True Education


Chapter 26—Methods of Teaching

For centuries education has had to do chiefly with the memory. This faculty of the mind has been taxed to the utmost, while the other mental powers have not been correspondingly developed. Students have spent their time crowding the mind with knowledge, very little of which could be utilized. The mind thus burdened with that which it cannot digest and assimilate is weakened; it becomes incapable of vigorous, self-reliant effort, and is content to depend on the judgment and perception of others. TEd 140.1

Seeing the evils of this method, some have gone to another extreme. In their view, people need only to develop that which is within them. Such education leads students to self-sufficiency, thus cutting them off from the source of true knowledge and power. TEd 140.2

The education that consists in the training of the memory tends to discourage independent thought, and has a moral bearing that is too little appreciated. As students sacrifice the power to reason and judge for themselves, they become incapable of discriminating between truth and error, and fall an easy prey to deception. They are easily led to follow tradition and custom. TEd 140.3

It is a fact widely ignored, though never without danger, that error rarely appears for what it really is. It is by mingling with or attaching itself to truth that it gains acceptance. The eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil caused the ruin of our first parents, and the acceptance of a mingling of good and evil is the ruin of men and women today. The mind that depends on the judgment of others is certain, sooner or later, to be misled. TEd 140.4

Only through individual dependence upon God can we possess the power to discriminate between right and wrong. Each person is to learn from Him through His Word. Our reasoning powers were given us to use, and God desires them to be exercised. “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), He invites us. In reliance upon Him we may have wisdom to “refuse the evil and choose the good.” Isaiah 7:15; James 1:5. TEd 141.1