The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.

— Seymour Papert

The most irresistibly Seymour Papert quotes that are free to learn and impress others

You can't teach people everything they need to know.

The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.


Every maker of video games knows something that the makers of curriculum don't seem to understand. You'll never see a video game being advertised as being easy. Kids who do not like school will tell you it's not because it's too hard. It's because it's--boring


The scandal of education is that every time you teach something, you deprive a [student] of the pleasure and benefit of discovery.


My basic idea is that programming is the most powerful medium of developing the sophisticated and rigorous thinking needed for mathematics, for grammar, for physics, for statistics, for all the "hard" subjects.... In short, I believe more than ever that programming should be a key part of the intellectual development of people growing up.


Rather than pushing children to think like adults, we might do better to remember that they are great learners and to try harder to be more like them.


We imagine a school in which students and teachers excitedly and joyfully stretch themselves to their limits in pursuit of projects built on their own visions … not one that that merely succeeds in making apathetic students satisfy minimal standards.


Do away with curriculum. Do away with segregation by age. And do away with the idea that there should be uniformity of all schools and of what people learn.


I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.


It's not what you know about the computer that's important, but your ability to do things with it. By studying French in an academic setting, you get to know a lot about it, but typically, you can't express yourself well or have an interesting conversation with it.


Now more people are doing work that requires individual decision-making and problem-solving, and we need an educational system that will help develop those skills.


What the gears cannot do the computer might.

The computer is the Proteus of machines. Its essence is its universality, its power to simulate


If children really want to learn something, and have the opportunity to learn it in use, they do so even if the teaching is poor. For example many learn difficult video games with no professional teaching at all!


About Seymour Papert

Quotes 49 sayings
Nationality South African
Profession Mathematician
Birthday October 16

Parents can learn that parental authority doesn't depend on knowing everything.

The more you pretend, the more risk that it'll be traumatic and damaging to the kids and their relationship with you when they find out the truth.


A programming language is like a natural, human language in that it favors certain methaphors, images, and ways of thinking.


Educators who have said, "We don't like that, so we'll continue to teach as if it's not happening," are just aggravating the gap between what happens in schools and what happens in the real world. Because of their personalities, or for cultural reasons, some kids might better express themselves through moving images and sound.


You can sit down with your child and prompt him to show you something - perhaps how to play a game [on the computer]. By learning a game, you're getting close to the kid and gaining insight into ways of learning. The kid can see this happening and feels respected, so it fosters the relationship between you and the kid.


Similarly, computer literacy courses tend to produce computer people who know a lot about computers or a piece of software but they don't help people become fluent with the machine.


BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing.


Until very recently, most knowledge was inaccessible to people who couldn't read text. But this is changing. The computer opens up other channels of gaining knowledge. If someone is blind, we now have very good machines that will read to him. If someone can't recognize letters, he also will have access to knowledge through sound and images.


I think we should allow for schools within schools, where 100 out of 500 kids may be organized by the way they work and what they do, and what they do often is more progressive. I would like to see a lot of kids of different ages, maybe even some adults, work together on a project.


The first thing to note is that pornography and many abductions occur apart from the use of computers, and that most child abuse happens within the family. So I think the extra degree of danger that computers pose doesn't justify the frenzy.


I tell adults about the experiences of more than a hundred teachers I've interviewed. They tell me that allowing the child to help them learn helped them become better teachers. That's because they no longer had to pretend they were the experts - not only about computers but about other things.


Nothing could be more absurd than an experiment in which computers are placed in a classroom where nothing else is changed.


Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn maths and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization...I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.


I was really looking at computers as a way to understand the mind.

But at M.I.T., my mind was blown by having a whole computer to yourself as long as you liked.I felt a surge of intellectual power through access to this computer, and I started thinking about what this could mean for kids and the way they learn. That's when we developed the computer programming language for kids, Logo.


Adults have been brainwashed into thinking that they can't really learn about computers without being taught, so it's more difficult for them to feel comfortable with a computer. Deep down, I think they're afraid of learning about computers.


If a kid really is retarded and can only come up to a certain level, he will still have more success if what he learns is connected with something important to him.


Daddy always asks me and I never know what to say”.


You can't think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something.


Corporate America needs to get its act together to see that the education system is changed so it produces what it needs. The educational system that teaches kids to be passive recipients of knowledge worked when most workers were sitting in assembly lines.


The word constructionism is a mnemonic for two aspects of the theory of science education underlying this project. From constructivist theories of psychology we take a view of learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as constructing a meaningful product.


The goal is to teach in such a way as to produce the most learning from the least teaching.


I do think that we'd do better if we just offered all the bureaucrats in the Department of Education very attractive early retirements. But whether you want to abolish the department is another matter. Maybe there's room for recruiting a lot of visionary people who would do very good things: develop new techniques, new ideas, foster innovative models, disseminate those ideas.


Our goal in education should be to foster the ability to use the computer in everything you do, even if you don't have a specific piece of software for the job.


We often treat children as if they're not very competent to do anything on their own. So we make them stop learning in a natural way - by exploring. Logo [the computer programming language ] allows them to find their way around the computer, as they would find their way around the house, uncontaminated by the bureaucracies of schools.


I think Disney is a very interesting company, and it does have an extremely powerful means for projecting a certain way of thinking.


I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge.


Working with the computer gives rise to many opportunities to transcend asocial behavior, because it produces exciting and visually interesting things to share, whether it's by creating video games, computer art or sharing exciting Web sites.


There's a tendency to make jazzy educational software that's very uniform and therefore just like school. I'd like to see a company develop software for rebellious kids who don't want to go to school.


Often kids in a computer lab learn about word-processing, but if they want to write an essay, they write it by hand. This is exactly the opposite of what you want them to learn. They're approaching the computer as just another abstract school subject.


The reason most kids don't like school is not that the work is too hard, but that it is utterly boring.


This frenzy about cyberporn indicates some deeper fear of adults as they see kids become more independent and learn things they never learned. I think those fears also reflect a failure to communicate. Parents should be able to say to their kids: "There is stuff out there that we don't look at, and if you find yourself looking at it or someone approaching you about it, then let's talk about it."


I don't like MTV, and I don't like the culture that goes with it.

It's OK in very small doses, maybe. Nevertheless, it's a social reality and has influenced how kids perceive things around them, the pace of life and the way people do things.


We should think about what we mean by literacy.

If you say, "He's a very literate person," what you really mean is that he knows a lot, thinks a lot, has a certain frame of mind that comes through reading and knowing about various subjects.The major route open to literacy has been through reading and writing text. But we're seeing new media offer richer ways to explore knowledge and communicate, through sound and pictures.


Even with the most stupid video games, kids learn more about learning than they ever did before, because they want to learn codes and moves before other kids figure them out. They're motivated to seek out someone or search the Net for help. A student who makes a video game has to solve mathematical problems to make special effects happen on the screen.


I prefer software where kids build something and run into problems they have to solve.


For what is important when we give children a theorem to use is not that they should memorize it. What matters most is that by growing up with a few very powerful theorems one comes to appreciate how certain ideas can be used as tools to think with over a lifetime. One learns to enjoy and to respect the power of powerful ideas. One learns that the most powerful idea of all is the idea of powerful ideas.


One might say the computer is being used to program the child.

In my vision, the child programs the computer, and in doing so, both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intense contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics, and from the art of intellectual model building.

famous quotes