4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of means and ends : Education redefined
The blurb of the book is interesting enough to make one want to pick it up. And when one does begin the voyage, one realizes immediately that the author isnt talking about the end of education in terms of its being finished, rather he is speaking of the Purpose of education. Once this distinction is made, Postman brilliantly argues about how all of today's educational...
Published on May 19 2003 by Ashwin
3.0 out of 5 stars The End of Postman
Especially good was the book's beginning discussion of gods, myths or "narratives" as motivating forces. This topic was well presented. As to schooling there is nothing wrong with the concept of the public schools turning out "Americans", though this is hardly a novel concept. All in all my overall impression is that the book presents a utopian...
Published on Sept. 20 2000 by John A. Jasilli
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of means and ends : Education redefined,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)The blurb of the book is interesting enough to make one want to pick it up. And when one does begin the voyage, one realizes immediately that the author isnt talking about the end of education in terms of its being finished, rather he is speaking of the Purpose of education. Once this distinction is made, Postman brilliantly argues about how all of today's educational initiatives in the US are more about the means, and hence do not address any root change in the learning process. He then goes on to categorically define the problems in the first part of the book, and his ideas quite almost leap out of the pages in the second part of the book as he boldly architects a probable scenario of the future of education, in terms of its driving purpose.
In doing so, the author gives numerous examples to illustrate his points of view, while all the while admitting that the book is not an exhaustive list of ideas, rather an exhaustion of his mind! Quite a brilliantly written book that cannot but stop and make the reader think. It would be a very different world if every teacher in high school read this book and implemented just even a small part of it in their teaching and actions. In no ways a negative, it must be noted that Postman's religious beliefs and admiration for the US is thrown into sharp relief in his writings.
Lastly, this book gave me 13 books and 7 authors as a potential list to read up on, the book is verily a rich source of ideas and allows the reader to make his own reading list to explore some of the ideas in depth and reach his/her own path.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Purpose, or the Termination?,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)The title End of Education is not as cynical as I had
expected. I had interpreted "End" to mean "finish" although
the book is really more about the "purpose" and
priorities of our schools. Postman makes a well-argued
case for profound changes in our approach to public
"The question is not Does or doesn't public schooling
Another important point deals with multiculturalism vs.
The first half of this book discusses "gods" or narratives.
"Public education does not serve a public. It creates
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor, student, teacher, parent, citizent: a must-read!,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)If one is a Postman reader to write that this is a great book is almost irreverent. I don't mean to say that anyone -including Professor Postman- is beyond criticism. I am trying to say that stating that "Postman is a fascinating writer, incisive in his commentary, original in his thinking" is very much obvious.
Aside of all the "banalities" what I may add for this book is that although its intended audience is American is very appropriate for other countries, at least of the western world (certainly very fitting for Greece), and I suspect for the majority of the countries, where policymakers, teachers, parents and students are struggling with the meaning of education. I suspect that the problems of education are universal and the questions that Postman poses are universal too.
I know, actually I have learned from Postman, that there are great and established scholars in the field of education - and I must admit that I am not familiar with their writings, but I will dare saying that you cannot afford NOT to read this book. By the way, having read other Postman's books I might suggest that this one probably is one of his better ones, bringing many intended and unintended gifts, such as lessons on language as a tool of understanding the world, the issue of multiculturalism, of patriotism, or religion, and how all these concepts pertain to today's world. Buy this book!
4.0 out of 5 stars Profound Education Theory,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)As a person who is concerned about the fate of the world, this book was of considerable interest to me. Neil Postman discusses the ramifications of various education theories, and of what benefit they may be to future generations.
He explains his theories carefully and in the friendly style I have come to expect. He draws many of his lessons from our greatest teacher, History.
However, this is not a book for classroom teachers, because it addresses the underpinnings, not the practices of teaching. To fully implement his ideas would require the power of an administrator or a superintendant, not a teacher.
Nevertheless, it is an ambitious and noteworthy book for anyone interested in the way we shape future generations.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enriches the Debate,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)After 20 years as a student, I have a tendency to find most pedagogical discussions boring; but Postman's clever, witty, and often controvertial writing style piqued me. Despite some of its problems (see reviewer John A. Jasilli), the book provides lots of food for thought. Moreover, it was fun to read. For those reasons I highly recommend it. Postman has has successfully contributed to and enriched the perennial debate.
4.0 out of 5 stars Tips to teachers?,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)I read this book when I was doing research before I wrote a course on leadership and training. My initial question dealt with how to create meaningful goals for/with people (students, employees etc.) I found Postmans book both refreshing and somewhat conservative. It's actually filled with interesting ideas and even the occassional tip for teachers. Given the brevity of the book I found it very good. He actually accomplishes to present a quite coherent vision of the future of education in less than 200 pages.
