Monday, October 29, 2007

Postman Reading

I kinda have a bone to pick with this week's reading, "The Judgment of Thamus" by Neil Postman. Towards the end he writes about a "psychic battle" that will take place within students, who must make sudden shifts from the "world of television" to the "world of the printed word". Maybe I have too lofty an idea of what education should be, but wouldn't a good teacher use all mediums to teach a lesson? Teachers are professionals in the business of education. Just like any other business, technologies change and old business practices must adapt. Reading from a textbook and copying notes isn't going to cut it with today's student population, which is bombarded with fast paced imagery. Teachers need to adapt, which is a viewpoint I think Postman would support. However, he concludes that discussion by stating that the printed word need not always be so highly valued. I completely disagree with that. Just because students are growing up in an world of constant entertainment, doesn't mean that education shouldn't stress print knowledge. Television should not replace reading, or primary sources for example. In my opinion, the printed word should be valued even more highly in the classroom as a means of achievement. If a 10 year old video game addict can sit for 30 minutes and read a grade-level biography of Abraham Lincoln, isn't that an accomplishment? Not only is he gaining knowledge, but learning how to create mental imagery, practicing deduction and arriving at his own conclusions about Abraham Lincoln's life. Television isn't going to teach a student how to do that.

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