Book Review: A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto | #SmartReads #BookReview

 

BreakawayIndiviual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 3, 2020

The late John Taylor Gatto was an award winning teacher and recipient of the New York State Teacher Of The Year Award with over 30 years experience within the public school system.  Many of the lessons he learned are expounded upon at length in his books, which continue to gain popularity with every passing year.

For me, A Different Kind Of Teacher followed a reading of Gatto’s book Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling.  In Dumbing Us Down, Gatto did a phenomenal job of outlining many of the most insidious issues taking place with the current public school system.  The precision and pull-no-punches approach of Gatto’s work is what made Dumbing Us Down so notable, especially considering that he was incisive when he stated that the main agenda of the public school system is to indoctrinate individuals how to follow orders so they can become unthinking cogs in the machine.

A snippet of some of Gatto’s most important points in Dumbing Us Down are:

“…schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet.  No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes.  The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.”[1]

Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.”[2]

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of the system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class.  That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does.”[3]

Scathing remarks such as the above leave no doubt Gatto’s quest for individuals is that of true education, and not a ghost of it as the public has been sold for many decades now.

With that backdrop established, A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gato is a fierce examination into not only public schooling and its many inherent flaws, but also what type of steps are required to be carried out by individuals in order to transcend the current bankrupt/corrupt system from its current miserable state and into a more robust, grounded and resonant system that doesn’t sell out to corporate/government interests.

One intricate notion Gatto explores regards education in the past, which was considerably different than what it is now.  For instance, in Colonial America literacy rates were exceedingly high with no compulsory schooling whatsoeverThe same cannot be said of now.  In fact, one theme that Gatto convincingly explores is the damage inflicted on the human psyche through the many years of compulsory schooling.

When the reader reflects on how such actions instill the conditioning of the mind, and force it not to think but simply accept what it’s told, one arrives at the understanding of how a large part of society in this country continue to willingly accept the idea of anything the government or mainstream media press states without much thought.

Thankfully, not everyone is following that pattern.  With more and more families continuing to homeschool their children, and individuals seeking to become autodidacts, considerable change is taking place at the grassroots level, as often times takes place throughout history.

Much of that change is taking place in large part by individuals such as John Taylor Gatto, who were relentless in not only mincing no words in calling the system for what it is, but more importantly, offering solutions to individuals seeking such.

Regardless, each of one of us is inherently responsible for our own continuing education.  When we pass that responsibility to the state, such as John Taylor Gatto has showed, we come to terms with the desolate fact of the public schooling system’s cataclysmic decline.

The only way to stop such a system from continuing in tsunami-like fashion sweeping over everyone and everything is at the grass roots level, at the local level.

If we don’t, the country our forefathers conquered will be a ghost of the past, barely a facsimile of its former self, and the future will prove to be even murkier than now, with a continuing decline in education with no end in sight.

As Gatto elucidates:

“Figure out what matters.  Do it yourself; work hard at it; no one else can do it for you.  Relying on others in this regard or ignoring the necessity will ruin you though you sit surrounded by machines in a rich school watching videos of spaceships.  Each of us has a design problem to solve:  to create from the raw material around us the curriculum for a good life.  It isn’t easy and it isn’t the same for any two people.  If you think you can buy it, look around you at the shambles my own generation has made of communal life and family life by trying to buy it or fashion it with machinery.”[4]

In other words, we can be our own problem, or our own solution.  Ultimately, individuals always decide.

Whatever takes place, please make sure that you choose what is best for you, for no one else can make that choice but you.

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Sources:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling, pg. 21.
[2] Ibid., pg. 23.
[3] Ibid., pg. 24.
[4] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, pg. 208.
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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
What Is An Elite Curriculum?

If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood by A.S. Neil | #SmartReads | #Education

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 19, 2019

Having read three books by the late John Taylor Gatto, who has spoken out at length about the inherent issues within public schooling, while also having met some people through discussing these books, someone was kind enough to recommend this particular book.  To say the least, this book is outside of the box as outside of the box can be when it comes to education.

Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood by A.S. Neil is a book that details the venture of those who took part in the school known as Summerhill, which sought to achieve a new standard of learning and growth.

A.S. Neil was the person mainly responsible for this audacious undertaking, and his actions echo still to this day.

What Neil sought to do was create a place where the idea/value of Freedom is wholly respected, through and through.  For this, this new school required a different way of thinking – a whole new mindset.  This venture required the removal of preconceived notions of childhood schooling, coupled with the open-mindedness that to achieve true education in the school system the child must govern entirely free to govern themselves.  This means that the child would be active in most of what the child chooses for their own development, which may include various aspects learning or playing.  A true unorthodox point of view if there ever were one.

