Thursday, August 7, 2008

Topic: Learning and Schooling

10-Second Review: Ready for a rant on what’s wrong with education? You won’t find a better ranter than Neil Postman.

Title: “The Ecology of Learning.” Neil Postman. English Journal (April 1974), 58-64. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Comment: Neil Postman was and is [if he’s still with us] a much-quoted and well-known critic of American education. In his opening paragraph to this article, he speaks eloquently of the differences between schooling and learning. RayS.

Quote: “The word learning…shouldn’t be there [in the title of his talk] at all. If I understand the speech I am about to give, I have not written about the conditions of learning so much as I have the conditions of schooling, and there’s a big difference between the two. Learning is to schooling what loving is to marriage, which is to say that in one instance you are talking about an intimate, life-long personal quest and, in the other, a complex social institution. I think learning can occur in school…. But if I were really inquiring into the ecology of learning, I honestly think I would never have occasion to mention school, or would mention it only in passing, since, for the most part, school is not a setting in which much attention is given to learning.” Neil Postman.

Comment: Eloquent diatribe against schools. But do hyperbole and half-truths count as doublespeak? RayS.

The purpose of this blog is to summarize articles on teaching English/language arts, from kindergarten through college, published in English education journals from the past.

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