Tuesday, 11 September 2018

QotD: "The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency: only I, the teacher, can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I then enforce, punishing deviants who resist what I have been told to tell them to think."


"The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency: Good [students] wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. It is the most important lesson [I teach]: that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. The expert makes all the important choices; only I, the teacher, can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I then enforce ... punishing deviants who resist what I have been told to tell them to think. This power to control what children will think lets me separate successful students from failures very easily... 
    "Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have time for, or actually it is decided by my faceless employers. The choices are theirs, why should I argue? Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.... Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist; it is more difficult, naturally, if the kid has respectable parents who come to his aid, but that happens less and less in spite of the bad reputation of schools. No middle-class parents I have ever met actually believe that their kid's school is one of the bad ones. Not one single parent in twenty-six years of teaching. That's amazing and probably the best testimony to what happens to families when mother and father have been well-schooled themselves, learning these seven lessons... 
    "We've built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don't know how to tell themselves what to do. It's one of the biggest lessons I teach." 
    ~ John Taylor Gatto, (retired) award-winning teacher and author of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, from his article on 'The 7-Lesson Schoolteacher'.

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