Home > Tao for teachers > Thirty


There is only one way to teach.

Good classrooms don’t need rules.

Rules provoke resistance.

Good students turn bad

when the law’s laid down.

Learning never happens

because the teacher says it must.


What needs doing? Do it –

you don’t need to be strong.

It will all unfold,

let it do so

without glory,

without pride,

without loud boasts

without making it happen.

This is how it happens.


Throw yourself at it and lose your footing.

This is not the way.

When you leave the way

you lose your direction.

*My original commentary on Chapter 30 can be found here.

  1. June 3, 2016 at 03:43

    I really like your writing.

    However, there can never be just one way to teach.

    Education is the interplay of structure and agency. Without structure, there is no agency. Without agency there is no structure. (Check Giddens and Berger & Luckmann if you don’t believe me.)

    Learning is intrinsic – and thank goodness it sometimes also happens inspite of the teacher!

    Learning is ubiquitous and unbound. The participating students in my research just proved that.

    Teaching is not about using artificial authority over others. It is about sharing the journey.


    • Diarmuid
      June 23, 2016 at 14:12

      Thank you, Nina. Although it doesn’t look like it, you and I are saying exactly the same thing! I say, “There is only one way to teach” and you echo me with “there can never be just one way to teach”.

      We really mean the same thing. How can that be when it looks as if we are saying exactly the opposite of each other?

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