Einstein on conventional schooling

At Jerry Weinberg's Problem Solving Leadership workshop one of the handouts contains this quote from Einstein which spoke to me:

I soon learned to scent out that which was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside everything else, from the multitude of things which clutter up the mind and divert it from the essential.

The hitch in this was, of course, the fact that one had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect upon me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle, that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe that it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry.

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