Devotion to the Subject

“Devotion to the subject is the one factor which inspires both sound learning and sound teaching.  If one is really keen on a discipline, one’s enthusiasm will usually communicate itself to the students.  Even if they do not share it (perhaps because they will find the subject itself dull and repellent) they will at least become aware of the wider possibilities of intellectual adventure.” Gilbert Highet. The Immortal Profession. New York, 1976. 

Gilbert Highet taught classics at Oxford and Columbia for forty years during the mid-twentieth century.  Based upon his experience as a professor, this book contains his wisdom on teaching and learning.  This quote demonstrates the significant role that the teacher’s passion for the subject plays in the classroom.  Professors must model devotion to their discipline for their students.  Notice, the professor does not direct his or her devotion primarily to the student but the subject.

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