web site hit counter Republic of Noise: The Loss Of Solitude in Schools and Culture - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Republic of Noise: The Loss Of Solitude in Schools and Culture

Availability: Ready to download

In Republic of Noise, Diana Senechal confronts a culture that has come to depend on instant updates and communication at the expense of solitude. Where once it was common wisdom that the chatter of the present, about the present, could not always grasp the present, today we treat "real time" as though it were the only real time. Schools emphasize rapid group work and fragm In Republic of Noise, Diana Senechal confronts a culture that has come to depend on instant updates and communication at the expense of solitude. Where once it was common wisdom that the chatter of the present, about the present, could not always grasp the present, today we treat "real time" as though it were the only real time. Schools emphasize rapid group work and fragmented activity, not the thoughtful study of complex subjects. The Internet offers contact with others throughout the day and night; we lose the ability to be apart, even in our minds. Yet solitude does not vanish; it is part of every life. It plays an essential role in literature, education, democracy, relationships, and matters of conscience. Throughout its analyses and argument, the book calls not for drastic changes but for a subtle shift: an attitude that honors solitude without descending into dogma. Outspoken, lyrical, and unassuming, Senechal's book dismantles the "groupthink" that pervades our lives.


Compare

In Republic of Noise, Diana Senechal confronts a culture that has come to depend on instant updates and communication at the expense of solitude. Where once it was common wisdom that the chatter of the present, about the present, could not always grasp the present, today we treat "real time" as though it were the only real time. Schools emphasize rapid group work and fragm In Republic of Noise, Diana Senechal confronts a culture that has come to depend on instant updates and communication at the expense of solitude. Where once it was common wisdom that the chatter of the present, about the present, could not always grasp the present, today we treat "real time" as though it were the only real time. Schools emphasize rapid group work and fragmented activity, not the thoughtful study of complex subjects. The Internet offers contact with others throughout the day and night; we lose the ability to be apart, even in our minds. Yet solitude does not vanish; it is part of every life. It plays an essential role in literature, education, democracy, relationships, and matters of conscience. Throughout its analyses and argument, the book calls not for drastic changes but for a subtle shift: an attitude that honors solitude without descending into dogma. Outspoken, lyrical, and unassuming, Senechal's book dismantles the "groupthink" that pervades our lives.

