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课堂上的《1984》:2016重现极权社会

《1984》是英国作家乔治·奥威尔于1949年出版的政治小说。小说假想了一个恐怖到令人窒息,以追逐权力为最终目标的极权主义社会。一位美国教师将这种政治模式实际运用在了课堂教学中,书中的世界与现实世界的重叠令人有种毛骨悚然的感受,联系当今社会的政治现象,发人深省。

微型的极权主义课堂

每年十月底,我的课堂都会化身成一个微型的极权主义国家,有关《1984》的教学就在这个“国家”内展开。在构建这个“国家”的过程中,我发现我所教的高年级学生普遍存在一些问题:经常无故缺勤,疲于阅读,抄袭他人作业等等,这些问题就像顽疾一样在他们之间蔓延滋生。于是,我在各个班上向学生宣布,称这些萎靡不振的学风问题正在学校肆虐,为了成绩,每个人每天都必须监视并报告另外一名同学的学习习惯和行为习惯,而且我将多数人监视的对象分配的是他们自己的同班同学。

乔治·奥威尔的《1984》

乔治·奥威尔的《1984》

然后,我将我自己的照片和一些简单的宣传口号制成海报,再把这些海报大量张贴在校园里,意在警告所有学生:这些流行在高年级学生中的顽疾只有遵循我的计划才能解决。随后,举办班级集会,带头宣传口号,为那些踊跃参加活动的“英雄”欢呼呐喊,给那些选择冷眼旁观的学生喝倒彩。与此同时,学生们都纷纷关注了我的Instagram,我也会时不时地发放一些零食来作为奖励。

作者安德鲁·西蒙斯(Andrew Simmons)大搞“极权主义课堂”

作者安德鲁·西蒙斯(Andrew Simmons)大搞“极权主义课堂”

一周过后,学校的墙上却出现了新的海报,海报内容针对的对象从高年级学生变成了我。新的口号也变得很简单:就只有我的名字,海报上也依然印着我的照片,我的形象在学校变得随处可见。于是,我修改了规则:学生想要通过这门课的话就要获得更高的分数,他们做一些很小的事情都要经过我的同意,比如没有我的允许,他们甚至不能去上厕所;凡是不听从我命令的学生,我都会扣掉他们的分数。在这场由我所制造的改革运动中,我宣布一定要消除所有无知的反对声音,维护我们的“崇高事业”。

有一次,一个学生怒气冲冲地来找我抱怨,而我只是投给他一个冷静而有些不满的眼神,一言不发,然后意味深长地盯着他,一副我就看你怎么折腾的样子。如果有像这样对我的制度不满的学生来找我,质疑我有关成绩的事情,我就会问他为什么其他人没有这种问题呢?于是他就悻悻然地溜了。我让自己变得愈发强硬,愈发刻薄,也愈发卑鄙,用分数来刺激学生为我办事,于是为了成绩,他们潜伏在人群里并且向我汇报那些反对我的人。甚至有一部分学生既渴望分数,又在对朋友或者潜在敌人的举报中可以获得一种幸灾乐祸的快感,于是每次课后他们都可以很轻易地将他们掌握的情报交给我。

学生张贴海报反对老师的独裁行径

学生张贴海报反对老师的独裁行径

两周后,实验结束,我问他们从这件事中学到了什么?这时候《1984》的教学就开始了。

而我也在今年的“极权主义课堂”中感受到了不同的东西。我在高中喜剧班上磨练的表演才能在这次教学计划里发挥了重要的作用,我将自己装扮成了一个愈来愈好战的斗士,这跟我平常咧着嘴哈哈大笑的形象大相径庭。“你们这些高年级学生的学风问题简直太猖獗了”我眯着眼睛,用手指指着讲台下的学生说:“但是,实验结束了。”

我的这些甚至有些滑稽的表演,以及夸张的“执政策略”,正是对《1984》书中的超级大国大洋国所奉行的信条的展现:命令简单有效,不通人情强制执行;当社会上只存在一种声音时,谎言也可以成为真理;剥夺言论自由,抑制公民之间的团结;凡拥有一丝批判思维的人都将被认为是疯魔。

命令简单有效,不通人情强制执行;当社会上只存在一种声音时,谎言也可以成为真理;剥夺言论自由,抑制公民之间的团结;凡拥有一丝批判思维的人都将被认为是疯魔。

事实证明,实验很成功,成功极了。

美国拉丁美洲移民的困境

现实世界有时候竟然与《1984》中的情节悄然重合。在过去的几年中,学生们在我的课程中学习了有关美国国家安全局、爱国者法案和网络隐私等许多内容。而现在,就在我的课堂上,却有一些学生生活在恐惧之中,他们恐惧世界会变成小说里描述的那样,甚至在学校中真实地重演我的课堂实验。

我所就职的学校位于旧金山湾区的马林郡,其中有65%的学生都是拉丁裔。据称,11月9日,一批抵达此处的拉美学生受到了当地人的排挤:“滚回你的墨西哥去!”我本人居住在奥克兰,有天晚上十二点半的时候,奥克兰大街上出现了一群酗酒的白人,他们一路上踉踉跄跄,边放着巨大的烟花,边高呼着“这是美国历史上最棒的一天!”

