Wednesday, March 22, 2006

REREADING YOUR MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS

WELL, NOW I THINK I'LL TRY A BOOK REVIEW, OF SORTS
A book which highly influenced me, back in the otherwise dark ages of teacher training, was Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner's Teaching as a Subversive Activity, 1969. Have you read it? The provocative title belies some important thoughts on how to make education relevant for the real world.
My well-worn Delta paperback notes that was some 37 years ago. For those circa the era, the USA put a man on the moon that July (where were you?), and the summer was full of anti-war protests and riots.
Long before the Internet, and probably introduced to me by a graduate professor, the book would have to be one of my Top Ten Rec's for teaching, training, facilitating intercultural communication principles.
It reminds me of a recent text which I've mentioned earlier in this blog.
Lives On the Boundary:The Struggles and Achievements of America's Underprepared by Mike Rose, published twenty years later in 1889, is also a very relevant text in my opinion, moving from an autobiographical memoir of a second language speaker to a treatisewho at the time of publishing was the Director of the Writing Lab at UCLA.
Have you read them? I'd love to discuss. What do you think of this quotation as an empowering thought for educators and trainers?
From Postman and Weingartner, page 23:
"Here is the point. Once you have learned how to ask questions--relevant and appropriate and substantial questions--you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know."
But they go on to remark how few classrooms or learning experiences actually model this, and truly teach today's students how to think critically.
For those to whom college may be a strange and intimidating culture, those of us using a multiplicity of teaching styles and multicultural approaches will be more inviting....come to the potluck, not just the table I've set, as Ed reminded some of us in a workshop together recently!

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