Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

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New Society Publishers, Apr 1, 2010 - Education - 240 pages
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The transformation of schooling from a twelve-year jail sentence to freedom to learn.

John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction , now available in paperback, focuses on mechanisms of traditional education which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a byproduct of rote-memorization drills. Gatto's earlier book, Dumbing Us Down , introduced the now-famous expression of the title into the common vernacular. Weapons of Mass Instruction adds another chilling metaphor to the brief against conventional schooling.

Gatto demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, he argues, is to render the common population manageable. To that end, young people must be conditioned to rely upon experts, to remain divided from natural alliances and to accept disconnections from their own lived experiences. They must at all costs be discouraged from developing self-reliance and independence.

Escaping this trap requires a strategy Gatto calls "open source learning" which imposes no artificial divisions between learning and life. Through this alternative approach our children can avoid being indoctrinated-only then can they achieve self-knowledge, good judgment, and courage.

 

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User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

This is without a doubt the most important book I have read in several years. His recap of Alexander Inglis's six functions of modern schooling (from Inglis's "Principles of Secondary Education") in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Modern schooling is a tool for stifling thinking and controlling the masses. Endless examples of people without much formal education who have made it big, nothing about the failures. Reasoned critiques of the school system are valuable. This book is not. Read full review

Contents

FAT STANLEY AND THE LANCASTER AMISH
DAVID SARNOFFS CLASSROOM
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About the author (2010)

John Gatto was a teacher in New York City's public schools for over 30 years and is a recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year award. A much-sought after speaker on education throughout the United States, his other books include A Different Kind of Teacher (Berkeley Hills Books, 2001) and The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000).