当星期三我回到学校的时候,发现很多学生并没有到校。大部分在校生也都被恐惧、疑惑、愤怒和焦虑重重包裹。一些拉美籍学生告诉了我十年前发生在拉美裔聚居区的遇袭遭遇。有些人说他们的父亲被戴上手铐扔进了装甲车,而他们已经很多年没和父亲见过面了,有几个孩子被拘留在私自入境拘留中心。由于很多拉美裔饱受国家腐败政权的压迫,他们不得不离开祖国和家人来美国谋生。

可能很多孩子们不明白美国政府是如何运作的,他们不知道那些虚张声势的竞选过程可能只是表演,不知道竞选投票背后的残酷事实,更不知道那些当选总统的竞选者可能并不会把他曾经信誓旦旦的许诺带入白宫,这一切他们都无从知晓。而这些孩子有的是同性恋,有的是其他族裔移民,他们望着自己所追逐的权利,站在原地。

美国纽约高中学生举行集会,抗议特朗普的移民政策。(图片/新华社)

美国纽约高中学生举行集会,抗议特朗普的移民政策。(图片/新华社)

极权主义课堂的收获

每年当我问学生们从这次“极权主义课堂”中有何收获的时候,他们说,他们意识到忠诚不一定是对的。但对于为何我要安排他们去窥视其他学生的行为,他们却只是笑了一下,没有任何质疑,不管怎样,他们始终在按照我的要求去做事。两年前甚至有一个女生为了分数举报了她的男朋友,在规则变得更加严苛时候,她甚至第二次提交了经过详细补充的举报报告,就只是为了分数。

他们说他们还意识到了,为了得到一些渴望得到的东西,他们竟然会不惜绕很大的弯路。他们关注我的Instagram,却没有考虑到他们的私生活可能会被他人窥视;他们没有对我的计划提出任何疑问,因为自己心中从没有想过反对我,最多在背后对我发发牢骚,而成绩和分数才是他们唯一关心的东西。与此同时,他们认为我很有意思,因此总是听从我的布置,而且对这种受控制不以为然。

这也是他们总是在这门课上不及格的原因。从自身的表现中认识到自己的弱点,这是在对《1984》的学习中得到的重要教训,了解这些教训可能会让他们预知到自己国家未来的方向。

现行的教育往往都忽略了对学生分析问题、人际交往以及集中注意力这些能力的培养,这也是整个社会的缩影:书面语言的使用率越来越低,内容的快餐化不断催生更简洁明了的内容形式,以适应这种变化。学生们需要在语言运用这一方面开辟一条新的道路,书籍永远是他们的财富,对于那些需要慰藉和灵感的人来说,书是上天给予的永不褪色的珍宝。

今天,我很高兴成为了一名教师,我有责任培养学生的批判思维,使他们不只是自己父母的复制品,除了比他们更加向往自由以外其他一成不变,然后去激化这些未来的选民对政治的怀疑。而应该去锻炼他们所需的重要能力,使他们不只成为一名能够掌握阅读能力的好读者,更能成为一名作家和思想家。同时我也会教育他们为人正派、关爱他人、保持清醒、勇于求真,我希望我的学生不要盲目地拥护某个党派,希望他们敢于发出自己的声音。我相信勇气是能够被培养的能力。此刻,九年级的学生正在他们的课堂上开始读《杀死一只知更鸟》,而十二年级的学生也仍然在课堂上读着《1984》。

相比于1965年的青年人,我认为现在的青年人十分缺乏优秀的阅读和写作能力。(美国在1965年兴起的平权运动改变了其移民政策,黑人权力的斗争也达到了一个新的阶段)我的一个学生却对此很是不满,认为只是时代不同,情况并不是像我说的那么糟糕。但其实我想说的是现在很多人就像《1984》里大洋国的公民一样,解放自己的感情和交流思想的能力已经渐渐被侵蚀了。这个学生自信地高呼学生没有必要也不应该去读《1984》,因为那些内容太过老旧、太过混乱,没有人会理会了。和我理论了十分钟后未果,她推门而出。