Neil’s democratic style education based around the individual is quite evocative, because when carried out correctly [as myriad examples show in his book] it shows that children can self-govern themselves, and also do so quite well.  This takes place also with little to no interference from the adults, except in some very unique circumstances.  For the most part though, children were left to their own devices, to choose what type of learning they would undertake.

To gauge what Neil strove to achieve, let’s take a gander at his own words:

The goal was to use childhood and adolescence to create emotional wholeness and personal strengthNeil thought that once this wholeness had been achieved children would be self-motivated to learn what they needed academically.  The key to this growth was to give children freedom to play for as long as they felt the need in an atmosphere of approval and love.   The children were given freedom but not license; they could do as they pleased as long as it didn’t bother anyone else.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Therein lies the beauty, for the child who ends up not playing, ends up not using one of the most important parts of life for learning and growth – imagination.  Furthermore, the children that have unfinished childhoods so to speak, later in life seek to do things that could have already taken place, and which end up slowing down the progress of growth as an adult.  That’s what Neil noticed in his work.

Couple to the above the fact that in the notable magazine, Scientific American, in an article titled “The Serious Need For Play”, it was reported by Melinda Wenner Moyer that one-third of the kids who had gone to play-free schools had been arrested for felonies.[2]

Additionally, there are other topics discussed within the book.  Everything from social structure, emotional problems, particularly with children who are a bit older, meetings, self-government, what are called ‘problem children’, play and self-regulation and much more is discussed at length.

Perhaps, the best way to understand what Summerhill is truly about comes from the following:

“You don’t have Summerhill in order that children should study or learn to become “ists” of any kind.  You let them function in their own play-work fashion, and you postulate no purpose for them at all.”[3]

The genius of the idea is that because their core individual foundation in childhood was so enjoyable and emotionally robust children end up learning vastly quicker when they choose to follow their path than students enter the public school system.

However, if that growth is not allowed when children are forced through compulsory schooling, that then crushes their individuality and imagination.  Those very circumstances turn children into robots, only capable of following orders and never taught to critically think.  Only memorization of facts becomes important, and not arriving at the facts through a strong critical-thinking process within their mental faculties.

For that reason, many of the topics of the book do delve into the idea of playing.  Neil does make it a point about focusing on the benefits of playing quite a bit.  What the notion of play entails is:

“…not thinking in terms of athletic fields and organized games; I am thinking of play in terms of fantasy.  Organized games involve skill, competition, teamwork; but children’s play usually requires no skill, little competition, and hardly any teamwork.”[4][Bold Emphasis Added]

In other words, true play, like a whetstone, hones the development of imagination.  And imagination is integral, because a child whose imagination hasn’t developed has had his childhood stultified, as well as their imagination, and will be a conformist child, and thus, a conformist adult at the drop of a hat.  Disturbingly, this is exactly what we see in society more and more with time.

The book is split up into two parts. First, the book covers all facets regarding Summerhill, which are covered at length from a variety of angles, citing dozens and dozens of examples of how children responded to particular scenarios and whatnot. Everything from classes, theater, music, sex, teachers, and much more is discussed here.  The second part of the book covers many aspects of Neils life, as he takes us through the journey of what brought him to taking part in Summerhill.

All this considered, the book is a fantastic read.  Admittedly, the first half appealed to me a lot more than the second part, but that’s because the interest for me was in the process for the individual and not so much in how the author came to be part of it.  Regardless, the book really is something worth pondering for anybody that thinks the one-size-fits-all public schooling and compulsory conformity system that western schooling has become is good, really needs to take a look at the conformity crisis that’s taking place.  That, however, is a whole different can of worms.  One that John Taylor Gatto discusses at length in all of his books.

If you have read any of John Taylor Gatto’s book, then you will know how indoctrination and conformity are the aim of public schooling, and there’s many public documents showing this.  Because of that, and more, an honest view into a different paradigm such as this one brought about by Neil is needed.  Summerhill has shown that education and personal growth can actually be enjoyable for once.

Summerhill has already broken new ground for a new paradigm.  Now it’s up to individuals to ruminate upon how to learn from it and see where it may take them.

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Footnotes:

[1] A.S. Neil, Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood, p. xviii
[2] Moyer, Melinda Wenner, “The Serious Need For Play.” Scientific American, 2013:  86.  Print.
[3] A.S. Neil, Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood, p. 217.
[4] Ibid., p. 32.