30 review for Republic of Noise: The Loss Of Solitude in Schools and Culture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    THE REPUBLIC OF NOISE is a thoughtful, contemplative book about the role of solitude in society and education. A student of the classics, author Diana Senechal questions the often unquestioned roles of technology, big ideas, and buzzwords in modern education. Though readers who already question the disproportionate attention to Twitter, Facebook, computers, and cellphones -- in the classroom and elsewhere -- will prove a natural audience for this book, it should be read more by those who do NOT THE REPUBLIC OF NOISE is a thoughtful, contemplative book about the role of solitude in society and education. A student of the classics, author Diana Senechal questions the often unquestioned roles of technology, big ideas, and buzzwords in modern education. Though readers who already question the disproportionate attention to Twitter, Facebook, computers, and cellphones -- in the classroom and elsewhere -- will prove a natural audience for this book, it should be read more by those who do NOT question these things. Why? Senechal's book asks that we consider the electronic bandwagon we are on and question whether it is the right place to be at all times and for all reasons. What I like best about the book is its courage. Senechal is not afraid to argue her points and name names. She is fair, however, and distinguishes between strengths and weaknesses in the people and movements she writes about. For instance, when writing about Doug Lemov, managing director of the Uncommon Schools and author of TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION, she critiques his "Age Plus Two Rule" (student's optimal attention span = age plus two), his fondness for prepared-in-advance "Do Now" activities the minute students walk through the door, and his insistence that teachers keep all discussions focused and on task. Still, she concludes, "By no means does Lemov oppose thoughtfulness; his ultimate goal is to bring students to the stage where they can grapple with complex material. Yet he does not seem to consider the gaps and pauses that are necessary for such grappling.... When students must how constant activity, the subject itself may be oversimplified." Common sense dictates that we question everything that is put before us, from the wonders of the on-line Khan Academy for math, to Bloom's Taxonomy, to the term "higher order thinking." And yet we seldom do. Senechal's book is the antidote for our assumptions. It is not to be taken lightly, however. Her writing style and examples (Sophocles, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, Isaac Newton, etc.) are challenging. They also mirror her tastes and fondness for whole-class discussion, deep readings, factual acumen, a common curriculum, and extended stretches of silence for contemplation. In the wrong hands, interpreted the wrong way, this might be used by back-to-basic types as an excuse to drill students with practice sheets (to build background knowledge, you see) and lecture them (they need to learn the patience to listen, you understand) and assign them classics only (their characters are in need of building, you realize). This isn't Senechal's intent, however. Though she distrusts small group work and its ascendancy in recent educational thinking, she is not opposed to its use where appropriate. And though she is a proponent of teaching the classics, she is not opposed to anything modern, as a Tobias Wolff short story is referenced. (Unmentioned, however, is young adult literature, which I would have loved to have heard her thoughts on.) And those are important words: "where appropriate." Technology? It's fine, where appropriate, but her fear is that it is being used for the sake of being used because teachers and administrators consider it "good teaching practice" and necessary for "21st-century skills" (which also gets its comeuppance here). Her message is similar to the Preacher's in Ecclesiastes: There is a time for everything. Is that the message being heard in education circles these days, however? Though I do not agree with everything Senechal says, I do agree that the answer to that question is "no." An even approach honoring the role of solitude and deeper thought and discussion is not being considered by all. In short, the chatter of electronics, the seductions of online applications, and the need to constantly herd students into groups where they can quickly create "products" as proof of learning are the operatives. In reading this, you might assume the book is totally dedicated to education. It is not. Part of it deals with solitude's role historically and in the present in general. In that sense, some chapters may be of more value to educators than others. Also, know that Senechal is not prescribing solutions with step-by-step instructions on how to fix our schools or ourselves. The book is more a cautionary tale, a plea for slowing down to consider where we are going and what certain words, strategies, and ideas actually mean when you think about them (as opposed to just accept them at face value). If nothing else, despite the sometimes heavy going (an extended example from Newton's PHILOSOPHIAE NATURALIS PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA, for instance), REPUBLIC OF NOISE will create some healthy cognitive dissonance for its readers -- especially if said readers thought they had all the answers, or even most of them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This book is beautifully written and inspiring. I love the "opposing viewpoint" it presents regarding education reforms, programs fraught with buzz words, and the like. Senechal's examples are drawn from poetry, literature, science. She emphasizes the importance of knowledge over exercising certain "skills". I recommend this to teachers. It has inspired me to make some changes in my teaching style for 2012-2013. Can't wait! This book is beautifully written and inspiring. I love the "opposing viewpoint" it presents regarding education reforms, programs fraught with buzz words, and the like. Senechal's examples are drawn from poetry, literature, science. She emphasizes the importance of knowledge over exercising certain "skills". I recommend this to teachers. It has inspired me to make some changes in my teaching style for 2012-2013. Can't wait!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura Leaney

