Teaching With Joy

November 2003


by Joy Jones

     Children seldom behave in the nice, obedient way one would wish. There’s a good reason for that, although it’s hard to appreciate it when they are challenging you in class. Here are my thoughts on this phenomenon, taken from my book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.

     "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it."
                                                                                         -- Jacob Bronowski

     You think you know a lot of things; and you probably do. The tricky part is that some of what you know to be true is false. At one time medical science “knew” that using leeches for blood-letting was a good cure. At one time, teachers “knew” that rote memorization was the best technique for learning. At one time, everybody “knew” that the world was flat.

     At some level, your students know that some of what you are teaching them is not true. And much of what may be truth now won’t remain true tomorrow.

     Today’s lesson: The truth is born in inquiring minds.


Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children’s book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.  You may view her web site at: www.JoyJonesOnline.com.

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