Education is not the filling of a pail… discuss!

I have often started both face-to-face and online seminars, especially when they relate to active engagement, with this quote. Here are some examples of responses (names used with permission.)

“Education is not the filling of a pail; it is the lighting of a fire.” W.B. Yeats

What does this quote mean to you?

Response 1:  To me the quote mean that we’re lighting a fire in our students to not only engage with the material on our courses but to hopefully become lifelong learners.

Response 2:  I see it as a pail has a top to it..a limit… a fire is more of a flame can extend to all heights. We should look at motivation as a key to push past the traditional limits and keep reaching towards the sky

Response 3:  I think it means that we have to inspire students to involve them in their own learning process

Response 4:  By educating students we should be motivating them to want to learn.

The goal should be creating a desire in a student to do the following:

-creating a curiosity

-wanting to know more

-investigating by interest/desire

-going deeper (more breadth and depth)

-doing better

-enjoying more (the ride, that is, not the endpoint)

Mary Boury, Adjunct Faculty, Delta College, MIchigan