在过去的一年里,365天中,什么事情都没有发生,我既感到一丝害怕,却又受到几分鼓舞。【全文完】

注释:

1、《杀死一只知更鸟》:美国经典名著,讲述了白人律师芬奇不顾种族歧视的社会问题以及个人安危,坚持为一名被控强奸白人妇女的黑人进行辩护的故事。


文章编译:熊航

责任编辑:刘子豪

原文作者:ANDREW SIMMONS

文章来源:The Atlantic

发表时间:2016-11-20

原文链接:Teaching 1984 in 2016

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By |2017-04-05T16:51:49+00:00三月 28th, 2017|文艺杂文, 生活, 编辑推荐|11 Comments

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神奇小莺歌
为了艾泽拉斯 为了艾泽拉斯

不知道当时为什么手抽接了这篇,是真的难。

11 Comments

  1. Mandy
    Mandy 2017年5月4日 at 下午8:39

    让学生们体会一下《1984》里面的情节,是个不错的主意,书里面感受到的极权主义带给我们的反思可能并没有亲身经历那么深刻。而痛苦的事情在亲身经历过后,防微杜渐的欲望也更强烈。

  2. Aimee
    Aimee 2017年4月30日 at 下午5:26

    在这种环境下,学习毫无疑问的变成了一种非常恐怖的事情,每天忍受着四周的监视,师生和学生之间的不信任每天都存在着,更糟糕的是每个人都习以为常、理所当然,长此以往,学习不再是学习,而变成了噩梦。

  3. Dorisyi
    Dorisyi 2017年4月27日 at 下午9:19

    想起我的高中老师,规矩立了一大推,嘴上说是为了我们好,一直觉得他那种恨不得24小时盯着你看有没有好好学习,有没有给他惹麻烦,一旦有人违反,全班通报,关键大部分人是认同这种管教方式的,这该死的集体荣誉感呵呵。还让全班同学轮流观察班上情况,晚上定时汇报情况,hentai.对他印象一直不太好,功利主义者。当然也有同学现在都觉得他很赞,因为通过这种方式让她受到了老师的关注。。。

  4. 旺旺碎冰冰
    旺旺碎冰冰 2017年4月12日 at 下午8:49

    看过1984这本书 那种时时刻刻被监视的情景确实令人窒息

  5. VraiIris
    VraiIris 2017年4月11日 at 上午11:06

    可怕的不是极权主义,可怕的是,你在这种主义下竟然乐此不疲甚至享受快感!

  6. Lindsay
    Lindsay 2017年4月9日 at 下午9:24

    这个老师的实验既恐怖又很有教育意义。学生们在这样的实验中从开始的不满到最后的彻底顺从,简直是可怕的改变。如今的社会上还有这样的被极权主义支配而不自知的人,也很可悲

  7. its ok
    its ok 2017年4月4日 at 下午8:30

    “经常无故缺勤,疲于阅读,抄袭他人作业等” 读到这里是不是觉得似曾相识,没准说的就是你呢!
    “但对于为何我要安排他们去窥视其他学生的行为,他们却只是笑了一下,没有任何质疑,不管怎样,他们始终在按照我的要求去做事。”再读到这里,是不是也觉得说的很对?
    “现行的教育往往都忽略了对学生分析问题、人际交往以及集中注意力这些能力的培养,这也是整个社会的缩影”OK,再看这里,是不是按耐不住激动的心情想要举双手赞同?
    好了,既然你都毫不犹豫的认同这些观点,也不反驳我,恭喜你你已经成为了文中这些所被描述的人,而且正在慢慢走向1984的腐蚀中

  8. Ventiiz
    Ventiiz 2017年4月3日 at 下午6:51

    很多时候,人们屈服于权威,屈服于权力,愿意去割舍一部分权利而获得利益,所谓人为财死,鸟为食亡。正式运用这种心理,极权主义可以在很多时候达到预期,甚至超出预期的效果。平民大众之所以为愚民,就是因为经济基础并不能支撑批判性思维的生活

  9. 刘子豪
    刘子豪 2017年4月1日 at 上午8:45

    《1984》读完以后给人感觉就像在读美国《独立宣言》的反义词,《独立宣言》里说:任何政府形式一但有背这些目的,人民就有权改变它或废除它,组织新的政府。然而在《1984》里,生存的风险打败了改变的欲望,人被牧了很久就真的变成了羊,改变不仅是奢侈品,甚至变成了遥不可及的一个意象,不能被提及。作者敢于将这样的政治概念运用于教学中,让身在另一个国度的我深感敬佩,拉美裔学生生活在《1984》式的恐惧里,被当作异己来排除,然而,我不知道我们是否就生活在这种恐惧的另一个表现形式里。

