TEACHING AS A SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY by Neil & Charles Weingartner Postman


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What the authors have to say about the desirability of relevancy, of free-flowing inquiry, rather than stagnant classrooms where the syllabus holds sovereign sway, has been less shrilly enunciated in Dr. Glasser's Schools Without Failure (1968, p. 1258). What is unusual is the authors' bellicosity, an unwelcome (or welcome depending upon one's sociopolitical schemata) explosive approach to pedagogy. They claim ""shock therapy"" is needed in the present educational dilemma. Chapter I is thereupon dubbed ""Crap Detection,"" meaning a rooting out of the irrelevant from the student's classroom experience. Once they have blurted out something about most teachers being ""shills for corporate interests,"" the authors stop popping spitballs long enough to settle down to a spotty but vigorous discussion of the inquiry method, in which they have undoubtedly had a good deal of success (the samples included of classroom confrontations are interesting studies in teacher-student dynamics). Their suggestions for innovations (switching English and Math teachers, elementary and high school teachers, for example) will be generally regarded as classic visionary howlers. But the advice to the individual teacher facing each day's classroom chores are for the most part stimulating, valid, even for one teaching the grand irrelevancies of Euclid bare. Tough, loud, unruly teacher talk to shake up the faculty cafeteria.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1969
ISBN: 0385290098
Publisher: Delacorte