Sorry about that. It just came up the other day, this general sense that educators are in something of a bind w/r/t television and their students’ viewing habits, which are, admittedly, atrocious straight across the board.
Used to be that teachers could teach transmission-style, lecturing for more than five minutes at a stretch, assign problems one through thirty odd, and preach the immorality of t.v. without inhibition.
But lecturing has become stigmatized, problem sets must be differentiated, and a teacher singing the universal immorality of any medium is an odd tune to hear.
Particularly for you next-gen / future-of-learning types, I’m curious how you deal with t.v. No matter how we’re defining School 2.0, a consistent tenet seems to be that students must learn how to sort out the useful and the awful of any medium, even one with such a negatively skewed balance as t.v.
Far be it from any of us to adopt a passive stance on an issue as pervasive as this. So, as a teacher, what do you do with t.v.? What’s the net learning result when you spend hours peer reviewing each other’s blogs but then send them home to 106 & Park and My Super Sweet Sixteen without any sort of reflection?
Comments from other people:
Tony and Rich both give the televisual equivalent of “I can quit whenever I want,” while Mr. Aston advocates self-reflection and Ryan comes down in favor of TV Turnoff Week. Alex Italics wrote a fantastic open letter to Adbusters last week dismantling its TV Turnoff Week one hypocritical, morally relative assumption at a time.
If I only want to read Shakespeare and not Hitler, I simply don’t read Mein Kampf. If “7th Heaven” comes on right after the moon landing, I get up and turn off the television before it starts. It’s just that simple, and it doesn’t have to involve throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Finally, Michael K., who usually trolls around here under assumed names to rile up my hapless patrons, drops the comment of the week:
Cause hereâ€™s the thing: the burden of passivity isnâ€™t on the television and it isnâ€™t on the tight-knit group of execs spoon-feeding entertainment …. Rather, the burden of passivity is on you, the viewer. You have complete control over what you watch and how you watch it and, if youâ€™re somehow â€œforcedâ€ to watch something – which is kind of a ludicrous proposition – itâ€™s on you to engage the program, to be active, to spin it into something worthwhile. A pop song a few years back contained a pertinent lyric, â€œIf youâ€™re bored then youâ€™re boring.â€ To blindly eliminate television from ones environment isnâ€™t a stand against television at all, itâ€™s an admission that one cannot exist – simultaneously and in moderation – with an inanimate device; it isnâ€™t a statement of intelligence, but an admission of ignorance.
Whenever Mike goes on one of his public indecency binges and starts calling his friends one-by-one for bail money, I’m the first to go all Apostle Peter on him. Times like this, though, when the kid and that brain of his aspire to more than defrauding charities, I’m proud to call him a friend. Good lookin’ out, amigo.