    This book made for pleasurable reading, as Senechal's sensibilities about culture and literature align closely with my own. It's not just about America's cultural dependence on technology as the source of learning and intellectual pleasure; I think the central point is that we no longer value being alone. And "aloneness" is the place, state of mind, or feeling we need to solve deep, complex problems, experience the nuances and beauty of poetry and fiction, engage with history and philosophers. S This book made for pleasurable reading, as Senechal's sensibilities about culture and literature align closely with my own. It's not just about America's cultural dependence on technology as the source of learning and intellectual pleasure; I think the central point is that we no longer value being alone. And "aloneness" is the place, state of mind, or feeling we need to solve deep, complex problems, experience the nuances and beauty of poetry and fiction, engage with history and philosophers. She quotes David Ulin: "today, it seems it is not contemplation we seek but an odd sort of distraction masquerading as being in the know." Because many people "have a weakened capacity for being alone" (in perpetual connection with the world via the internet, the iphone, ipad, et cetera), superficial knowledge is the order of the day. Anything we need to know can be texted and tweeted. Thus, depth, insight, and the lovely joys of self-discovery have vanished. We no longer grapple with understanding Euripedes or Kant by ourselves. We can get the summaries on Wikipedia - and while we're on-line, we can check Facebook and maybe post a cool quote by Gogol that we found on the internet - without having to read the story it came from. Senechal gives a quick review of some of the ways public schools foster this busyness, and it's depressing. Group work takes a rather hard hit. Yet, she's absolutely right about one thing: teachers KNOW that group work doesn't foster deep learning, but they're paranoid about an administrator popping his or her head in the door to check for productivity, hands-in-the-air participation, and measurable results. You're sure as hell not going to see that when kids are sitting at their desks thinking. This book argues that some of the most "important things in life cannot be seen or measured." All in all, I found this book inspiring - and although I rarely watch television and I can't update the Facebook account I don't have - I'm far too involved with email and on-line activity. I can't remember what it felt like not to be connected (although Senechal is not advocating the elimination of technology). I even wonder what it would be like to get rid of my voicemail. Will it be relief? This is an interesting thought - one that I'm intrigued to explore.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    Republic of Noise questions many common pedagogical practices and current trends within North American society. It is one of very few books that encourages cautious and judicious use of technology and group work within schools, emphasizing the value of solitude in working through complex problems and the actual usefulness of lectures by educators who have deep knowledge of their disciplines. However, Republic of Noise is a scholarly, academic and sometimes quite inaccessibly dense text--one whic Republic of Noise questions many common pedagogical practices and current trends within North American society. It is one of very few books that encourages cautious and judicious use of technology and group work within schools, emphasizing the value of solitude in working through complex problems and the actual usefulness of lectures by educators who have deep knowledge of their disciplines. However, Republic of Noise is a scholarly, academic and sometimes quite inaccessibly dense text--one which I can imagine few of my teaching colleagues being willing or able to read. There are long sections comprised of close readings of Petrarch and Dostoevesky (a commentary on Notes from the Underground is included, for example), among others. Also included is a complex math problem which the author walks the reader through over several pages--what Senenchal's purpose is in doing so is not exactly clear. Is it to provide us with a first-hand reminder of what it means to reason through a set of challenging steps (the kind of thinking so few of us actually seem to do anymore, unless we are scientists or college-level instructors), or is it to show her own pride in being able to do so? Hairs are split over what "solitude" really means, the many varieties of "loneliness", and even--at the beginning of the book--what the word "we" means as she uses it. The literary allusions alone will make the book off-putting to many and while there are rewards in taking one's time with this densely intellectual work, I felt genuinely saddened that some of the important ideas were not cast in clearer, less allusive and metaphorical language so that a wider audience could've been reached. More than once, I felt that I was reading a doctoral dissertation. For those non-academic readers like myself who wish to give the book a go, know that it will require time, focus, and a large serving of patience

  5. 5 out of 5

    JoAnna

    As I greatly enjoyed Susan Cain's 'Quiet,' I expected more of this book. Diana Senechal's 'Republic of Noise' has a great premise of examining the importance of solitude in education and society, but mostly fails to be interesting or compelling due to its lack of strong narrative and meandering style. I expected the author to focus more on the relationship between solitude and culture, but instead, the entire book is laden with commentary about education theory and teaching fads, which surely ha As I greatly enjoyed Susan Cain's 'Quiet,' I expected more of this book. Diana Senechal's 'Republic of Noise' has a great premise of examining the importance of solitude in education and society, but mostly fails to be interesting or compelling due to its lack of strong narrative and meandering style. I expected the author to focus more on the relationship between solitude and culture, but instead, the entire book is laden with commentary about education theory and teaching fads, which surely have a place in a commentary on solitude but dominated the text to excess, without benefit to the reader. The chapters could have easily been disbound into a series of essays to better effect. It is rare for me to not finish a book, but I barely read to p. 80 before skimming the remaining chapters in search of less dithering writing. I think the manuscript was ultimately harmed by the likely influence of its educational/trade publisher. 'Republic of Noise' had great potential, but a disappointing delivery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I'm willing to bet that this is the only book on education that discusses Petrarch, Dostoevsky, Newton, and Sophocles in some depth. That said, it isn't only about education, and it is for the layperson and scholar alike. After the introduction, Senechal begins by exploring what solitude is. Most of us think of it as physical separation, but she goes a bit further, defining it, for the purposes of the book, as the separation that we always have, whether we are among others or not. Many kinds of s I'm willing to bet that this is the only book on education that discusses Petrarch, Dostoevsky, Newton, and Sophocles in some depth. That said, it isn't only about education, and it is for the layperson and scholar alike. After the introduction, Senechal begins by exploring what solitude is. Most of us think of it as physical separation, but she goes a bit further, defining it, for the purposes of the book, as the separation that we always have, whether we are among others or not. Many kinds of solitude come into play in the book, but the solitude of the mind is at the center. Whoever reads the book carefully will get to experience some of this solitude of mind. That's what makes this book a bit different from most education books and cultural critiques. Its points are not its only points. In the third chapter, Senechal discusses the importance of digression--and her digressions, likewise, tie into the book's whole. It isn't a breezy read. I am rarely satisfied by a breezy read, though. I expect a book to challenge me in many ways and to take me in.