  10. hmbcq
    hmbcq 2017年3月31日 at 下午5:48

    当社会只能存在一种声音的时候这个社会就不正常了 这篇文章让我想起了中国的文革10年 人们一样被压制着只能表达出一样的声音

  11. figgur
    figgur 2017年3月29日 at 下午5:52

    其中谈到他实验将自己变得越来越严厉,甚至上厕所都要经过他的允许,现实生活中,大部分学生是反感的,表面虽然在规整纪律,却没有实质了解背后学生们的想法。里面有些例子,让我觉得人性有点可怕,为了自己的利益而变得扭曲。

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Teaching 1984 in 2016

Every year, one high-school educator converts his classroom into a totalitarian state to teach George Orwell’s book. This year, the lesson feels different.

My classroom becomes a totalitarian state every school year toward the end of October. In preparation for teaching 1984 to seniors, I announce the launch of a new program aimed at combating senioritis, a real disease with symptoms that include frequent unexplained absences, indifferent reading, and shoddy work. I tell each class that another class is largely to blame for the problem and require, for a substantial participation grade, that students file daily reports on another student’s work habits and conduct; most are assigned to another student in the same class.

We blanket the campus in posters featuring my face and simple slogans that warn against the dangers of senioritis and declare my program the only solution to the school’s woes. Last year, my program was OSIP (Organization for Senior Improvement Project); this year, it’s SAFE (Scholar Alliance For Excellence). We chant a creed at the start of each class, celebrate the revelatory reports of “heroes” with cheers, and boo those who fail to participate enthusiastically. I create a program Instagram that students eagerly follow. I occasionally bestow snacks as rewards.

After a week, new posters (and stickers) speak less to senioritis and more to, well, me. The new slogans are simpler: my name, mostly. My image is everywhere. I change the rules, requiring students to obtain more points in order to pass. I restrict previously granted privileges, like the right to leave the room to use the bathroom. I subtract points for subjectively noted lapses in conviction. I fabricate a resistance movement and vow to stamp out the ignorant opposition to our noble cause.

Occasionally, a kid groans in exasperation and I fix him with a long, nasty, meaningful look. If a student asks about the point of it all, I ask him why no one else seems to have the same concern. I get louder. I get meaner. I give students points for alerting me to the sources of dissent. Eager to shore up their grades, gleeful at the chance to tweak friends and possibly enemies, a few students furtively hand over notes after classes. I collect the reports two weeks after they start the book, pronounce the experiment over (with language paying tribute to Orwell’s telling appendix), and ask them what they learned.

The author’s classroom-turned-totalitarian-state (Andrew Simmons)

The simulation is my favorite activity of the year. This year, it feels a little different than usual. “Make School SAFE Again,” reads the students’ main slogan for their campaign this year, which launched two weeks ago. Other posters employ a comically primitive vocabulary arranged in brutally simple syntax:
Senioritis is a Disaster.

Senioritis is Disgusting.

Senioritis is Sad.

Senioritis is Shameful.

This year, I plumb the depths of the iffy performance instincts I honed in my high-school theater classes to attempt an increasingly belligerent swagger—a departure from my usual grinning cult leader shtick. Rampant senioritis is a problem, I warn, squinting and jabbing with a finger. I’m gonna stop it, I say. My antics and governing strategy highlight hallmarks of the superstate Oceania in 1984: An effective message should be simple, relentless, and inescapable; lies can become truths when listeners can’t conceive of alternatives; threats against free speech dampen resistance; fear of personal injury inhibits solidarity among citizens; scapegoating divides the populace; political enemies and those offering rational critical responses to tyranny are demonized. Evaluating these tactics is particularly important because my students live in a society in which they can, I believe, work spectacularly well.

Enormously well.

Tremendously well.

Posters showing the teacher-dictator’s face and some of the students’ slogans (Andrew Simmons)

The 1984 unit always reflects what’s going on in the country and world. The past few years, my classes have studied the NSA, the Patriot Act, and online privacy. Right now, some of my students are afraid that their world may start to feel more like the one they’re reading about in the book and experiencing in my classroom. My school is 65 percent Latino. The white kids tend to be liberal. I teach in Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Still, Latino students arrived on the morning of November 9, some from Richmond, across the bay, and reported that a handful of white people interrupted their morning commutes to urge them to “go back to Mexico.” I live in Oakland, and at about 12:30 a.m. on that Wednesday, a few men who appeared to be drunk and white staggered down my street, shooting extremely powerful fireworks into the sky above my house, yelling that this was “the greatest day in the history of America.”

