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WoW: Philomath

What is Philomath?

Philomath is a word we use in regard to seeking out wisdom. Philomath is of Greek origin. It is a combination of “philo” meaning loving or fond of, and “mathos” meaning learning or to learn. In its full definition, Philomath means a lover of learning, or a scholar. This is a perfect word for us to discuss and breakdown as we are all learning.

This word has two parts, and both are equally important. First off is “philo”. For the Greeks “philo” is a word they used to mean love. Love, or passion for learning is the first essential element of being a philomath. It's in this passion and love for learning that we are able discover new things about ourselves, others, and the world we would never have dreamed of before. Pause for just a moment and think about something you love or are passionate about. Let's say it's food. If you are a foodie then you explore food from multiple aspects. You are trying new and unique foods your pallet has never experienced before. You may even be taking cooking classes on your way to becoming a "master chef". Because of this passion for food it leads you to seek out opportunities to expand your knowledge and experiences and continue your learning for food.

Love of, or passion for, is the first half of philomath but learn or learning is the next equally important piece. Having desire and passion to learn is very important but without the learning piece our passion will only take us so far. So how can we be lifelong learners and why is it important to continue learning our road to acquiring wisdom? This pursuit is quite simple. We will review several of these again in our parting challenge to you today, but it starts with curiosity.

Curiosity for the unknown and the unfamiliar. “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”- William Arthur Ward. This curiosity is often what burns our flame (passion) for learning. From there, curiosity leads us to seeking out more information. Books, articles, journals, blogs, etc. are often the best resources to start with in your learning journey. The significance of reading is often undervalued. Abraham Lincoln captures the significance of reading in this quote, “All I have learned, I learned from books.”

After we read up and gather what knowledge we need then we can take that knowledge and apply it to our life. There is no right answer for how that is applied but in the case of the foodie it means trying those new foods you've never tasted before. It's attempting a new recipe you just read up on and it's testing out those newly acquired cooking skills in your own kitchen. However you choose to demonstrate your passion for learning, the benefits will be endless.

Today’s Takeaway:

On the journey to wisdom, being a philomath is a lifelong practice. "Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” -Albert Einstein. It starts with developing a passion for learning and seeing the benefits continuous learning has on your life. Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” - Anthony J. D'Angelo. Then take that passion and pursue learning daily. This lifelong pursuit of learning will turn you into a philomath and discover some wisdom along the way. As we are equipping our students with the skills to enhance their own learning, it’s crucial that we pass along this same passion into them so that they develop a desire to be lifelong learners. “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” - Peter Drucker.


Parting Challenge:

Below are a few ways you can demonstrate and practice being a philomath yourself.

  • Start reading more! Pick up a new book for yourself and begin your journey.

  • Learn a new skill you now have the passion to pursue.

  • Research a time or event from history that has always fascinated you and expand your knowledge on it.

  • Find a motivational or self-help podcast you can listen to and jot down a few life lessons you can take from it.


Continue the Conversation:

Keep the conversation on philomath going by meeting with a peer and discuss the following:

  • What new ways to inspire your students can you discover together?

  • How can you challenge each other to pursue our passions for learning?

  • Exchange some of your favorite quotes about learning and wisdom with each other.

We love to hear your stories!

​Like us on Facebook or Instagram, and checkout our Pinterest board for some more great ideas and this week’s word. Share this post with a friend and don't forget to check out our other Words of the Week.

​The Auto-B-Good 9-Virtues SEL program features 63 award-winning animated lessons that help students develop good character and become rising stars. To learn more about this great resource, visit us at

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