Frases de Neil Postman

15   9

Neil Postman

Fecha de nacimiento: 8. Marzo 1931
Fecha de muerte: 5. Octubre 2003

Neil Postman fue un sociólogo y crítico cultural estadounidense. Fue discípulo de Marshall McLuhan, director del Departamento de Cultura y Comunicación de la Universidad de Nueva York, y profesor de Ecología de los medios o Media Ecology.

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„In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Contexto: In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them. What students do in a classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say), and what they learn to do is the classroom's message (as McLuhan would say). Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly they sit and listen to the teacher. Mostly, they are required to believe in authorities, or at least pretend to such belief when they take tests. Mostly they are required to remember. They are almost never required to make observations, formulate definitions, or perform any intellectual operations that go beyond repeating what someone else says is true. They are rarely encouraged to ask substantive questions, although they are permitted to ask about administrative and technical details. (How long should the paper be? Does spelling count? When is the assignment due?) It is practically unheard of for students to play any role in determining what problems are worth studying or what procedures of inquiry ought to be used. Examine the types of questions teachers ask in classrooms, and you will find that most of them are what might technically be called "convergent questions," but what might more simply be called "Guess what I am thinking " questions.

„One of the most common manifestations of the lack of this kind of semantic awareness can be found in what is called "prejudice": a response to an individual is predetermined because the name of the class in which the person is included is prejudiced negatively.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Contexto: A variation of the "photographic" effect of language consists of how blurred the photograph is. "Blurring" occurs as a result of general class names, rendering distinctions among members of the class less visible. One of the most common manifestations of the lack of this kind of semantic awareness can be found in what is called "prejudice": a response to an individual is predetermined because the name of the class in which the person is included is prejudiced negatively. The most obvious and ordinary remark made in cases of this kind, "They are all alike," makes the point clear.

„A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided.“

—  Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985)
Contexto: A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided. The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression. Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into a sordid if not a murderous emotion. Another way of saying this is that a new technology tends to favor some groups of people and harms other groups. School teachers, for example, will, in the long run, probably be made obsolete by television, as blacksmiths were made obsolete by the automobile, as balladeers were made obsolete by the printing press. Technological change, in other words, always results in winners and losers.

„Survival in a stable environment depends almost entirely on remembering the strategies for survival that have been developed in the past, and so the conservation and transmission of these becomes the primary mission of education. But, a paradoxical situation develops when change becomes the primary characteristic of the environment. Then the task turns inside out — survival in a rapidly changing environment depends almost entirely upon being able to identify which of the old concepts are relevant to the demands imposed by the new threats to survival, and which are not.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Contexto: The BASIC FUNCTION of all education, even in the most traditional sense, is to increase the survival prospects of the group. If this function is fulfilled, the group survives. If not, it doesn't. There have been times when this function was not fulfilled, and groups (some of them we even call "civilizations") disappeared. Generally, this resulted from changes in the kind of threats the group faced. The threats changed, but the education did not, and so the group, in a way, "disappeared itself" (to use a phrase from Catch-22). The tendency seems to be for most "educational" systems, from patterns of training in "primitive" tribal societies to school systems in technological societies, to fall imperceptibly into a role devoted exclusively to the conservation of old ideas, concepts, attitudes, skills, and perceptions. This happens largely because of the unconsciously held belief that these old ways of thinking and doing are necessary to the survival of the group. …Survival in a stable environment depends almost entirely on remembering the strategies for survival that have been developed in the past, and so the conservation and transmission of these becomes the primary mission of education. But, a paradoxical situation develops when change becomes the primary characteristic of the environment. Then the task turns inside out — survival in a rapidly changing environment depends almost entirely upon being able to identify which of the old concepts are relevant to the demands imposed by the new threats to survival, and which are not. Then a new educational task becomes critical: getting the group to unlearn (to "forget") the irrelevant concepts as a prior condition of learning. What we are saying is that the "selective forgetting" is necessary for survival.

„The new education is a process and will not suffer from the applied imaginations of all who wish to be a part of it.“

—  Neil Postman

[1] Will your questions increase the learner's will as well as capacity to learn? Will they help to give him a sense of joy in learning? Will they help to provide the learner with confidence in his ability to learn?
[2] In order to get answers, will the learner be required to make inquiries? (Ask further questions, clarify terms, make observations, classify data, etc?)
[3] Does each question allow for alternative answers (which implies alternative modes of inquiry)?
[4] Will the process of answering the questions tend to stress the uniqueness of the learner?
[6] Would the answers help the learner to sense and understand the universals in the human condition and so enhance his ability to draw closer to other people?
Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Contexto: These questions are not intended to represent a catechism for the new education. These are samples and illustrations of the kind of questions we think worth answering. Our set of questions is best regarded as a metaphor of our sense of relevance. If you took the trouble to list your own questions, it is quite possible that you prefer many or them to ours. Good enough. The new education is a process and will not suffer from the applied imaginations of all who wish to be a part of it. But in evaluating your own questions, as well as ours, bear in mind that there are certain standards that must be used. These standards must also be stated in the form of questions:

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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