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 thatit 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 creptinto 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) . 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 thatclassroom 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 incorporateevery 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.