Does the image of an apple hold back educational change?


The purpose of an iconic image is to create and sustain a message. So, why does an apple represent education? It might be a reference to Newton’s apple, which certainly reflects the search for knowledge, but here’s what most people think:

  • “A” the first letter of apple and “A” is the first letter of the alphabet.
  • The apple was an inexpensive and healthy gift, intended to supplement a teacher’s meager income.
  • The apple is the ultimate bribe for good marks.
  • Johnny Appleseed spread apple seeds across the country; teachers spread knowledge.
  • The apple is a biblical reference linking Adam and Eve’s apple to new beginnings.

Hmmm, since education should be associated with learning to think critically, question, problem solve, and discover, perhaps the apple isn’t the best choice. Maybe it’s time to retire the apple and search for an iconic image that represents learning as opportunities to engage in a variety of active, thought-filled and innovative processes.  Any ideas? If so, contact us at

P.S. While we’re at it, could we also ditch the all too common images of desks in rows, blackboards with chalk alphabets, and the image of a big red A+ or F circled at the bottom of an assignment?

For more conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or

About Beyond The Apple

Beyond the Apple provides everything a Professional Learning Community needs! Designed to follow Beyond the Apple's Tenets of Adult Education, our videos re-ignite the excitement of professional conversations among educators in the classroom, university, colleges and professional training. Our free teaching and learning resources provide a follow up with more information that is current, research based and practical.
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1 Response to Does the image of an apple hold back educational change?

  1. Pingback: Rethinking Alphabet Charts |

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