Course Requirements

Requirements are systems of prescriptions and proscriptions intended solely to limit the physical and intellectual movements of students – to ‘keep them in line, in sequence, in order’, etc. They shift the focus of attention from the learner … to the course. In the process, requirements violate virtually everything we know about learning because they comprise the matrix of an elaborate system of punishments that, in turn, comprise a threatening atmosphere in which positive learning cannot occur. The requirements, indeed, force the teacher – and administrator – into the role of an authoritarian functionary whose primary task becomes that of enforcing the requirements rather than helping the learner to learn. The whole authority of the system is contingent upon the requirements.

Neil Postman

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