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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. Wikipedia

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

„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

„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

„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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„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.

„All the while, let's not forget, very little, if any, substantive intellectual activity is going on.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: The elimination of conventional tests... is necessary because, as soon as they are used as judgement-making instruments, the whole process of schooling shifts from education to training intended to produce passing grades on tests. … "Courses" turn out to be contingent upon testing. A "course" generally consists of a series of briefings for the great Trivia contest. It's a kind of rigid quiz show. And it seems to work only if the contestants value the "prize." The prize, of course, is a "grade." An appropriate grade entitles the participant to continue playing the Trivia game. All the while, let's not forget, very little, if any, substantive intellectual activity is going on.

„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.“

—  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.

„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.

„What might have been politically therapeutic at one time may prove politically fatal at another.“

—  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.

„People and things are processes. Judgements convert them into fixed states.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: You cannot avoid making judgements but you can become more conscious of the way in which you make them. This is critically important because once we judge someone or something we tend to stop thinking about them or it. Which means, among other things, that we behave in response to our judgements rather than to that to which is being judged. People and things are processes. Judgements convert them into fixed states. This is one reason that judgements are often self-fulfilling. If a boy, for example, is judged as being "dumb" and a "nonreader" early in his school career, that judgement sets into motion a series of teacher behaviors that cause the judgement to become self-fulfilling. What we need to do then, if we are seriously interested in helping students to become good learners, is to suspend or delay judgements about them. One manifestation of this is the ungraded elementary school. But you can practice suspending judgement yourself tomorrow. It doesn't require any major changes in anything in the school except your own behavior.

„Very often children make declarative statements about things when they really mean only to elicit an informative response. In some cases, they do this because they have learned from adults that it is "better" to pretend that you know than to admit that you don't.“

—  Neil Postman

Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Kontext: We can justify the list we will submit on several grounds. First, many of these questions have literally been asked by children and adolescents when they are permitted to respond freely to the challenge of "What's Worth Knowing?" Second, some of these questions are based on careful listening to students, even though they were not at the time asking questions. Very often children make declarative statements about things when they really mean only to elicit an informative response. In some cases, they do this because they have learned from adults that it is "better" to pretend that you know than to admit that you don't. (An old aphorism describing this process goes: Children enter school as question marks and leave as periods.) In other cases they do this because they do not know how to ask certain kinds of questions. In any event, a simple translation of their declarative utterances will sometimes produce a great variety of deeply felt questions.

„Children come to school having been deeply conditioned by the biases of television.“

—  Neil Postman

Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992)
Kontext: In the United States, we can see such collisions everywhere... but... most clearly in the schools, where two great technologies confront each other in uncompromising aspect for the control of students' minds. On the one hand, there is the world of the printed word with its emphasis on logic, sequence, history, exposition, objectivity, detachment, and discipline. On the other there is the world of television with its emphasis on imagery, narrative, presentness, simultaneity, intimacy, immediate gratification, and quick emotional response. Children come to school having been deeply conditioned by the biases of television.... children who cannot organize their thought into logical structure even in a simple paragraph, children who cannot attend to lectures or oral explanations for more than a few minutes at a time... They are failures because there is a media war going on, and they are on the wrong side — at least for the moment.

„There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.“

—  Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985)
Kontext: Henry David Thoreau told us: "All our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end." …Goethe told us: "One should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it is possible, speak a few reasonable words." …Socrates told us: "The unexamined life is not worth living." …the prophet Micah told us: "What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" And I can tell you... what Confucius, Isaiah, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, Spinoza and Shakespeare told us... There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

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

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