702-We Still Need to Fill Vessels

Episode: 702

Episode Title: We Still Need to Fill Vessels


If you had to choose between filling students with information or kindling their fire for learning, what would you pick? More on that, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 702 show:

Welcome to The Perna Syndicate! Yesterday we talked about the first-century Greek philosopher Plutarch, who famously said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” 


While there is a lot of truth to this, I believe that the vessel-filling aspect of education is still important. Children are not born knowing everything they need to know merely by instinct. We have to impart that knowledge. 


And you know, I don’t think Plutarch was arguing that education shouldn’t include any vessel-filling. He was most likely just pushing back against an educational model that treated students like docile recipients of information, when really, they should be so much more. 


Treating the mind like a vessel to be filled puts all the agency on the teacher. The teacher is the one doing all the work; the student is merely receiving what is being taught. That’s really passive. 


But a fire has agency of its own, doesn’t it? With the right fuel, it burns bright and strong. It doesn’t need to be told what to do. Once that flame is kindled, it is self sustaining. 


This is a much more active model of education. We don’t have to choose between filling the vessel and kindling the flame. To be truly effective, education needs both. 


Tomorrow: Gen Z is the first generation in history that won’t let you fill the vessel until you first kindle the flame. Join me next time on The Perna Syndicate for more on that topic. See you then! 

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