What is learnt on examination is very soon forgotten again

When those who wish to become teachers or educators are examined today, attention is paid above all to what they have acquired in the way of knowledge — which really is quite unnecessary, for when they are preparing themselves, they can always read up in a suitable compendium what it is necessary for them to have for teaching purposes. What is learnt on examination is very soon forgotten again.

We can see this best when we remember how our own school life was carried on. I once had to go through an examination. At the appointed time the professor was ill. I went to the assistant who said: “Yes, the Professor is ill, and his illness may last another week; I can sympathize with you; if you have to go about in this grand condition for a week, you will have forgotten everything, but there is no help for it.” It is therefore reckoned that what one has to give out in the examination will very soon be forgotten! It is simply a comedy!

But what will have to be taken into account will be to consider what sort of man is being let loose on the young. The question is to study the human being in each one, not only what he has squeezed into the mechanism of his life of ideas. The question is whether the real man is in a position to establish that mysterious relationship to youth which is necessary.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Anthroposophical Life Gifts: Lecture III: Thoughts about the Life Between Death and Rebirth – Berlin, 2nd April, 1918