My Review of “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” by N. Postman & C. Weingartner

Teaching As a Subversive ActivityTeaching As a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good book that teachers ought to read. Very stimulating, and though I disagree with some of its emphases and don’t agree with everything it says, particularly on merely “survival” and on being critical of everything because you must be right and authority must be distrusted, I do see that it is a good balance, for many follow blindly a failing curriculum/education paradigm. But for those already hyper-critical of any kind of tradition, one should, naturally be critical of being critical.

However, the questions-based approach(es) in the book were well worth the price of admission. The last few chapters were good, though I was not as impressed with the last chapter, where Postman & Weingartner talk about survival as an end in itself, almost in a “Walking Dead” kind of way. We got to do whatever we can to survive, and while that is understandable, life is not just about “mere survival” but we must also address larger questions of purpose, value, morality, right and wrong (though of course, things are not always black and white, as Postman & Weingartner remind us – we don’t live in a binary world).

I appreciate Postman & Weingartner’s practical approach, but we must not forget that pragmatics cannot be the only thing that governs how we live, learn, or teach. But to end on a positive note, Postman & Weingartner are right to insist that if students aren’t learning, then the teacher isn’t teaching. There is no such thing as “teaching” in a way that others cannot learn. The student should be the center/focus, not a syllabus or curriculum. And grading is just terrible.

Teachers ought to read this and try the practical suggestions that Postman & Weingartner suggest at the end of the book.

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One thought on “My Review of “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” by N. Postman & C. Weingartner

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Testing and Grades and How/If They Relate to Learning: A Thought Experiment | Home of Uninterpreted Facts

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