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101 Excellent Educational Quotes for 2019

Sometimes you just need something really smart to say to inspire and motivate yourself and those around you.   And, if you are like me, those times don’t come around every moment of the day.

Luckily there are people who have had flashes of brilliance throughout history when talking about the concept of education, teaching and learning and someone even smarter wrote it down.

2019 is the UN international year of indigenous languages, and many of these quotes have strong connections to giving native speakers a voice in their own schools.

These quotes will make your students and fellow staff think you are a deep and intellectual thinker and hopefully inspire and motivate them too.

We have compiled 101 educational quotes based on Inspiration and Motivation, Teaching, Learning and Education. 

Use them wisely, and above all else if you know of any others or have any pearls of wisdom of your own please  email them through to us.

Inspiration and Motivation

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These quotes will help inspire you to do more, learn more effectively, provoke thought and help those around you to achieve.

Abraham Lincoln:  The Best way to predict your Future is to create it.

Claus Moser: Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.

Abigail Adams  learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardour and diligence.

Unknown:  Never be afraid to try something new.  Remember amateurs built the ark, but professionals built the Titanic.

Victor Hugo: He, who opens a school door, closes a prison.

Unknown: The Hunter who chases two rabbits will catch neither.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Helen Keller: Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Ernest Dimnet  Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.

Jean Jacques Rosseau: We should not teach children the sciences but give them a taste for them.

Abraham Maslow: If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Dr. David M. Burns: Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.

Bill Vaughan: People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.

Edward Everett  Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.

Erich Fromm: Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?

Vilfredo Pareto: Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.

Jacob Bronowski: It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.

Martin H. Fischer: All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.

Mary Kay Ash: Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery: Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered. It is something molded.

Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.


Chinese Proverb: Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

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B. F. Skinner  Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Abigail Adams: Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Learning never exhausts the mind.

The learning process is different for each individual. Hear these great thinkers muse on what learning means to them in these inspirational quotes.

Anthony J. D'Angelo Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.

Frances Willard: No matter how he may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.

Annie Dillard:I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.

Plutarch: The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.

Aeschylus  I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship.

B.B.King: The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.

Heinrich Heine  If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.

George Iles: Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.

Anthony J. D'AngeloThe only real failure in life is one not learned from.

Euripides: Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future.

Walt Disney  I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.

Confucius: Learning without thought is a labor lost, thought without learning is perilous.

Denis Waitley: All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners. Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing and not moving toward excellence.

Greek Proverb: All things good to know are difficult to learn.

Lloyd Alexander: We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.

Henry Ford: Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

Ray LeBlond: You learn something every day if you pay attention.

Thomas Huxley: Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: There are many things which we can afford to forget which it is yet well to learn.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.

H.G. Wells: You have learned something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something.

Thomas Szasz: Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.

Bill Vaughan: People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.

" Always do what you are afraid to do." - Ralph Waldo

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.      Anyone who keeps learning stays young." - Henry Ford

"A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out" - Anon

" Believe in yourself, be strong, never give up no matter what the      circumstances are. You are a champion and will overcome the dreaded      obstacles. Champions take failure as a learning opportunity, so take in      all you can, and run with it. Be your best and don't ever ever give      up." - Brad Gerrard

"Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements" - Napoleon Hill

"Did you know that the Chinese symbol for 'crisis' includes a symbol which means 'opportunity'? - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"Don’t learn to do, but      learn in doing. Let your falls not be on a prepared ground, but let them      be bona fide falls in the rough and tumble of the world" - Samuel      Butler (1835–1902)

"Every artist was at first an amateur." - Ralph W. Emerson

"I hear, and I forget.  I see, and I remember. I do, and I      understand." - Chinese Proverb

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got" - NLP adage

"If you find yourself saying 'But I can't speak English...', try adding the word '...yet' - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"If what you're doing isn't working, try something else!" - NLP adage

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Derek      Bok

"If you know what you want, you are more likely to get it" - NLP adage

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and made things happen." - Elinor Smith

"It's not just about looking and copying, it's about feeling too" - Paul Cezanne

"It's ok to try things out, to ask questions, to feel unsure, to let your mind wander, to daydream, to ask for help, to experiment, to take time out, not to know, to practise, to ask for help again - and again, to make mistakes, to check your understanding" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"Learning is never done without errors and defeat." - Vladimir      Lenin

"Nothing we ever imagined is beyond our powers, only beyond our present self-knowledge" - Theodore Roszak

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great      surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he could not do."      - Henry Ford

"One must have strategies to execute dreams." - Azim Premji,      CEO Wipro Ind

"One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it,      you have no certainty, until you try." - Sophocles

"People learn more quickly by doing something or seeing something      done." - Gilbert Highet

"Success comes in cans, failure in can'ts." -  Unknown

"The important thing in life is not the triumph but the      struggle." - Pierre de Coubertin

"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." - Chinese Proverb

"Too much credit is given to the end result. The true lesson is in      the struggle that takes place between the dream and reality. That struggle      is a thing called life!" - Garth Brooks 

"The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work."      - Aristotle

" The only dreams impossible to reach are the ones you never      pursue." - Michael Deckman

" There two types of people; the can do and the can't.  Which      are you?" - George R. Cabrera

"Whenever you feel like saying 'Yes, but....`, try saying instead 'Yes, and....'" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"Whether you think you can, or think you can''re right!" - Henry Ford

"Worry is misuse of the imagination" - Mary Crowley

"You haven't failed, until you stop trying" - Unknown

"You've got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, don't mess with Mr In-between" - Popular song      


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These quotes are ideal for motivating teachers to keep offering students their best day after day.

