"A charming and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of education, inspired by the writings of William James."
Associate Provost for Research Administration and Professor of Philosophy, The American University in Cairo
"A Primer for Philosophy and Education provides students with a surprisingly comprehensive glimpse into the philosophy of education. The book is a personal invitation to join Samuel Rocha in a discussion about the philosophy of language, conceptual analysis, epistemology and metaphysics, and consider each area’s application to education. He effectively shows students philosophy of education rather than merely telling them about the subject. This is a remarkable introduction to the field from an imaginative and gifted author."
Professor and Chair, Department of Curriculum, Culture and Educational Inquiry, Florida Atlantic University
“In a delightful little book with wonderful illustrations and a direct intimacy with his audience, Sam Rocha in deceptively simple language engages the reader with a primer that covers a range of topics from philosophy and education to Cordelia, things, language, courage, knowledge and understanding, and being in love. Highly recommended.”
MICHAEL A. PETERS
Professor of Education, University of Waikato
"Dr. Rocha creates a canvas on which philosophy and education speak to a modern generation. He gives education a good name in every sense of the word and is a motivation for up and coming enthusiasts who want to be teachers."
Retired Science Teacher, Brady High School
“Sam Rocha's primer explains the importance of both philosophy and education for anyone seeking knowledge, truth, and love. Rocha uses an easy-to-understand, colloquial style to introduce the complex idea of truth. Ultimately, Rocha asserts, philosophy and education are about love and understanding the essential truth of things.”
Parent and Experience Architect
"I think this is an excellent little work, a minor opus. It achieves exactly what it ought to achieve: it makes me want to start this journey. It makes me aware of my own philosophy, my own love of wisdom. The illustrations are whimsical, and seriously so."
Student, Georgetown University School of Medicine
“Sam Rocha's Primer is something I've literally never seen before. It's a little book that is ostensibly about education and philosophy and really is about those things, not about theories or methods. No single sentence or page in this primer was earth-shattering; it all seemed familiar, if vaguely so. But like all truly innocent things, this little book left me shattered. It reminded me, gently and simply, that I had forgotten the purpose of life, the way to go about it, and why it matters. Rocha's little primer ends as innocently as it begins: with an admonishment for the reader to be in love. ‘Love alone is sufficient for all things,’ Rocha says. But what could elsewhere be mistaken for a saccharine Hallmark observance here has the force of a punch. This is a book everyone should read, whether you're a university student or a hairdresser or a high school football player. It is a primer for philosophy and education, at their most basic levels. As such, it's really a primer for life.”
Mother and Writer
"In the pages of this text, Samuel D. Rocha has written a patient and personal letter to, among others, students new to philosophy and education. Rocha's voice is reassuringly clear as he encourages an engagement with a grand yet inescapable enterprise. Those already initiated will surely recognize the wisdom of Rocha's careful approach as they recall their own experiences preparing students for similar studies. Rocha reminds us of our shared and very special duty to prepare our students well for the often surprising, confounding, and richly fulfilling work ahead."
WINSTON C. THOMPSON
Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire
"Too few today who ‘talk’ about education have much to ‘say’ in this regard, and, in contradistinction to one of Rocha’s most important statements, reduce education to schooling. This is a depraved ‘reduction,’ which demands a forceful response. And it is in this way that we should read Rocha’s primer: as channeling that force of the philosophical tradition that, in one moment, takes us by the hand and shows us the grand possibility of thinking, and, in the next, takes us by the scruff of our necks and insists that we go public with the fearless speech that philosophy has given us. The tradition of philosophy is renewed, again, with this book and so many efforts like it that are happening in a time when ‘education’ is deprived of thinking, and dare I say, with Rocha, love of wisdom."
EDUARDO M. DUARTE
Professor, Hofstra University
"An elegantly written invitation to students and the general reader to a frame of mind where one is ready to learn from and think about philosophy and education. Sam Rocha calls us all back, in heart-felt yet precise prose, to philosophy's ancient role of dialogue, wonder, and reflection. A joy to read and treasure."
Distinguished Professor, College of Education, Washington State University
“Sam Rocha has written a rare book about philosophy and education. This is a book for beginning philosophers, which is to say it is a book for all of us. It is also a book for beginning teachers, and the best of teachers are always beginning, always returning to their roots and sources of inspiration. It is both simple and demanding. Rocha shows how both philosophy and education demand rigorous attention to fundamentals upon which to grow.”
Professor Emeritus, St. Xavier University
"Sam Rocha is a bold, insightful, and original voice in philosophy of education, and these qualities shine through in his engaging, A Primer for Philosophy of Education. It is an excellent resource for students new to education, but also for veterans, as Sam helps all see the familiar in a new way."