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound Thoughts on Path of Education,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)This profound thinker and writer on some of contemporary culture's hottest issues, i.e. tv, technology and now education, has some very abnormal approaches to viewing the educational scene.
He begins by dividing education into a metholodological and a philosophical element, with the methodology gaining all the attention.
So, he shifts this, proclaiming that the motivation for education is lacking and this is the problem. We hear little, especially from the educational profession, about why education? We only hear the how.
Postmas offers some alternative narratives that would bring this motivation back. He unloads each of them: spaceship earth, fallen angel, american experiment, law of diversity and word makers-world creators.
Each of these is profound and intense. Seems to this reader that Postman raises a significant question here, one that not too many others talk about --- why educate in the first place?
3.0 out of 5 stars The End of Postman,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)Especially good was the book's beginning discussion of gods, myths or "narratives" as motivating forces. This topic was well presented. As to schooling there is nothing wrong with the concept of the public schools turning out "Americans", though this is hardly a novel concept. All in all my overall impression is that the book presents a utopian fantasy -- imagine a world in which students and teachers alike are never bored, but are always infused with enthusiasm over the overarching goals of education. Postman's utopia, pertaining to schooling, seems to be a scaled down version of a full-blown societal utopia (Marxism). Like Marx, Postman gives no means or method as to how to actually run such a system. In fact, right from the start Postman seems proud to declare that the discussion of the method(s) of schooling is beneath his dignity. Because, in his vision, the enthusiasm generated by his proposed educational "narrative" will be so invigorating that the students will necessarily become chock filled with learning regardless of what method is inflicted upon them. This seems overly optimistic.
Postman's proposition that his 5 pet topics will generate such enthusiasm is arrogant and delusional. Everyone knows that different topics interest different people. You may be enthused about gardening though it may bore other people to tears. The same is true about every topic, including "spaceship earth", the fallen angel, etc.
There are any number of minor errors that can be nitpicked over. Postman declares that he can conceive of no god that would destroy people or cities -- has he forgotten the biblical stories of Noah and the Flood, or Sodom & Gomorrah? He states that the non-public schools are divisive -- but the motto of the Catholic schools is "for God & Country". This is hardly divisive.
But I think Postman's most central error concerns critical thinking. Critical thinking is a subject unto itself. If it is to be taught, then it itself is likely to be as boring or not-boring as any other subject matter. Yes it may be fun for students to engage in a bull session once in a while to expose them to the possibility of critical thinking. But critical thinking is hard work; it entails doing the ordinary work, which is hard enough, and then going further. And it requires a large fund of knowledge, something Postman surprisingly eschews (on the flimsy ground that it's too hard or arbitrary to determine which facts should be included in the fund). But without a solid grasp of the facts, it's impossible to form and to evaluate opinions in a critical way. So, Postman's proposal that students could be critical thinkers without having to be bothered with a fund of knowledge, goes hand in hand with his confused idea that serious learning at school could take place on the basis of pure enthusiasm without due attention to the means needed to achieve the desired end -- it's a fantasy.
5.0 out of 5 stars A courageous, radical book,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)Neil Postman says out loud what many informed observers, both inside and outside the education establishment have been whispering to one another for sometime now. He takes on sacred cows, and ingrained assumptions about the purpose of education. This book develops a cogent theory of how we can educate human beings, humanely and successfully.
The book is extremely well-written; the prose does not get in the way of the ideas, which is refreshing in a book about education issues. His arguments are carefully laid out, well-supported, and documented. Whether you agree with him or not, he provokes clear thought. If you agree with him, this book will force you to examine the consequences of your positions. Should you happen to disagree with him, the process of working out how and why you disagree with him will make your positions stronger.
A very fine book, highly recommended to anyone who cares about the future of education in the USA.
5.0 out of 5 stars Just How Radical This Is,
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)Just how radical this book is depends, I suppose, on your investment in education. From a teacher's prespective, I find in startling refreshing and valuable, because Postman is willing to take on difficult, "sacred cow" movements in education in a cogent manner. He isn't trying to be controversial...on purpose, but he will if he has to do so.
For example, he takes on multiculturalism, an approach that is strong and getting stronger in our public schools. For Postman, it is important to maintain and present a common cultural heritage--something that will unify all of us--and yet maintain separate, sub- or minicultures in our homes and communities. But he presents his arguments with support and erudition, so that whatever your position might be after reading him, it will be something worth defending. In other words, it is worth reading this book if you care at all about education.
Lastly, it's short, written clearly and without verbosity or grandstanding.
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The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School by Neil Postman (Paperback - Oct. 29 1996)
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