Monday, October 18, 2010

Twitter Book Club: Neil Postman (1996) The End of Education - Chapter 9

The Word Weavers/ The World Makers

"From the earliest grades through graduate school, students are given definitions and, with few exceptions, (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

I think so many needless conflicts could be resolved if we paid more attention to language. It seems like most of the arguments I get into revolve around working out how the different parties coming to the table have different definitions for things and that the debate almost always boils down to a negotiation of terms. But, most people don't enter their arguments realizing this about the nature of language.

"Questions, we might say, are the principal intellectual instruments available to human beings." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

This reminds me of a speech I was in audience for as an incoming freshman at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in 1995 when the dean told us new students that they will have done their job well if we leave college with more questions than we came in with, that the hallmark of a good education is the growth in capacity to ask deeper questions. I think this is true, but as an incoming freshman it wasn't exactly what I or the parents present whose kids were first generation college goers wanted to hear. I wonder if he considered waiting to give that speech until all of our tuition checks cleared.

"Then how is it possible that no more than one in one hundred students has never been exposed to an (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"A metaphor is not an ornament. It is an organ of perception. Through metaphors, we see the world as one thing or another." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

Again, I couldn't agree more. I use metaphors a lot and am quite fond of them.

"it has always astonished me that those who write about the subject of education do not pay sufficient (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

Interesting observation, but I am not sure I agree with this. I seem to remember a lot of training on asking good questions in my undergraduate studies and tons of it in graduate school when studying UbD. Of course UbD and their Essential Questions came along after Postman wrote this book and I received my undergraduate education just after this book was published. Perhaps Postman had something to do with that. I don't know.

"Definitions, questions, metaphors - these are three of the most potent elements with which human language constructs a worldview." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Science-fiction writers need not strain invention in their search for interesting time-transporting (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

A couple weeks ago I had a similar conversation with my oldest daughter. We were talking about time and time machines. I am not quite sure how we came to be talking about this or what led to her Eureka! But she said, "Dad, I am a time machine. Wait right here, I will go travel into the future." Then she left the room. A few minutes later she returned and said, "See! It works, I can travel through time, but only forwards." Not quite what Postman talks about but fun and relevant story nonetheless.

"Although we know that we cannot step into the "same" river twice, abstracting allows us to act as if we can." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"The critical point about our mapping of the world through language is that the symbols we use, whether (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"we may conclude that humans live in two worlds - the world of events and things, and the world of words about events and things." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"we must add to the questions we ask of definition, What is the source of power that enforces the (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Technology may have entered the schools but not technology education." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

I battle this issue all the time. It is one reason I am working on writing a book called, "The Technology Integrationist Field Guide." So often the people I work with expect me to be a "technology trainer" instead of an educator because for the past x number of years all the education about technology that has occurred in schools, both for students and for teachers, has been training on how to use the stuff, not education about it and its effects.

"educators confuse the teaching of how to use technology with technology education." Postmanless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Technology education is not a technical subject. It is a branch of the humanities. Technical knowledge can (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

Finished Postman's End of Education. When the copyright runs out I want to pub this w my name on it saying "this is what I wd have written"less than a minute ago via Twitterrific

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