Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rules of the Online Conference (correspondence with Dr. Osterud)

We can post quotes from the book and then participants can leave comments.

Participants can submit articles (like the Sveid Osterud article that was posted in 2005 to celebrate or commemorate Postman's Amusing ourselves to death).  Then other participants can leave comments about the item.   For example, click here to comment on Osterud's last paragraph of his 2005 piece.

Here's a topic of special interest:   What procedures have you used in your classroom that support inquiry education?   
What procedures have you used that get the results that Postman looked for?

At some point the links to the posts can be organized from a central Google Sites website.   

More rules appear below.


The rules emerged from a discussion by email with  Dr. O.

EMAIL to Dr. O after our phone call on Nov. 2
Dr. Osterud

It was a pleasure to talk with you.

It is clear to me that nobody is organizing a conference to celebrate and reflect on and extend the work of TAASA.

I propose that we submit articles and commentaries and proposals for extended activities (with the goal of creating free ebooks for teachers to use in their classes) to a blog.  That blog can be shared with: 
departments of education, 
authors like you (since you have a book about "education for the world citizenship") who have topics that Postman talked about
teenagers who are bored with school.

I expect that many posts will be made.  I'm not sure about the best way to host this online conference, but I can certainly serve as moderator of the blog.

PROPOSED:  2016 to 2018 will be the collection time for these papers.   I've already started.

PERHAPS there is someone at your university who is willing to help find a way to organize these submissions.

You mentioned that your work is in ICT (the use of computers and other technologies in education).  Perhaps there is a graduate student or professor who can develop a free online program to present Postman's questions to students in a computer program.

In the attached ebook, you can find the questions by Postman in pages 9-10, then 15-27, then 39-74.

I have developed some additional questions (based on other readings) to stimulate discussion.  The questions about bullying and sexual harassment (pages 29-37) have been popular with several of the female students in my high school in Fort Lauderdale.
The quotations on pages 76-96 are taken from Dr. Abraham S. Fischler's ebook  
(Dr. Fischler is former head of Nova University in Fort Lauderdale).  

The teacher who was fired, Mario Llorente, will be invited to describe some of the reactions of students when they first were shown the Postman questions.   I recall one of the students asking, "Excuse me, sir.  Usually I try to return worksheets immediately so I don't need to take anything home, but I can't respond properly to this question.  I really need more time.  I'd like to take this home and bring it back after I've had time to search the Internet for more information."  The student assigned himself homework!

I think you have described Postman's agenda about education in your 2005 article for the seminar perfectly:

I have included that paragraph in the ebook that is attached.   

In a paper in 2005 celebrating the work of Neil Postman, a professor in Oslo wrote:

The challenge to the students is to find out who has produced these facts, how he arrived at them, why they are regarded as important, and by whom. Only through this kind of scrutiny will the students learn how facts and truth change, depending on the circumstances under which they were produced and described.

“The end [or goal] of education”, as Postman sees it, is to develop the students´ critical scepticism, thereby enabling them to participate in a competent way to the reproduction of our culture, or – to use Postman´s own words – to be part of the Great Conversation. In this book Postman gives the concept of literacy a communicative dimension which – ironically enough – makes it well-suited to embark on a fresh and unbiased analysis of the cultural significance of the media.

You can see more of the professor’s article by searching “2005 neil postman norway.” The document was retrieved at


Steve McCrea
skype   SteveEnglishTeacher
mobile:  +1 954 646 8246  

This letter will be posted on the blog to show the moment when the online conference was born.   2 November 2016
Please share my contact information.

A Call for Papers, Comments, and Suggestions for "how to put Postman's questions in front of students"


(1) Read Postman's book.   A link to a free copy of TAASA is available online through two digital libraries

(2) Write a response.   Send your response to and I'll post it on the blog.

(3) Leave comments on other posts.   

(4) Recommend additional readings.  For example, Dr. Osterud could post a link to a description of his current work, Education for the World Citizenship, and he can describe how Postman's questions can improve the efficacy of his book's proposals.

You are invited to download the workbook of questions that were pulled from TAASA.  Put these questions in front of your students.   Translate the questions into the native languages of your students so you can elicit the most fluent responses.
Collect the responses and let's post summaries on the "50 Years" blog.


Conference participation is free.
Volunteers are invited to propose how they would like to contribute their time to the conference.
For example, one of the products of the conference could be a list of useful materials, similar to the list collected at 

The most valuable contribution will be a thoughtful response to Postman's book.  I am particularly interested in seeing the development of an online website or program that engages students and asks them to write responses that will be shared with others.  Perhaps there can be a program that automatically tweets the responses of students (anonymously? or with the ability for readers to contact the student safely or indirectly?) or posts their responses in a blog established expressly for spreading awareness of Postman's book.

Your concept of World Citizenship could be linked to Postman's skill of "crap detecting."  Crap detecting could be an important skill for world citizens.

I am an example of a very conservative teacher (I seek to conserve the best of what I was taught).  I need to be open to the idea that Postman's TAASA might have been influential, but its ideas might be better expressed in a comic book or manga or in an online format or in a completely different form.   Postman wrote about Teaching as a Conserving Activity

On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 6:13 AM, Steve "The Posterman" McCrea <> wrote:

I found your article from 2005.  You clearly admire Neil Postman's work.

I like your point about the "curriculum of revenge"
In the first place he has it out with Hirsch´s attempt to define a common core of knowledge that is the hallmark of a “culturally literate” person. Postman argues that this may not be a wise strategy in America where schools are, and always have been, multicultural; the fact of ethnic diversity may inspire a curriculum of revenge.    

Do you know if any organization is creating a "50 years" celebration of Postman's "Subversive Teaching" book?

I recently experimented in four classrooms using some of the questions from Postman's books, and wow, what a response from high school students.

Are you still active as an instructor?

I look forward to corresponding and learning more about your department's interest in Postman's work.

Steve McCrea

here is the free ebook

Here is the link to the blog