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Suggested Reading & Watching:

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Suggested Reading & Watching:

What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
How A Generation Lost Its Culture – by Professor Patrick Deneen
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Brave New World & Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
What Is Education?  The Elite Curriculum – John Taylor Gatto
Breakaway Guide To Censorship, Disinformation, Logical Fallacies & More
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Classrooms Of The Heart [Documentary] – John Taylor Gatto
Sumerhill School – A New View On Childhood by A.S. Neil
Social Engineering 101
The True Purpose Of Modern Schooling
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Open-Source Method: Genius Education – Examples | John Taylor Gatto
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
Cultural Literacy – What Every American Needs To Know
by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston
A Workbook For Arguments by David R. Morrow & Anthony Wesson
Drilling Through The Core – Why Common Core Is Bad For American Education by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

 

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain | #Introvert | #Thoughts | #Reflection


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 17, 2019

Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is masterful read into the inner workings of the reflective introverts that populate society.

This book by Susan Cain delves into the paradigm that has been glossed over in the “Culture Of Personality”.

Cain begins the book outlining the fact that we as a society have transitioned from a Culture Of Character to a Culture of Personality, which thus left us facing myriad issues from which society still faces today.

The book even elucidates that the world personality was not part of our vocabulary until the 18th century and that “the idea of “having a good personality” was not widespread until the twentieth.”  This goes to show that the notion of ‘personality’ is quite modern indeed.

Throughout the entirety of the book the author also enumerates countless examples of research and studies that have taken place which shows the notable differences between introverts and extroverts.  Its quite intriguing considering how wrong western culture has been about introverts over the last many decades, if not longer.

Even the school system has been tailored to fit the ‘culture of personality’ rather than the ‘culture of character’.  That has done a great disservice to many folks, because as the book mentions, between a third to a half of all people are introverts, and yet school is not only geared to push the personality paradigm, but people that are introverts get run over by the system due to people thinking there’s something “wrong” with just wanting to do work by yourself, or perhaps in a less noisy environment that fosters greater inner growth for such individuals.

In fact, the book names a few examples where parents, or people, thought something was “wrong” with a particular individual, when that was just their nature.  Not only that, but introverts, in many facets, outdo extroverts due to their inherent nature.  That’s not something that you will hear the modern media expound upon.  It’s not that there are inherently smarter than them, its that their process of critical thought is more efficient in many ways, not unlike two people each having a Ferrari to drive, but one isn’t capable of handling the vehicle at much higher speeds.

Ironically enough, Cain mentions how “we perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types – even though grade-point averages and SAT intelligence scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate.”

Cain also covers the interesting topic of the “Bus to Abilene,” which shows people’s penchant for following others who carry out actions – any actions.  These circumstances are the staple of extroverts by and large.

The author also covers the topic of The New Groupthink, which is given a cursory glance.

Within her thoughts, she gives her concerns for the system, which is constantly giving precedence for group work – “team work” – all at the expense of the individual, as it claims that ‘creativity and intellectual achievement’ only come via teamwork.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The author covers facts that tackle this rather incisively.

This has taken place because America has wholly shifted en masse unfortunately to teachings that reflect the business community, rather than what’s best for the individual and culture as a whole What’s worse, Common Core will only further these agendas in order to make sure everyone’s ready to help corporations make even more profits at the expense of true learning.  Let’s digress however.

Another example of how introverts shine is how top performers are often the ones that have the solitude that they require that isn’t available in many working environments.  When freedom of interruption is available, these people overwhelmingly perform better than in environments where excessive stimulation takes place, which hinders production/learning.

Other notions examined are the one of Deliberate Practice, which can only be accomplished by being alone.  This notion is discussed at length in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin.

Deliberate practice is not only when individuals identify tasks to be done, but when individuals push beyond comfort and traditional boundaries to raise their performance level, whilst monitoring their progress and adjusting accordingly in order to be able to achieve what needs to be done.

This not only requires deep motivation, but can lead to incredible mastery of subjects.  It does, however, require a great commitment in many cases if one wants to achieve true expertise.

The book also covers how many extroverts were behind what took place in the 2009 economic downturn, and how introverts wouldn’t have been as careless with money.  It also covers how people tend to link velocity of speech with knowledge, but how that is a big mistake.

Group brainstorming electronically is also delved into, as well as the fear of public humiliation and how large of a role that plays a role in interactions between introverts and extroverts, how important temperament is, as well as the intricate subject of highly reactive children.  Also the topic of pseudo-extroverts is also covered.  This is important, because many people who seem rather extroverted, are in fact incredibly introverted.

If you’re a teacher, a leader, a manager, or any person that needs to know the inner workings of how introverts and extroverts interact on a daily basis, and how to take advantage of each of their strengthen, then this book is definitely for you.

I absolutely love this book and reference it quite often, and I hope that any of you who end up getting it get as much value yourselves.  It really is well worth the read.
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Suggested Reading:

Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everyone Else by Geoff Colvin

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If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.