— Neil Postman American writer and academic 1931 - 2003
Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969)
Context: 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.