George Bernard Shaw quotes on education

George Bernard Shaw had mixed feelings about education. He was a massive believer in learning and increasing one’s knowledge. However, from his own personal experience he felt that the school and university systems were flawed. He compared his time at school as like being locked up in a prison. Here are a few of the best quotes from George Bernard Shaw about education.

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A little learning is a dangerous thing, but we must take that risk because a little is as much as our biggest heads can hold.
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What we call education and culture is for the most part nothing but the substitution of reading for experience, of literature for life, of the obsolete fictitious for the contemporary real.
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What is the matter with universities is that the students are school children, whereas it is of the very essence of university education that they should be adults.
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George Bernard Shaw quote. Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of organized life.
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Only in books has mankind known perfect truth, love and beauty.
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Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning.

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No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.
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There is, on the whole, nothing on earth intended for innocent people so horrible as a school. To begin with, it is a prison. But in some respects more cruel than a prison. In a prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the warders and the governor. . . .In the prison you are not forced to sit listening to turnkeys discoursing without charm or interest on subjects that they don’t understand and don’t care about, and therefore incapable of making you understand or care about. In a prison they may torture your body; but they do not torture your brains.
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George Bernard Shaw quote. It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.
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I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would be an affront to your intelligence.
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Schools and schoolmasters, as we have them today, are not popular as places of education and teachers, but rather prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them disturbing and chaperoning their parent.

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I know your head aches. I know you’re tired. I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher’s window. But think what you’re trying to accomplish – just think what you’re dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language; it’s the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that ever flowed through the hearts of men are contained in its extraordinary, imaginative and musical mixtures of sounds. And that’s what you’ve set yourself out to conquer, Eliza. And conquer it you will.
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George Bernard Shaw quote. If you teach a man anything he will never learn. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven’t and don’t.
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George Bernard Shaw quote. If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Read about George Bernard Shaw’s life and career

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Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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