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The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods by David Solway

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David Solway’s The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods is an eye-opening polemic against technology in the classroom and pedagogical theory as furthered by current administrative policy. He dissects the way computers have affected the learning process and students’ ability to understand material presented to them in books.

A dominant theme that pervades this collection is the status of “theory” in the educational system. Solway claims that nothing of genuine and productive import comes out of theories. The manifold problems that bedevil the academy cannot be solved, or even rectified, by the usual onslaught of dogmas, reforms, and pseudo-revolutionary postulates that are produced in the misguided attempt to find the single, perfect, pedagogical system. Instead, we must embark on a stringent re-examination of the principles and assumptions on which our culture itself is predicated as reflected in contemporary practice.

To do this, we need to develop an accurate killer heuristic to identify and monitor threats to our vocational well-being and effectiveness. This requires courage, a horror of sentimental credulity, and a willingness to learn from those in the educational trenches: the reference librarian should be questioned about the fate of the book, not the academic dean who has seldom read one; the teacher who has weathered innumerable classes should be heard, not the personnel director who is rarely in the building; the department secretary who is about to lose her job should be heeded while a jaundiced eye is turned on the omnipresent school coordinator. In almost every case, Solway believes those who deal directly with students will tell you the truth about what is happening to education while administrators will shuffle and mislead. The essays here are based on information from the trenches as well as from a significant minority of writers on educational and cultural themes.

The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods will be must reading for anyone interested in the fate of students and the education system.

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Liberal Studies in the Corporate Age

English

Non-Fiction

Cultural Studies, Education  

2000

0773521119

McGill-Queen's University Press

Montreal & Kingston

2000

200

softcover