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Neil Postman

Geburtstag: 8. März 1931
Todesdatum: 5. Oktober 2003

Neil Postman war ein US-amerikanischer Medienwissenschaftler, insbesondere ein Kritiker des Mediums Fernsehen und in den 1980er-Jahren ein bekannter Sachbuchautor.

Zitate Neil Postman

„In vieler Hinsicht funktioniert ein Satz durchaus wie eine Maschine, und dies zeigt sich nirgendwo deutlicher als in jenen Sätzen, die wir Fragen nennen.“

—  Neil Postman

Das Technopol: die Macht der Technologien und die Entmündigung der Gesellschaft, S. 136. Übersetzer: Reinhard Kaiser. Frankfurt am Main, 1992. ISBN 3100624130. ISBN 978-3100624130

„Ohne konkrete Symbole ist der Computer bloß ein Haufen Schrott.“

—  Neil Postman

Das Technopol: die Macht der Technologien und die Entmündigung der Gesellschaft, S. 123. Übersetzer: Reinhard Kaiser. Frankfurt am Main, 1992. ISBN 3-10-062413-0

„Der Bürokrat, der sich mit einem Computer gewappnet hat, ist der heimliche Gesetzgeber unserer Zeit und zugleich eines ihrer größten Übel.“

—  Neil Postman

Das Technopol: die Macht der Technologien und die Entmündigung der Gesellschaft, S. 125. Übersetzer: Reinhard Kaiser. Frankfurt am Main, 1992. ISBN 3100624130. ISBN 978-3100624130

„Die Historiker wissen auch, dass sie ihre Geschichten zu einem bestimmten Zweck schreiben - nicht selten, um die Gegenwart entweder zu verherrlichen oder zu verdammen.“

—  Neil Postman

Das Technopol: die Macht der Technologien und die Entmündigung der Gesellschaft, S. 204. Übersetzer: Reinhard Kaiser. Frankfurt am Main, 1992. ISBN 3100624130. ISBN 978-3100624130

„Wenn das Fernrohr das Auge war, das den Zugang zu einer Welt neuer Tatsachen eröffnete und zu neuen Methoden, um diese Tatsachen zu ermitteln, dann war die Druckpresse das Stimmband.“

—  Neil Postman

Das Technopol: die Macht der Technologien und die Entmündigung der Gesellschaft, S. 73. Übersetzer: Reinhard Kaiser. Frankfurt am Main, 1992. ISBN 3100624130. ISBN 978-3100624130

„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)
Kontext: 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.

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„It is precisely through one's learning about the total context in which the language of a subject is expressed that personality may be altered.“

—  Neil Postman

Language Education in a Knowledge Context (1980)
Kontext: It is precisely through one's learning about the total context in which the language of a subject is expressed that personality may be altered. If one learns how to speak history or mathematics or literary criticism, one becomes, by definition, a different person. The point to be stressed is that a subject is a situation in which and through which people conduct themselves, largely in language. You cannot learn a new form of conduct without changing yourself.

„You cannot learn a new form of conduct without changing yourself.“

—  Neil Postman

Language Education in a Knowledge Context (1980)
Kontext: It is precisely through one's learning about the total context in which the language of a subject is expressed that personality may be altered. If one learns how to speak history or mathematics or literary criticism, one becomes, by definition, a different person. The point to be stressed is that a subject is a situation in which and through which people conduct themselves, largely in language. You cannot learn a new form of conduct without changing yourself.

„In the development of intelligence nothing can be more "basic" than learning how to ask productive questions.“

—  Neil Postman

Language Education in a Knowledge Context (1980)
Kontext: In the development of intelligence nothing can be more "basic" than learning how to ask productive questions. Many years ago, in Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Charles Weingartner and I expressed our astonishment at the neglect shown in school toward this language art.... The "back to the basics" philosophers rarely mention it, and practicing teachers usually do not find room for it in their curriculums. …all our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying that question-asking is our most important intellectual tool… There are at present no reading tests anywhere that measure the ability of students to address probing questions to the particular texts they are reading... What students need to know are the rules of discourse which comprise the subject, and among the most central of such rules are those which govern what is and what is not a legitimate question.

„In schools, adminstrators commonly become myopic as a result of confronting all of the problems the "requirements" generate. Thus they cannot see (or hear) the constituents the system ostensibly exists to serve — the students.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: Adminstrators are another curious consequence of a bureaucracy which has forgotten its reason for being. In schools, adminstrators commonly become myopic as a result of confronting all of the problems the "requirements" generate. Thus they cannot see (or hear) the constituents the system ostensibly exists to serve — the students. The idea that the school should consist of procedures specifically intended to help learners learn strikes many administrators as absurd — and "impractical." …Eichmann, after all, was "just an adminstrator." He was merely "enforcing requirements." The idea of "full time administrators" is palpably a bad one — especially in schools — and we say to hell with it. Most of the "administration" of the school should be a student responsibility. If schools functioned according to the democratic ideals they pay verbal allegience to, the students would long since have played a major role in developing policies and procedures guiding its operation. One of the insidious facts about totalitarianism is its seeming "efficiency." …Democracy — with all of its inefficiency — is still the best system we have so far for enhancing the prospects of our mutual survival. The schools should begin to act as if this were so.

