Project PRIME


Note: Project PRIME has developed into the larger "Discovering the Art of Mathematics" project. The resources of Project PRIME remain as they were circa 2009. We encourage you to visit "Discovering the Art of Mathematics" for the continuation of the work begun by this project.

"My job as teacher is to make myself irrelevant."
John Judge
"There should be no element of slavery in learning. Enforced exercise does no harm to the body, but enforced learning will not stay in the mind. So avoid compulsion, and let your children's lessons take the form of play."
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
George Bernard Shaw
"I don't like that sort of school... where the bright childish imagination is utterly discouraged... where I have never seen among the pupils, whether boys or girls, anything but little parrots and small calculating machines."
Charles Dickens, 11/5/1857 speech
"There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!"
Thomas Edison
"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail."
Albert Einstein
"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift rather than a hard duty."
Albert Einstein
"Humiliation and mental oppression by ignorant and selfish teachers wreak havoc in the youthful mind that can never be undone and often exert a baleful influence in later life."
Albert Einstein
"Children come to school wanting to know why. They are not excited by the mere observations the sky is blue, and sunsets are red. They want to know why."
M.D. de Villiers
"Equalizing opportunity through universal higher education subjects the whole population to the intellectual mode natural only to a few. It violates the fundamental egalitarian principle of respect for the differences between people."
Caroline Bird
"No thought, no idea, can possibly be conveyed as an idea from one person to another. When it is told it is to the one to whom it is told another fact, not an idea... Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at first hand, seeking and finding his own way out, does he think."
John Dewey
"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."
Richard Feynman
"Unc, why do they call them stars when they are really round?"
K.C. Fisher, at age 3
"Education is learning more than it is being taught. It's the chemistry of curiosity exposed to information. In that sense all of life is potentially school. And even I can pass that."
Bob Guiccione, Jr.
"The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics."
Paul Halmos
"Research is formalized curiosity."
Zora Neale Hurston
"The student is taught the best who is told the least."
R.L. Moore
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, it is a fire to be kindled."
"The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn."
Alvin Toffler

These quotes are taken from the Mathematical and Educational Quotation Server ( This searchable database contains over 1,000 quotes on a variety of topics across mathematics and education.

© The material which makes up this Internet site is copyright 2009 by Julian Fleron, Phil Hotchkiss, Volker Ecke, Christine von Renesse.