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October 2, 2012 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Quote suggestions from science fiction/fantasy books or stories related to teaching?

I'm working on a research paper focusing on how writers of speculative fiction teach writing, especially in formal classroom settings. Hoping to find a punchy epigraph.

I know there are a bunch of books and stories that deal with schools (the whole school-for-wizards thing, for one), so I'm wondering if you Mefites have any recommendations for specific quotes from speculative fiction literature related to teaching, learning, education, or something to that effect.

Thanks!
posted by xenization to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I remember Citizen of the Galaxy had some interesting ideas on schooling - Balsim's education of Thorby and contrast it with Thorby's later education by his Sisu family.
posted by tilde at 6:26 AM on October 2, 2012


My favorite witch-finder, the pragmatic Miss Tick, and her advice to a budding young witch:

“Now…if you trust in yourself…”
“Yes?”
“…and believe in your dreams…”
“Yes?”
“…and follow your star…” Miss Tick went on.
“Yes?”
“…you’ll still be beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

— Terry Pratchett, "The Wee Free Men"
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:29 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Also Miss Tick) "'I can't do,' said Miss Tick, straightening up. 'But I can teach!'"
posted by ChuraChura at 6:42 AM on October 2, 2012


Learning is a side-effect of joy. - Thomas M. Disch, 334

There are things which cannot be taught in ten easy lessons, nor popularized for the masses; they take years of skull sweat. This be treason in an age when ignorance has come into its own and one man's opinion is as good as another's. - Robert A. Heinlein, Glory Road

It is shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. - Frank Herbert, Dune

There are many more to be found in the Education section of Science Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits; these are just a few that jumped out at me.
posted by Chichibio at 6:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another Terry Pratchett from Hogfather

"An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on."
posted by teleri025 at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2012


"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to huff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewer of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the best thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn - pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics, why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your opponent at fencing. After that you can start again on mathematics until it is time to plough."

-T.H. White, The Once and Future King
posted by Iridic at 9:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lois McMaster Bujold, Falling Free (link is to PDF of book):
"The trouble with you, Ti," lectured Leo kindly, "is that you lack teaching experience. If you had, you'd have faith that the most unlikely people can learn the most amazing things. After all, you weren't born knowing how to pilot a Jump - yet lives depended on your doing it right the first time, and every time thereafter. Now you'll know how your instructors felt, that's all."
"How do instructors feel?"
Leo lowered his voice and grinned. "Terrified. Absolutely terrified."
posted by paduasoy at 1:02 PM on October 2, 2012


All great suggestions, but a few particularly struck me. Thanks, everyone!
posted by xenization at 6:07 AM on October 9, 2012


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