Make Them Less Dumb

What is the point of this job called schoolteacher? Over at Paris/Tampa blog, Philip Waring is revisiting the late Neil Postman:

Now, it’s very easy to say we need to teach students how to think, but it is not entirely clear how we can get students to learn to think…. One possible way of doing that is to abandon the whole idea of trying to make students intelligent and focus on the idea of making them less dumb.

This is not just some semantic razzle-dazzle but is exactly the procedure that physicians and lawyers follow, which is one of the reasons I would guess they make so much money. Doctors do not generally concern themselves with what is good health; they concentrate on what is sickness. And lawyers don’t think too much about what is justice; they think about what is injustice.

Using this model in teaching would imply identifying and understanding various forms of stupidity and then working to eliminate as many of those as we could.

The interview where Philip dug this up is interesting. Postman also says: "My complaint about Sesame Street is that it makes children love television, not school."

Uh oh. Nash and I are usually in front of the TV at 6am. Watching Sesame St.