phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The meaning and origin of the expression: He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches

Home > Phrase Dictionary - Meanings and Origins > He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches
Browse phrases beginning with:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ - Full List


He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches

Meaning

A criticism of the teaching profession, portraying it as second best.

Origin

he who can, does; he who cannot, teachesGeorge Bernard Shaw wrote this in his play Man and Superman, 1903. It is included as Maxim 36 in the Maxims for Revolutionists that is included in the work. It's not clear if Shaw was expressing his own opinion of those who Bob Dylan. in his song My Back Pages. called 'the mongrel dogs who teach', or whether it was merely the opinion of one of the play's characters. Another Shaw quotation about teaching gives us a clue:

"A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education."