Summary: Education and Sesame Street

7 July 2016

Nail Postman, who has written many books on the effects of aspects of popular culture on children, claimed that television program runs counter to the purpose of education. To illustrate his point, Nail Postman offer two example: Sesame Street and The Voyage of the Mimi. In 1969, Sesame Street was embraced by children, parents, and educators. To children, Sesame Street was believed to be “the most crafted environments on TV” and “a series of commercials as teaching material”.

To parents, Sesame Street relieved them of the responsibility of restricting their children’s access to television and teaching their pre-school children how to read. To educators, Sesame Street appeared to be “an imaginative aid in solving the growing problem of teaching Americans how to read” and encouraging children to love school. However, we now know that Sesame Street encourages children to love school only if school is like Sesame Street.

Summary: Education and Sesame Street Essay Example

Yet, it’s not the Sesame Street but the inventors of television to be blamed, because as a good television show, Sesame Street was “made to encourage children to love television”. Moreover, the idea of teaching children letters and numbers is irrelevant, as John Dewey once wrote: “We learn what we do”, on the other hand, “television educates by teaching children to do what television-viewing requires them”. Furthermore, the invention of television in America leads to the third crisis in Western education.

“The classroom is still tied to the slow-moving printed word”, meanwhile, television has gained power to control youth education. As a result, television is accurately a curriculum, which “competes successfully with the school curriculum”. First, television contributes the idea that “teaching and entertainment are inseparable”, which is nowhere to be found in educational discourses. Television offer three commandments opposite to the idea of education: no prerequisites, no perplexity and no exposition.

Second, we can see “a massive reorientation toward learning is taking place” not only in the decline of the potency of the classroom but also in the refashioning of the classroom. For example, the experiment in Philadelphia, where the classroom is reconstituted as a rock concert; teachers from primary grades through college are increasing the visual stimulation, reducing exposition and relying less on reading and writing assignments.

Also, The Voyage of the Mimi, a synthesis of New Education, “depicts the adventures of four young people who accompany two scientists and a crusty sea captain on a voyage to monitor the behaviour of humpback whales off the coast of Maine”. It is believed to be the flagship and financial savings, but in fact, the idea of The Voyage of the Mimi is similar to “audio-visual aids”, which is used by teachers for years, and the project Watch Your Mouth several years ago.

Nonetheless, the Department of Education claimed that “learning increases when information is presented in a dramatic setting” (Ms. Richard), which is ironically opposite from the 3 commandments of television and in fact, differs from many reputable studies. Last but not least, the educational shows are often not made for their value, but for television, which means, only televisible material would be created. In conclusion, television program runs counter to the purpose of education.

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