The Entertainment in Education In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, he discusses the impact that television has on the American culture. Postman talks about how much the American culture hands itself over to the television and he show the ways that it is being done He shows the impact that television has on the written word, education, and the youth in America. Postman explains how the way teaching has changed to make it easier for our youth to understand and how they aren’t bettering the curriculum but making it more entertaining. Somehow the television has crept into the school systems of America and is now becoming, sadly, a vital part of the education of our youth.
I consider it a huge problem because we are putting the thing that causes our minds to shut down in front of us in school! In what way does it cause our minds to shut down you might ask? At a very young age we are taught that the television is supposed to be used for fun and entertainment, so the first time that something does not catch our interests we change the channel. Postman talks about this and makes mention of the effects a show like “Sesame Street” has on us by saying that there are many things about these kinds of shows that catch our eyes and please us and serve as preparation for entry into a fun-loving culture (142).
But in reality it turns out that not all learning is fun and that sometimes effort is required to learn. Postman also says this “Mainly, they will have learned that learning is a form of entertainment or, more precisely, that anything worth learning is a form of entertainment, and out to” (154).
There is one activity that stands out for it’s prominent and ubiquity – the world’s most popular leisure, pastime – television. Some people regard TV as the greatest invention of the humanity and can hardly imagine their lives without it, others, on contrary, are strongly convinced that it is used only for brainwashing and is a real curse for society. So what is television? ...
Postman says, “You will find it is said by some that children will learn the best when they are interested in what they are learning” (146).
Okay sure, by this point our children are convinced form their experiences when they were growing up that television is entertainment.
So if the only things we are interested in are the things that catch our attention then what is it that is being taught if we are learning things that only catch our interest? Things like “The Voyage of the Mimi” are being used to teach our youth. The television series just mentioned is an educational drama used in many of the schools across America and it teaches kids how to track down whales or to live on an uninhabitable island. The American culture today tends to confuse entertainment with education and it is helping to stupefy our next generation. In his chapter “Teaching as an Amusing Activity” Postman states that television is becoming more and more apart of the a curriculum in education and that classroom curriculum seems to be moving further and further away from the written word. I fully agree with what he says about this.
It happens far to often for that our culture will take the easy way out of learning. Our culture has made a conscious decision to incorporate every type of media into education except the written word. The further away culture gets from the written word the further it gets from thinking. Postman states in his book “One is entirely justified in saying that the major educational enterprise now being undertaken in the United States in not happening in its classrooms but in the home in front of the television set” (145).
This is a valid point involving television becoming part of curriculum. The point that Postman makes about the rapid movement away from the written word is extremely valid. However this is just a small part of an extremely serious problem in America. The American culture has been taught that the best way is the easiest way. The introduction of television into the school system has given an opportunity to cut out reading and other time consuming methods of learning. The problem that most Americans don’t understand is the absence of literature makes it impossible to attain profitable information.
The institutions of education which are shaping the minds of todays’ youth do not all teach the same facts and curriculum. Throughout the world there are differing opinions on what, when, and how certain facts, theories, and concepts should be taught. Not all children are taught the same truths; this statement might sound unfair, or maybe incomprehensible. How, one may ask, could accepted ...
Trying to merge education and entertainment is like trying to bring two magnets together that are of the same polarity. The two just don’t go together and they refuse to. Teachers can try but they will all fall short of this. The two cannot be combined because they mean opposite things. For learning to be entertaining would be an oxymoron, because the meaning of the word ‘amusing” is the act of not thinking! It is pointless to try and make the two coexist and live peacefully without things going awry. A common misconception is all knowledge gained from television is worthwhile.
Postman clearly states that this is not the case and, all knowledge is necessarily worth knowing. In an earlier passage Postman quotes Henry David Thoreau as asking whether the telegraph was necessarily worth having and if it would deliver valid information around the country. He was correct about the telegraph and how it spread inconsequential information around the country. The television is the same way, it spreads loads useless information. Most of all the information heard on the news is absolutely useless. I agree with Postman about what he believes about the effects of television on the educational system.
The culture is dummy ing down the education in schools by trying to mix it with entertainment and it is ruining the educational system. Because of the television the future generations of of America have been severely stupefied and are more illiterate than previous generations.