Henry Brooks Adams: A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

A. Bartlett Giamatti  A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching.

Nikos Kazantzakis: Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.

Gail Godwin  Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre.

Richard Bach: Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.

John W. Gardner  Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows and rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.

Edith Ann, [Lily Tomlin]  I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

Frank Smith: Thought flows in terms of stories — stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best storytellers. We learn in the form of stories.

(Louis) Hector Berlioz  Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils

Marva Collins: Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.

R. Verdi  Good teachers are those who know how little they know. Bad teachers are those who think they know more than they don't know.

Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.

Vernon Law Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

Carol Buchner: They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Chinese Proverb   Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself."

Buddhist Proverb: If a seed of a lettuce will not grow, we do not blame the lettuce. Instead, the fault lies with us for not having nourished the seed properly.

Josef Albers: Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.

Confucius: Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.

Kahlil Gibran: The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.

Henry B. Adams: A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Mark Twain: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Plato: Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.

Eliphas Levi: A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.

Maria Montessori: The greatest sign of a success for a teacher…is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

Rachel Carson: If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in.

Albert Einstein: It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Benjamin Franklin: Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

"Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not      overload them. Put there just a spark." - Anatole France

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Henry Brooks Adams

"A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary." - Thomas Carruthers

" A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil      with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron." - Horace Mann      (1796-1859)

"Education costs money, but then so does ignorance." - Sir Claus Moser

" a painful, continual and difficult work to be done in      kindness, by watching, by warning,... by praise, but above all -- by      example." - John Ruskin

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes

"Education should turn out the pupil with something he knows well and      something he can do well." - Alfred North Whitehead

"Getting things done is not always what is most important. There is value in allowing others to learn, even if the task is not accomplished as quickly, efficiently or effectively." - R.D. Clyde

"Give me a fish and I eat for a day.  Teach me to fish and I eat      for a lifetime." - Chinese Proverb

"Good teachers are those who know how little they know. Bad teachers are those who think they know more than they don't know." - R. Verdi

"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of      right answers." -  Josef Albers

"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think." - Socrates

"If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must      teach in the way the child learns" - Rita Dunn

"If what you're doing isn't working, try something else!" - NLP adage 

"I may have said the same thing before... but my explanation, I am sure, will always be different." - Oscar Wilde

"I put the relation of a fine teacher to a student just below the      relation of a mother to a son." - Thomas Wolfe

"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it." - J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative      expression and knowledge." - Albert Einstein

"Learning is finding out what you already know.  Doing is demonstrating that you know it.  Teaching is reminding others that they know it just as well as you.  You are all learners, doers, teachers" - Richard Bach

"Men learn while they teach." - Lucius A. Seneca

"No matter how good teaching may be, each student must take the      responsibility for his own education." - John Carolus S. J.

"People's behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of      their goals, needs, and motives." - Thomas Mann

"Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its values only to its      scarcity." - Samuel Johnson

"Spoonfeeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of      the spoon" - E. M. Forster

"Teachers should guide without dictating, and participate without      dominating." - C.B. Neblette

"Teach your children by what you are, not just by what you say" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn." - Cicero

"The basic idea behind teaching is to teach people what they need to      know." - Carl Rogers

"The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

"The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in      themselves." - Joseph Campbell

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be      ignited." - Plutarch

"There are no difficult students - just students who don't want to do it your way" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

" The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house      of his wisdom      but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind." - Kahlil Gibran

"To define is to destroy, to suggest is to create." - Stephane      Mallarme

"To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching." -      George Bernard Shaw

"To teach is to learn twice." - Joseph Joubert

"Try to present at least three options.  One is no choice at all.  Two creates a dilemma.  With three you begin to have real choice and flexibility" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman

"We think too much about effective methods of teaching and not enough      about effective methods of learning." - John Carolus S. J.

"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child." - George Bernard Shaw

"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn." - John Cotton Dana

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it      within himself." - Galielo Galilei

"You can't direct the wind but you can adjust the sails." -      Anonymous


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Horace Mann:A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.

Tyron Edwards: The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers rather than to fill it with the accumulation of others.

Nicholas M. Butler:America is the best half-educated country in the world.

John F. Kennedy: Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation.

Frederick The Great  An educated people can be easily governed.

Malcolm S. Forbes: Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

Thomas Jefferson: Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of both mind and body will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

Will Durant  Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

Aristotle: Education is the best provision for old age.

George Washington Carver   Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

Abraham Lincoln: Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.

Robert M. Hutchins The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.

Helen Keller: Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbour was. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.

Sydney J. Harris  The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.

Jim Rohn: If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.

William Butler Yeats  Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Henry Peter Brougham: Education makes a people easy to lead but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

T.S. Eliot: It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.

William Haley: Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.

Will Durant: Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

Robert Frost: Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

George Washington Carver: Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

B. F. Skinner: Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Aristotle: The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

Sydney J. Harris: The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.

G.K. Chesterton: Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.

Ernest Dimnet: Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.