Neil Postman Always Rings Twice


After my mother died, in cleaning out her house I went through my father’s old books, pulling out the ones that I might find of use in my own writing and teaching. Among those was a dusty paperback of Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s 1969 Teaching as a Subversive Activity. I returned to it recently, remembering it from my father’s time and and appreciating it for what it offers today. Toward the end, the authors present a list of eleven things a teacher can do to improve education. The ninth of these struck me as particularly significant for the contemporary classroom:

Anyone interested in helping students deal with the future (not to mention the present) would naturally be concerned, even preoccupied, with media of communication…. [F]ocus on the question “In what ways are media affecting our society?”… No matter what “subject” you are teaching, media are relevant…. You might bear in…

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