Respecting Neanderthals

First, I need to state that David Hutchens' Shadows of the Neanderthal is a lively, humorous adaptation that I do appreciate. Additionally, Gombert's illustrations are appropriately quirky and fun. I have no issue with this short text as a reader. For anyone seeking a quick grasp of the need to be flexible and open-minded, it's a wonderful choice. In fact, it would probably work nicely as a choice for high-school students, given its ease of accessibility to the morals.

My issue is that it is required reading for a graduate level Education course.

(Spoiler Alert)

Shadows of the Neanderthal: Illuminating the Beliefs that Limit Our Organizations

It's Plato's "Allegory of the Cave".

Why not just have us read Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", perhaps followed by Hutchen's analysis of the principles within the text?

Maybe I'm over-thinking this and shouldn't feel that my intelligence has been insulted. Really, it's as though I've been told that I'm incapable of grasping the point from The Republic. Maybe an undergrad course,sure. Maybe an organizational/leadershippy sort of course, sure. By all means, everyone should read and understand these principles.

Teachers, however, particularly those working at the graduate level and no matter their content area, need to be able and expected to grapple with a seminal text.

Project RESPECT, initiated by Secretary Duncan,calls for a rebuilding of the profession of teaching. I humbly suggest that one building block be avoiding the quick and easy way to one of the most powerful messages ever written.

Mindy Keller-Kyriakides is the author of Transparent Teaching of Adolescents: Defining the Ideal Class for Students and Teachers.  Become part of the conversation!

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