Signs of the Times

NEA Journal

Ashley Montagu, Ph.D.
Anthropologist and social biologist
in a guest editorial, NEA Journal
National Education Association
Washington, District of Columbia

The best guarantee of furthering needed social change lies in our ability to teach the young how to think. By thinking, I mean sound thinking. Man prospers most when he is challenged to acquire, to learn, and to develop responses rather than to react with stereotyped and inappropriate behavior. Yet how many of our students today are being trained in an incapacity to think—in the absorption of large quantities of facts learned for the most part uncritically in order to be regurgitated upon certain ceremonial occasions called examinations? We pride ourselves on the fact that we can make machines that think like human beings and overlook the fact that we have made millions of human beings who think like machines.

So that social change may be sound, so that human change will be sound, we need to teach the young how to think critically, creatively, originally, imaginatively, and daringly.

April 10, 1965

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