  7. 4 out of 5

    William Lawrence

    Diana Senechal is the voice teachers have been waiting for. This book has the opportunity to turn things around, if it isn’t already too late. Our culture has glorified noise and education scholars have drank the cool-aide. For those who were disappointed that this book examined schools too much, well, “schools” is right there in the subtitle. Try separating schools from culture anyway. Our culture influences schools and schools have acquiesced. Republic of Noise is very well written and for the Diana Senechal is the voice teachers have been waiting for. This book has the opportunity to turn things around, if it isn’t already too late. Our culture has glorified noise and education scholars have drank the cool-aide. For those who were disappointed that this book examined schools too much, well, “schools” is right there in the subtitle. Try separating schools from culture anyway. Our culture influences schools and schools have acquiesced. Republic of Noise is very well written and for the general reader with an interest in school, culture, the arts, and sociology. It is hardly the academic reading some have labeled it; they need to read some dissertations and papers. But the book is indeed about how we teach and learn, what our society is and isn't paying attention to, and how we decide public policy— of course, we know by now that belief, ideology, and bandwagon slogans matter more often in public policy than logic, science, or facts. Favorite quotes: “Shoddy, dismissive language wears us down; jargon muddles our thoughts” (p. 208). “It is a strange era where a teacher must compete with other forms of entertainment; it suggests an end not only of concentration but also of respect and wisdom” (p. 50). “The pressure to keep up with the times not only distracts and dizzies us; it upsets and distorts our values. Once we subscribe to the ‘cutting edge’ we lose the ability to judge it” (p. 35). “When words are overly socialized, they lose their sharpness, truth, and error” (p. 15). This book was exciting to me because it dives into what my dissertation is all about: social activity in our schools and how different learners and personalities are left out in the cold. I’ll save the best for that project but here are a few highlights that are currently hot fads. - Those distracting commercial driven clickers teachers are using actually slow down, fragment, and trivialize lessons. Collecting student input and watching it in a graph does not really tell us much about what they truly learned. - The workshop model produces students and writers who think and write alike. After all, how does a person who has never published a poem teach someone else how to write a publishable poem? - “Flipped classrooms” that use video instruction will constrict not liberate education. Overall, this book defines solitude, analyzes how solitude is missing and being targeted in our culture and schools, and gets us thinking about the meaning of learning, literature, and life. Favorite Non-fiction book of the year so far.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    In this reflection on the values of solitude and thoughtfulness, the author articulates many of the problems in recent educational policies and programs that have also struck me. She encourages engagement with and reflection on subject content, both as a class, in groups and individually, in contrast to such practices as an exclusive concentration on group work, constant student activity and deliverables; emphasis on developing skills out of context of subject matter, as things in themselves; an In this reflection on the values of solitude and thoughtfulness, the author articulates many of the problems in recent educational policies and programs that have also struck me. She encourages engagement with and reflection on subject content, both as a class, in groups and individually, in contrast to such practices as an exclusive concentration on group work, constant student activity and deliverables; emphasis on developing skills out of context of subject matter, as things in themselves; and "critical thinking" about superficially learned material - critical thinking is impossible when students don't know the subject thoroughly enough to even have an informed opinion about it(this last was something I noticed in my kids' programs). As the head of the Finnish educational system said when visiting Seattle the other day: let's respect and trust our teachers much more, test a great deal less, and simply strive to have every public school in the nation offer a good solid education to its students, so all schools offer equivalent satisfying opportunities to those they serve.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Feltskog

