Re: sesame street

Arthur L. Baron (abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA)
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 10:25:52 MDT

I like this line of reasoning that Nicolette has contributed to this
discussion. I can't contribute much except for the observation that twentieth
century pedagogy and andragogy are not totally in tune with how people are
learning today - people are returning to traditional learning through
traditional means of information transmission, and McLuhan's "The Medium is the
Message" rings very true today. There seems to be a struggle between the want
to learn in a specific way and the want to teach in a different way.
Computerized learning today is very oral and visual, becoming more interactive
(I loath that word), more hands on, less abstract, but abstraction is being
learned via virtual reality and other video games. I would like to be able to
put on a virtual reality headset and look outside the space shuttle's window in
real time. Absrtaction is taking on a different context. Instead of
abstraction through language it is abstraction through other media - oral and

The skills children learn first are listening then talking then reading and
writing. Listening and talking, visual and oral, are universal, traditional
learning strategies common to all cultures while the reading and writing skills
are reserved for higher education, at whatever level higher means ... as one
professor told me years ago, the true value to university is in the ability to
research and write a paper, the Piles get Higher and Deeper the farther
you go ;-).


> maybe the problem isn't cognition but what students need it for. if we
> try to teach principles derived from a primarily literate way of
> organizing knowledge to people whose learning has been in "sound bites"
> then we will probably fail, but that doesn't mean that (as the two SS
> babies point out - and i can say that i too identify with them, certainly
> with the learning of the preamble of the US constitution through
> "schoolhouse rock" - i learned about nouns and adjectives that way too)
> the students we're trying to teach can't think; what it may actually mean
> is that they think in a different way. the remark about 'primitives'
> looked at in this context therefore may or may not be relevant. perhaps
> it is possible to argue that people raised on sesame street etc find
> so-called logical analysis difficult (though i'm not convinced); but has
> anyone tried to see how good they are at other kinds of reasoning -
> synthesis of different points of view, for example?
> nicolette bethel