John Holt on being a student

“Most of us have very imperfect control over our attention. Our minds slip away from duty before we realize that they are gone. Part of being a good student is learning to be aware of that state of one’s own mind and the degree of one’s own understanding. The good student may be one who often says that he does not understand, simply because he keeps a constant check on his understanding. The poor student, who does not, so to speak, watch himself trying to understand, does not know most of the time whether he understands or not. Thus the problem is not to get students to ask us what they don’t know; the problem is to make them aware of the difference between that they know and what they don’t.”

— John Holt