A Walk With John Milton Gregory

In a world that often casts off the old for the more “new and relevant,” I was reminded how much I enjoy the wisdom and instruction of John Milton Gregory in his timeless text The Seven Laws of Teaching. First published in 1884, you will be reminded as you read of what authentic teaching is still all about. Below are a few of those reminders.

[Teaching] is painting in the mind of another the picture in one’s own mind.

Find the relation of the lesson to the lives of the learners. Its practical value lies in these relations.

The duty of the teacher is essentially not that of a driver or a taskmaster but rather that of a counselor and guide.

The notion that the mind is only a receptacle in which to stow other people’s ideas is entirely incorrect.

A truth is known by its resemblances, and can best be seen in the light of other truths. The pupil, instead of seeing a fact alone, should see it linked to the great body of truth, in all its fruitful relations.

Thanks for the reminders, Mr. Gregory. You still have timely words for us even today.


4 thoughts on “A Walk With John Milton Gregory

  1. Thank you for these reminders Dr. Goyak. The last thought from Mr. Milton about making connections is especially impacting to me. I greatly enjoy finding correlations between new information and something I already understand. When I do, I remember and understand the new so much better. As a math education student, I want to learn exciting ways to take truth from mathematics and help students “see it linked to the great body of truth, in all its fruitful relations” Do you have any creative suggestions for accomplishing this goal from your experience teaching math?

  2. Good question, Daniel. The more that you can bring “real life” into the classroom, the better. I have a resource that I will bring to class for you that will aid you in your thinking. I would consider building your course as a project-based class, and what I mean by that is a lot of hands-on, using your calculator, and bringing notable examples into your teaching.

    Thanks for commenting!

    • Yes, I think Gregory has many good insights that get lost today because his work is “not current.” And in looking for the newest idea on the block, we often overlook timeless truths that continue to impact our thinking. Thank you for comments, Steve.

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