    When I sat down to evaluate this book here, I meant to make a couple of bland assertions along the lines that the book is occasionally pedantic (it is, but so what?) or that the argument occasionally becomes diffuse (it does, although with this topic, that seems almost inevitable), but the fact is, this is one of those rare books in that it is genuinely profound. That said, I'd like to single out chapter eight, "Mass Personalization and the 'Underground Man'" for special praise, and recommend it When I sat down to evaluate this book here, I meant to make a couple of bland assertions along the lines that the book is occasionally pedantic (it is, but so what?) or that the argument occasionally becomes diffuse (it does, although with this topic, that seems almost inevitable), but the fact is, this is one of those rare books in that it is genuinely profound. That said, I'd like to single out chapter eight, "Mass Personalization and the 'Underground Man'" for special praise, and recommend it most highly for those concerned with current trends in education "reform."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andd Becker

    A voice from noncyberspace reaches out to readers of books. Is the author preaching to the choir? If the reader is digesting this nonfiction book, in solitude, sans digital distractions, doesn't the reader already know how precious is the gift of distractionless solitude? Current teaching methodology reflects the loss of solitude; and assessment demands groupthink. Where is individual quiet thinking? Where is uninterrupted time? The book is suitable for educators and scholars. A voice from noncyberspace reaches out to readers of books. Is the author preaching to the choir? If the reader is digesting this nonfiction book, in solitude, sans digital distractions, doesn't the reader already know how precious is the gift of distractionless solitude? Current teaching methodology reflects the loss of solitude; and assessment demands groupthink. Where is individual quiet thinking? Where is uninterrupted time? The book is suitable for educators and scholars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Lucas

    This was a great book--a unique, interesting, and completely thought-provoking one. I had to read it slowly so that I could really drink in all that the author was saying. She touched on all of my favorite topics--education, pedagogy, literature, philosophy, religion, learning--and somehow wove it all together in an interesting fashion. Highly recommended, but definitely not an easy, light read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    A sensible, thoughtful argument against "groupthink" and the cacophony of a constant stream of information and for more time devoted to contemplation and reflection, alone and with others. Erudite and wise. A sensible, thoughtful argument against "groupthink" and the cacophony of a constant stream of information and for more time devoted to contemplation and reflection, alone and with others. Erudite and wise.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Revesk

    Wonderful critique of society and of schools

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I really expected to like this book. I loved Susan Cain's 'Quiet' and thought that this book would be a new take on those same themes. Instead, I could barely finish it. I found her writing to be over-inflated and too pleased with its intellectualism to bother sticking to the points at hand. I didn't understand the purpose of the mini book reports scattered throughout the book. I didn't agree with her characterizations of how students do and don't learn. Ultimately, I felt like I was reading an I really expected to like this book. I loved Susan Cain's 'Quiet' and thought that this book would be a new take on those same themes. Instead, I could barely finish it. I found her writing to be over-inflated and too pleased with its intellectualism to bother sticking to the points at hand. I didn't understand the purpose of the mini book reports scattered throughout the book. I didn't agree with her characterizations of how students do and don't learn. Ultimately, I felt like I was reading an extended episode of "Frasier" where Niles and Frasier wax poetic for 200 pages with nothing to bring the conversation back to the real world. I'm all for a good philosophical conversation, but not one that gets stuck on "kids these days..." and suggests that we move back to antiquated models of education.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Some good things to think about - lots of education theory, not a riveting book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen Brewer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michaelpaulhermann

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt V.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  21. 5 out of 5

    amy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  23. 5 out of 5

    M.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Penny

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jean

  28. 4 out of 5

    BookBec

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fjain

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephen R Sanchez

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.