Beyond the pail

February 13, 2004

What is education? Doug Peterson, associate professor of psychology at the University of South Dakota, has offered a new perspective to the Annals of Improbable Research .

He said: "I start my introductory class each day with a quote about education or learning to share with the class a little about my thoughts on education. I always open with and reiterate one particular quote (also displayed on the door to my office): 'Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire - William Butler Yeats.'

"The last question on my multiple-choice exam was: 'Complete the following quotation that summarises your professor's view of education: 'Education is not the filling of a pail...'

"Some 41 per cent of students selected the distracter that read 'it is the emptying of a bucket'."

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