Wednesday, January 12, 2011

book summary

The book The Dumbest Generation is a good look into one of the major ciriticisms of the computer generation, but the picture Mark Bauerlein paints is a little more bleak than it really is. His stats are taken a little out of context, and kids have always complained about hard work, hard thinking, hard reading. The difference between this younger generation and my own generation is that this young generation is being scrutinized more often and more publicly than ay other generation has been. And I believe that a huge part of the blame for this younger generation's intellectual laziness (that we laugh about on Jay Leno's "Jaywalking") and technologocal dependence is my generation's fault (maybe WE are the dumbest generation). We are the parents who let them "google" instead of research, cut and paste instead of read and summarize; we are the parents who buy them their cell phones and let them text all day and all night and sleep with their cell phones; we are the parents who buy them the WII instead of sending them outside to play. It has happened on our watch!

Our job as parents and teachers is pretty clear and I think we, as teachers, are in a nice position of power. WE can help them to use this technology for thinking instead to avoid thinking. Kids do still read. Bauerlin states that the sale of the Harry Potter books rejuvenated book sales, maybe not quite a much as people hoped and predicted, but kids were/are definitely reading. "In a year with no Potter, BISG estimated that total sales of juvenile books would fall 13 million....Sales would jump again when cloth and paper editions of the next Potter arrive, but after that, unit sales would tumble a stunning 42 million copies" (pg 44). In my own household, Harry Potter was read, reread, and led the way to a search of other series from the library. As an English teacher, I still get to teach students about the beautiful language of Shakespeare, the horror or Poe, the sharp wit of Pope. I still get to teach them to love to think and feel ...I just have to do it a little differently... but I still have the privilege of teaching them that the hard work feels good. I just get to use a lot of tools to help me to do it.

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