“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

– William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

The best teachers that I have studied under in many diverse subject areas, as well as my current music teachers, are the ‘fire-lighting’ kind. They teach by inspiring. Enthusiastically revealing knowledge as the most exciting of happenings, our best teachers have sparked our innate human curiosity, fanning it with relevant stories of the subject, supporting information and interesting facts!

Once that flame begins to burn inside of us, we have little use for playing the part of a passive pail, where our own flame may get doused. Instead, we too want to emulate our teachers, and go exploring a particular subject, now motivated by own curiosity.

It seems to me that Yeats is accurate in his description. The volition to learn is ‘caught’, most often from a living teacher. We as learners ‘catch fire’… perhaps starting out a little slower with some smoldering and then beginning to burn more brightly, now learning at a faster pace. Our flame may then have an opportunity to ignite others, who may be inspired by our excitement. We students become teachers and it spreads.

– Richard Chandler

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