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Miss Brodie: “Education is Leading out of Knowledge.”

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

In The Prime of Miss Brodie, the protagonist (Miss Brodie) is a school teacher with a different take on education.

She has a few select female students she’s bonded with, and she applies some of her teaching principles to them. As word of Miss Brodie’s unusual techniques begin to spread around the school, she explains her educational style to some of her students. 

“I am summoned to see the headmistress at morning break on Monday,” said Miss Brodie. “I have no doubt Miss MacKay wishes to question my methods of instruction. It has happened before. It will happen again. Meanwhile, I follow my principles of education and give of my best in my prime. The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix in meaning in and the stem trudo, I thrust. Miss Mackay’s method is to thrust a lot of information into the pupil’s head; mine is leading out of knowledge, and that is true education as is proved by the root meaning. Now Miss Mackay has accused me of putting ideas into my girls’ heads, but in fact that is her practice and mine is quite the opposite. Never let it be said that I put ideas into your heads.”

I thought that was an insightful passage.

I know I have quite a few teachers who read the blog, so I thought you all might particularly be interested in it.

Do you view education as “leading out,” as explained by Miss Brodie?


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