I came to school on Wednesday, but a lot of students didn’t. Many of those who came said they were afraid, confused, angry, and anxious. Many Latino students tell me of ICE raids that happened on their neighborhood a decade ago. Several recall seeing their fathers handcuffed and thrown into vans by armored, helmeted officers. Some did not see them for years. A few kids have done time in private immigration detention centers. Many have family members who came to the United States from countries abused by corrupt regimes. Maybe the kids don’t understand how America’s government works. Don’t they know that there are checks on executive power and that campaign bravado—even the cruelest sort—doesn’t necessarily follow the country’s elected presidents into the White House? Maybe the kids—some of them gay, many of them immigrants, most of them young women—worry in a histrionic, sky-is-falling fashion because they’re less touched by “real-world” concerns than adults, who, of course, know better.

Their sense of the significance of the occasion and their expression of their concerns should not be dampened. Instead, it should be viewed as the ultimate teachable moment.

Every year, when I ask students what they learned from the class simulation—my artificial teachable moment—they say they realize that loyalty isn’t as ironclad as it should be. They didn’t question why they had to spy on fellow seniors; they chuckled about the task but they did it anyway. I had a points-hungry go-getter two years ago who eagerly filed detailed supplemental reports on her boyfriend.

Students say they learned how quickly a mission supposedly for the greater good can take an unpalatable detour. They admit that they did not always immediately grasp swift changes to previously outlined rules. They admit that they followed me on Instagram without considering the risk of letting an authority figure (were he so inclined) glimpse their personal lives. They realize that they didn’t ask for details about my plan to eliminate senioritis—that they formed no serious opposition, that they just grimaced when my back was turned and whined lightly in isolation. They cared about their grades, they admit, and they thought I was funny, so they did as they were told.

For these reasons, they always fail the simulation. From their performance, they learn a lesson about their weaknesses. This is also a key lesson from 1984. Understanding it can inform their response to the direction their country might be headed.

A good teacher does not try to firm up an ideological resistance along partisan lines. Instead, a good teacher shows students how to discern clickbait from reported stories and to read both Breitbart and The New York Times, not to keep a balanced personal perspective so much as to examine how media outlets interpret and spin events. In an age when fact-checkers can provide guidance in real time and the internet swells with more information than a person can actually take in, students need to be able to read more than captions and watch clips longer than 10 seconds.

Analytical, communication, and attention deficits are a problem of education but also a social environment that has steadily required less in the way of written and verbal communication, as well as an entertainment industry that has provided content—shorter, faster, brighter, simpler—to suit that shift. Students need to hack through manipulative language, whether it be a bill’s obtuse legalese concealing bigotry or stark campaign declarations loaded with ugly connotations. They need to see books as rich, perpetual gifts to those in need of solace and inspiration, and to know that their fears have been addressed before, in more dire circumstances, and that thinkers from the past can help them anticipate the new guises of the terrors they faced.

I am ecstatic to be a teacher at this time in American history. I have a responsibility—not to transform every liberal parent’s progeny into a slightly sharper copy or radicalize future voters skeptical of politics, but to shore up their critical faculties, to make them more skilled readers, writers, and thinkers. And to also make them decent, compassionate, alert, engaged truth-seekers, neither callous, fearful Party enablers nor complacent, dead-eyed Proles who poke their iPhones and scoff at memes and chirp their discontent in brief blips of coherence. Bravery is something that people can be taught. Books may be the best teachers for what to do when the fireworks veer too close. They show students how to write their own appendix to a sad chapter that feels final. My 12th-grade classes are reading 1984. And, in an essay for another day, my ninth-grade class is halfway through To Kill a Mockingbird. Former high-schoolers who did their reading probably don’t need that story’s relevance explained.

In December 2015, a student reacted angrily when I wondered if the average social-media-enthralled 17-year-old in 2015 might not possess the reading and writing proficiency of her 1965 counterpart. I was asking students if, as with the Newspeak-besieged citizens of Oceania in 1984, a struggle to unravel and communicate complex ideas could result in the gradual erosion of those ideas themselves. It’s just different now, not worse, the student said. With the bell, 10 minutes later, she breezed toward the door. Over her shoulder, she shouted, sprightly and confident, that classes shouldn’t have to read 1984. It was too long, too confusing, and too full of words no one used anymore. Nothing that has happened in the past 365 days has made me more afraid and emboldened than that. [END]


From: The Atlantic

Webpage: Teaching 1984 in 2016 | NOV 20, 2016

Author: ANDREW SIMMONS

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