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The verb ‘to teach’, and its irregular past participle ‘taught’, go back to Old English, with the meaning to show, to instruct, to impart knowledge. This implies another person, or other people, who are being instructed. Teaching cannot be carried out without learners – whereas learning can be carried out without teachers.

Teachers do not have to be paid professionals. Babies and young children are taught by their parents to talk, and to take part in numerous activities. Children are taught all kinds of things (desirable and otherwise) by other children. Ever since Plato, there has been an argument as to whether society should pay a special class of professionals to teach, train and socialise its children. Plato certainly believed there should be such an ...

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