Toni Morrison, the 1993 Literature Nobel Laureate, tells us in a Talk (“Mouth Full of Blood: Essays, Speeches, Meditations”) that “serious education is about” recognizing that there is a “kind of a progression….from data to information to knowledge to wisdom,” and “separating one from the other, being able to distinguish among and between them….knowing the limitations and the danger of exercising one without the others, while respecting each category of intelligence….” Helping Learners absorb this is one of the tasks for Teachers in classrooms, homes, and elsewhere — something that our data-drenched world is perhaps more in need of than at any other time.
Writing about the Artist, Ursula K. le Guin has these lines (“Words Are My Matter: Writings on Life and Books”) that offer insight into something for Teachers to take note of — particularly in our times. There is, she writes, an “Inner Preacher” in us “just itching to set people straight and tell them how to think and what to do….” Rather, the artist, in her work, would do well to leave “around her words that area of silence, that empty space, in which other and further truths and perceptions can form in other minds.”
Erwin Chargaff, the pioneering biochemist who migrated to the USA owing to the Nazis, gives us this gem in his autobiography “Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature”:
“Of one thing I am certain: a good teacher can only have dissident pupils….”