Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
Value-Creating Education

Rather than provide knowledge itself, we must encourage the joy and excitement that arise from learning.

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Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
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The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy

This work is nothing other than the accumulation of notes of the reflections and ideas that have arisen in the day-to-day effort to fulfill my professional duties. Like a miser stingily saving every penny, and fearful of the dispersal and loss of the droplets of thought that traffic through daily life I have written these down and, with more than 30 years having passed since I first started life as an educator, these have piled up to become a veritable mountain of scrap paper. Looking them over after the fact, there are of course things of little interest. But among them there are more than a few that I cannot bear to discard. Thinking that, if put into order, these thoughts could be useful in some manner, I have not been able to bring myself to turn them over to the scrap-paper dealer. At times, these notes have become the nesting site for mice, drawing complaints from my family. [1930]1


I am driven almost to distraction by the intense desire to prevent the present deplorable situation--ten million of our children and students forced to endure the agonies of cutthroat competition, the difficulty of getting into good schools, the "examination hell" and the struggle for jobs after graduation--from afflicting the next generation. I cannot afford to attend in any way to the vagaries of praise or censure, the opinions and judgments of the world. [1930]2


Here I wish to call out to those involved in the work of education: Correct your uncertain stance of advancing with your gaze fixed on the stars; attend, rather, to the ground on which you tread! If you reflect deeply on your daily experience, confirming the actual record of success and failure, carefully analyzing this process, you will be able to discover truly precious truths. Abandon an exclusive and meaningless reliance on the research of scholars in book-lined rooms. Bring together your own treasured experiences; synthesize and establish from these clear principles; test and verify these within your daily labors as a teacher, bequeathing to the next generation laws and principles of real worth. This is the great and weighty mission that has been given to the educational practitioners of the present day; your efforts will ensure the future growth and development of education. [1930]3


The objectives sought by society must be in accord with the goals of the individual for personal growth. The respective objectives [of society and individuals], authentically understood, do not involve making one the means to the realization of the other. It is only natural that the achievement of the goals necessary to the continued existence of the one should be embraced by the other. In other words, the state exists only because its citizens exist; society exists only because of individuals. The growth and development of individuals brings the flourishing, fulfillment and growth of the national society. Conversely, the diminution of the individual brings the decline of the state, its loss of energy and influence. National society flourishes through the solidarity of its component elements; is weakened by divisions among them; and ceases to exist through their dispersal. [1930]4


Other than "happiness" there is no word that fully and accurately expresses the unhindered pursuit of the cultural life that is the objective of education. From my own experience of the past several decades and from pondering this question over that time, I have come to believe this word gives the most realistic, straightforward and apt expression to the goal of life desired and sought by all people. [1930]5


If, however, there is some difference between them, it is that the societal laws of causality treated by ethics and morals--[the search for] a reasoned and humane way of life--are limited only to this lifetime. Likewise, the laws of causality treated by science are limited to the phenomena of their respective disciplines. Even the synthetic science that is philosophy has a view of life and an understanding of the world limited to this lifetime. In contrast, Buddhism clarifies ... the causal laws governing the processes of ceaseless change and transformation that span not only the secular, but the supra-secular realm embracing past, present and future. [1931]6


Of all life's undertakings, education is an exercise in technical capacity, in artistry, of the highest order of difficulty; only a person of the most superlative talents and qualities can succeed. I base this assertion on the fact that education has as its object life itself, an unsurpassed treasure for which no replacement can be found. [1934]7


The aim of education is not to transfer knowledge; it is to guide the learning process, to equip the learner with the methods of research. It is not the piecemeal merchandizing of information; it is to enable the acquisition of the methods for learning on one's own; it is the provision of keys to unlock the vault of knowledge. Rather than encouraging students to appropriate the intellectual treasures uncovered by others, we should enable them to undertake on their own the process of discovery and invention. [1934]8