I greatly disliked; the more so, as I was held responsible for the
lessons of my pupils, in almost as full a sense as for my own: I,
however, derived from this discipline the great advantage, of learning
more thoroughly and retaining more lastingly the things which I was
set to teach: perhaps, too, the practice it afforded in explaining
difficulties to others, may even at that age have been useful. In
other respects, the experience of my boyhood is not favourable to the
plan of teaching children by means of one another. The teaching, I
am sure, is very inefficient as teaching, and I well know that the
relation between teacher and taught is not a good moral discipline
to either. I went in this manner through the Latin grammar, and a
considerable part of Cornelius Nepos and Caesar's Commentaries, but
afterwards added to the superintendence of these lessons, much longer
ones of my own.

Keywords: Learning, Teaching