„All of these concepts constitute the dynamics of the quest-questioning, meaning-making process that can be called "learning how to learn."“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: The new education has as its purpose the development of a new kind of person, one who — as a result of internalizing a different series of concepts — is an actively inquiring, flexible, creative, innovative, tolerant, liberal personality who can face uncertainty and ambiguity without disorientation, who can formulate viable new meanings to meet changes in the environment which threaten individual and mutual survival. The new education, in sum, is new because it consists of having students use the concepts most appropriate to the world in which we all must live. All of these concepts constitute the dynamics of the quest-questioning, meaning-making process that can be called "learning how to learn."

„The meaning I have given here to "language education" represents it as a form of metaeducation. That is, one learns a subject and, at the same time, learns what the subject is made of.“

—  Neil Postman

Language Education in a Knowledge Context (1980)
Kontext: The meaning I have given here to "language education" represents it as a form of metaeducation. That is, one learns a subject and, at the same time, learns what the subject is made of.... If it be said that such learning will prevent students from assimilating the facts of a subject, my reply is that this is the only way by which the facts can truly be assimilated. For it is not education to teach students to repeat sentences they do not understand so that they may pass examinations. That is the way of the computer. I prefer the student to be a programmer.

„The word "educate" is closely related to the word "educe." In the oldest pedagogic sense of the term, this meant a drawing out of a person something potential or latent.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: We have framed... some questions which in our judgement, are responsive to the actual and immediate as against the fancied and future needs of learners in the world as it is (not as it was). … There seemed to be little doubt that, from the point of view of the students, these questions made much more sense than the ones they usually have to memorize the right answers to in school. Contrary to conventional school practice, what that means is that we want to elicit from the students the meanings that they have already stored up so that they may subject these meanings to a testing and verifying, reordering and reclassifying, modifying and extending process. In this process the student is not a passive "recipient"; he becomes an active producer of knowledge. The word "educate" is closely related to the word "educe." In the oldest pedagogic sense of the term, this meant a drawing out of a person something potential or latent. We can after all, learn only in relation to what we already know. Again, contrary to common misconceptions, this means that, if we don't know very much, our capability for learning is not very great. This idea — virtually by itself — requires a major revision in most of the metaphors that shape school policies and procedures.

„The "requirements," indeed, force the teacher — and administrator — into the role of an authoritarian functionary whose primary task becomes that of enforcing the requirements rather than helping the learner to learn.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: Conventional "requirements" …are systems of prescriptions and proscriptions intended solely to limit the physical and intellectual movements of students — to "keep them in line, in sequence, in order," etc. They shift focus of attention from the learner (check [Goodwin] Watson again) to the "course." In the process, "requirements" violate virtually everything we know about learning because they comprise the matrix of an elaborate system of punishment, that in turn, comprise a threatening atmosphere in which positive learning cannot occur. The "requirements," indeed, force the teacher — and administrator — into the role of an authoritarian functionary whose primary task becomes that of enforcing the requirements rather than helping the learner to learn. The whole authority of the system is contingent upon the "requirements."

„We have framed… some questions which in our judgement, are responsive to the actual and immediate as against the fancied and future needs of learners in the world as it is (not as it was).“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: We have framed... some questions which in our judgement, are responsive to the actual and immediate as against the fancied and future needs of learners in the world as it is (not as it was). … There seemed to be little doubt that, from the point of view of the students, these questions made much more sense than the ones they usually have to memorize the right answers to in school. Contrary to conventional school practice, what that means is that we want to elicit from the students the meanings that they have already stored up so that they may subject these meanings to a testing and verifying, reordering and reclassifying, modifying and extending process. In this process the student is not a passive "recipient"; he becomes an active producer of knowledge. The word "educate" is closely related to the word "educe." In the oldest pedagogic sense of the term, this meant a drawing out of a person something potential or latent. We can after all, learn only in relation to what we already know. Again, contrary to common misconceptions, this means that, if we don't know very much, our capability for learning is not very great. This idea — virtually by itself — requires a major revision in most of the metaphors that shape school policies and procedures.

„Out of the maelstrom of happenings we abstract certain bits to attend to. We snapshot these bits by naming them. Then we begin responding to the names as if they are the bits that we have named, thus obscuring the effects of change.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: A fifth kind of semantic awareness has to do with what might be called the "photographic" effects of language. We live in a universe of constant process. Everything is changing in the physical world around us. We ourselves, physically at least, are always changing. Out of the maelstrom of happenings we abstract certain bits to attend to. We snapshot these bits by naming them. Then we begin responding to the names as if they are the bits that we have named, thus obscuring the effects of change. The names we use tend to "fix" that which is named, particularly if the names also carry emotional connotations... There are some semanticists who have suggested that such phrases as "national defense" and "national sovereignty" have been... maintained beyond the date for which they were prescribed. What might have been politically therapeutic at one time may prove politically fatal at another.

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

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