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The medical scenario may be laughable but, transferred to the context many schools and classrooms today, quite ... (in)conceivable?

This is an extract from a classic and wonderfully dangerous book titled 'Teaching As A Subversive Activity' by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, written in 1971 (!!!).
If you haven't read it (ever or recently) I warmly recommend it.

The presentation, like any good teaching, is meant to be a conversation starter and generator of important questions.

Expanded at http://tomazlasic.net/2011/02/inconceivable/

Published in: Education
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  1. 1. Dr Bob Gillupsie Senior Supervising Surgeon Jim Kildear, Surgeon (2 years) Joe Fuddy, Surgeon Intern (6 months) Cara Carstairs Surgeon (1.5 year) Meet the team at Blear General Hospital
  2. 2. Well, Jim, what have you been up to this week? Only one operation. I removed the gall bladder of the patient in Room 421.
  3. 3. What was his trouble? Trouble? No trouble. I believe it's just inherently good to remove gall bladders.
  4. 4. Inherently good? I mean good in itself. I'm talking about removing gall bladders qua removing gall bladders.
  5. 5. Oh, you mean removing gall bladders per se . Precisely, Chief. Removing his gall bladder had intrinsic merit. It was, as we say, good for its own sake.
  6. 6. Splendid, Jim. If there's one thing I won't tolerate at Blear, it's a surgeon who is merely practical. What's in store next week? Two frontal lobotomies.
  7. 7. Frontal lobotomies qua frontal lobotomies, I hope? What else?
  8. 8. How about you, young Dr Fuddy? What have you done this week? Busy. Performed four pilonidal-cyst excisions.
  9. 9. Didn't know we had that many cases. We didn't, but you know how fond I am of pilonidal-cyst excisions. That was my major in medical school, you know.
  10. 10. Of course, I’d forgotten. As I remember it now, the prospect of doing pilonidal-cyst excisions brought you into medicine, didn't it? That's right, Chief. I was always interested in that. Frankly, I never cared much for appendectomies.
  11. 11. Appendectomies? Well, that seemed to be the trouble with the patient in 397.
  12. 12. But you stayed with the old pilonidal-cyst excision, eh? Right, Chief.
  13. 13. Good work Fuddy. I know just how you feel. When I was a young man, I was keenly fond of hysterectomies. (giggling) Little tough on the man, eh Chief?
  14. 14. Well, yes (snickering). But you'd be surprised at how much a resourceful surgeon can do.
  15. 15. Well, Carstairs, how have things been going? I'm afraid I've had some bad luck, Dr Gillupsie. No operations this week, but three of my patients died.
  16. 16. Well, we'll have to do something about this, won’t we? What did they die of? I’m not sure, Dr Gillupsie, but I did give each one of them plenty of penicillin.
  17. 17. Ah! The traditional 'good for its own sake' approach, eh, Carstairs? Well, not exactly, Chief. I just thought that penicillin would help them get better.
  18. 18. What were you treating them for? Well, each one was awful sick Chief, and I know that penicillin helps sick people get better.
  19. 19. It certainly does, Carstairs. I think you acted wisely. And the deaths, Chief?
  20. 20. Bad patients, dear, bad patients. There's nothing a good doctor can do about bad patients. And there's nothing a good medicine can do for bad patients, either. But still, I have a nagging feeing that perhaps they didn't need penicillin, that they might have needed something else.
  21. 21. Nonsense! Penicillin never fails to work on good patients. We all know that. I wouldn't worry too much about it, Carstairs.
  22. 22. And now ...
  23. 23. Dr Bob Gillupsie Principal Jim Kildear, Teacher (2 years) Joe Fuddy, Teacher (6 months) Cara Carstairs Teacher (1.5 year) replace the roles ...
  24. 24. … and imagine this is a chat between the principal and teachers at Blear Junior College. Replace the medical procedures with 'content' and teaching methods. (eg. 'pilonidal-cyst excision' becomes something a teacher loves to talk about or something required by syllabus …)
  25. 25. (Still) funny? Why (not)?
  26. 26. Original text extracted from: Postman, N. & Weingartner, C. (1971) Teaching As A Subversive Activity . Get the book Presentation created by Tomaz Lasic http://tomazlasic.net Twitter: @lasic Licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.