Associate Professor, Goshen College
"Rocha's mastery of metaphor enables him to lead the reader from the known into the unknown—in a way that brings delight and surprise. First he deepens one's intimacy with the known, thereby engaging the reader in anticipation of further surprises. At the same time it doesn't mask the requirement for rigor and discipline but rather announces their necessity. All the while his tone conveys a belief in the reader/student's capacity to respond to his call."
J. L. GREEN
Psychotherapist and Philosopher of Education
"Sam Rocha's A Primer for Philosophy and Education provides readers with reflections about philosophy and education from the vantage point of an artist and musician. It provides a helpful way forward for educators and students alike to reflect on the construction of a personal philosophy about learning and a philosophy of education in general. The primer adroitly uses the metaphor of painting to the work of crafting a philosophy of education and for reflection about learning. Rocha draws the reader in through personal narrative about the creative process and how it can be a liberating force in the development of philosophical insights. The primer is a summons to not only engage in philosophy or education, but to think concretely about the telos of philosophy and education itself."
Associate Director, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
“A Primer for Philosophy and Education is a wonderful book that not only clarifies and introduces both philosophy and education in ordinary language, it also makes the subject matter personal and important—with very interesting descriptions and examples. The length of the book makes it a perfect first reading in any course related to philosophy or education. I can't wait to use it in my courses in philosophy of education and educational foundations.”
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of South Florida
“I am so impressed with how eloquently and simply Sam Rocha is able to invite his readers into ideas that really are quite complicated. And the final section on love is one of the most beautiful things I have ever encountered.”
Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy of Education, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
"Sam Rocha's Primer is an absolutely unique text that manages to pull the reader into a new world. Once you have started reading, it is impossible to stop before you are finished. Rocha's feat is to write a short text which, at the end, gives a feeling of having undertaken an infinitely long journey. All the way there is encouragement for reflection, that is, a loving kind of reflection that strives for wisdom. Due to its distinctive style, the primer is a rare work, but the hope is that there will be more such works in the genre of philosophy of education."
Professor of Education, University of Bergen
"Rocha's illustrated primer is an eye opening introduction to the philosophy of education. And, unlike too many illustrated texts, its' pen and ink drawings are a thought provoking complement to this highly readable introduction."
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bellarmine University
"More often than not, philosophical primers come in one or two forms. First, there is the primer that is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of argumentation and reasoning. Second, there are a variety of primers on philosophers and philosophers of education which give basic biographical details, collect insightful excerpts from their work, and end with guiding questions to facilitate class discussion. Rocha has presented us with a third, highly unique option. For him, a primer is not about cultivating a set of skills or about providing background information. Rather the primer primes the student for a philosophical experience. Through a mix of personal stories, highly imaginative prose, and playful metaphors, Rocha presents the primer as an opening to being philosophical. Thus to prime oneself means, on the level of embodiment, relaxing, and, on the level of the mind, opening up and being receptive. Philosophy here is not simply learning about rules for formulating arguments. Nor is it acquiring information about what philosophers in the past have said. It is rather about understanding why anything is anything at all through careful, attentive description. But in the end what the primer primes the student for is neither philosophy nor education but for love. Rocha concludes with a passionate plea that at their most basic level education and philosophy are united in romantic entanglement through the love of wisdom. Any student who reads this primer will be inspired to love the world, and through this love become educated."
Assistant Professor, Montclair State University
"What a gift! Sam Rocha's Primer not only takes the pedagogue's fundamental, most ethical step of declaring to students and to the world what [his] philosophy of education is, but the author does so in a didactic and loving way that much resembles the prophetic voice of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Rocha's invites students who first encounter the subject of education in academic settings to take responsibility for thinking and knowing as a pre-conditional act for those concerned with the moral implications of affecting in conscious, deliberate ways the teaching and learning of others."
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, DePauw University
"Sam Rocha’s Primer is a strong example of the strength of the performative, a piece that at once lays out a vision for philosophy and education and accomplishes that vision in the telling. Although presumably a primer for the introductory courses he teaches, Rocha’s Primer deftly negotiates key themes in philosophy that echo his Jamesian leanings about the centrality of things, wisdom, and love. Couched in straightforward language yet retaining the tone and tenor of his field, Rocha manages to deliver an introduction of a philosophy of education that critiques contemporary schooling and serves as a call to action for a return to understanding education as a love of knowing and being known."
WALTER S. GERSHON
Assistant Professor, Kent State University
“As a practitioner, often the focus of education is based on the action of doing and the outcomes demonstrated on assessments. Dr. Rocha reminds educators that education is a process of experience and reflection that cannot always be measured by an assessment.”
Assistant Principal, Fargo South High School