The End of Education
postman.jpgIn his book The End of Education, Neil Postman discusses the need for our education author_neil_postman.jpgsystems to have new narratives, new reasons or purposes. He notes that our old narratives have served us well, but that they no longer do so as he states that our schooling no longer works. Our schools no longer work because there is a lack of motivation, there is a lack of reason and purpose for education. For some time now, we have been following narratives that no longer serve us; that are no longer valid, or valued. “Without a narrative, life has no meaning. Without meaning, learning has no purpose. Without a purpose, schools are houses of detention, not attention.” (Postman, 1995, p. 7). Without a valued reason for education, learning does not happen. In a presentation
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of the content of this book in New York, Postman quoted the great western philosopher Friedrich Nietze who said, “He who has a why to live, can bare almost any how.” Postman posits that this applies to education.

What are the purposes of education? What are schools for? Do we educate in order produce learned consumers? Do we teach young people in order to ensure that graduates will get a job, and earn a living? These seem to have been the goals of the industrial model of education. To some extent, these purposes are still needed, although on their own, they do not suffice. New purposes are needed. Serving the purposes of our old models of educations will not move us toward directions of sustainability, happiness, or well-being.