“It is the Augustinian view, not the Manichean, which provides the most realistic perspective from which to see and act upon problems in our schools. The Manichean view of schools insures failure because it events a pseudo enemy (‘the Establishment’) and depends upon slogans and cliches rather than information. The Augustinian view is essentially one stated by Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us. The Augustinian view is…in short, oriented to the actualities of the outside environment, where the Manichean is oriented to ‘devils’ that exist only metaphorically in a rhetoric that mirrors only the paranoid-schizophrenia of those who use and are used by it.” The Soft Revolution by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, 1971.
I’ve been reading this book for the last few days and it’s helping to frame my thought around education reform. What brings true reform? The quote above reminds me that newquill must be Augustinian, not Manichean, in our strategy.
What do we want? What will we bring?
We do not want to destroy schools. We do not want to replace teachers. We do not want to put a stop to traditional schooling. newquill wants to leaven learning.
We want to get students reading classical literature that, through the inclusion of media, can instantly be made obviously relevant for students.
newquill opens the door for open-ended questions and honest, authentic comments.
We give the learner a stake in his or her learning by offering a tool kit that lets readers customize their response to text.
newquill will turn a classroom into a production studio and a production studio into a classroom.
We can expand the definition of literacy and proficiency to include text and media, reading and collaborating, learning and teaching.
newquill will revolutionize reading by making it a social and interactive experience. It will turn a book into a sandbox and reading into play.