Sesame Street and Today’s Schooling
After reading about this week’s blog prompt, I searched “Sesame Street” on the internet. Yes, I am new to this… I knew a little bit about it… specifically, the puppets… and now I came to know it has 52 seasons and has been with us since 1969. Soon thoughts came popping into my mind like… how… where was I all these years… I researched more and I saw that it covers a variety of real-life situations and is also used as a tool for educating kids. Melissa Kearny and Phillip Levine, in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, said that kids under the age of seven, who watch Sesame Street, do better in schools.
Also, I found this video on YouTube in which Sesame Street is used for refugee children.
After all the research, I came to the conclusion that sesame street is beneficial for preschool kids or kids who are away from school or before kids go to school. Still, I am not 100% sure about my conclusion… I will continue to research more and learn more about it. Moving further let’s dive into the meaning of traditional schooling.
So, What is traditional schooling?
According to Wikipedia, Traditional education, also known as back-to-basics, conventional education or customary education, refers to long-established customs that society has traditionally used in schools. Some forms of education reform promote the adoption of progressive education practices, and a more holistic approach which focuses on individual students’ needs; academics, mental health, and social-emotional learning. In the definition, Wikipedia also added, “in the eyes of reformers, traditional teacher-centred methods focused on rote learning and memorization must be abandoned in favour of student-centred and task-based approaches to learning.” I agree with this statement, task-based approaches and student-student interactions play a vital role in a child’s overall development.
But today’s schooling has changed drastically by using technology in our classrooms. It is used as an interaction tool and classes are more student-centred than teacher-centred. Nowadays, teaching is more result-oriented and engaging. The use of AV tools has been with us since the 17th century, when John Amos Comenius (1592–1670), a Bohemian educator, introduced pictures as teaching aids in his books which were written in native languages. The findings of the Sunder (2018) study revealed that audio-visual aids are the most effective and easy way to make the teaching-learning process result-oriented.
In this blog, I would like to mention the advantages and disadvantages of using AV tools in the classroom from my point of view.
- Conveys meaning clearly
- Attract the attention of students
- Increases understanding
- Easy to remember and follow
- More engaging
- Has a lasting effect on the receiver
- Needs space
- Technical problems
- Easier to lose focus
- Decreases teacher’s role
I believe only the use of AV tools is not sufficient… We need a lot of time for student interaction, as to be an effective teacher only a teacher-student relationship is not enough. We should foster student-student relationships as well with the help of several tools. Lastly, I would like to quote the point mentioned in the article Audiovisual Development and Education, “it is not the medium that controls the efficiency of communication, but appropriate media or a combination of the medium needs to suit particular user and content. The text has different affordances than AV media; effective communication is achieved by different media complementing, but not replacing each other.” Thus, I think that in today’s schooling teachers are demanded to be facilitators of knowledge not knowledge keepers. We are here to teach children several skills and guide them about the tools/skills that are required in this modern era of technological advancements.
AV tools on their own are not sufficient. As you highlight, there are several drawbacks to the use of these tools in the classroom. I know from my own experience that I sometimes have spent more time getting students familiar with a tool than working on a key idea in a lesson. Again, my own limited knowledge of the tool is also a limiting factor, as we will shift to a new concept the following week where the skill of building of website is not needed. Your last point about how teacher’s are now ‘facilitator’s of knowledge’ is key; we are there as partners, not the one’s who hold the knowledge.
The video you shared was an excellent addition to the conversation. It’s easy for us in Canada to criticize the educational quality of programs like Sesame Street, but these programs are invaluable to children who do not have access to traditional education. In the video the woman said Sesame Street does not just focus on numeracy and literacy education, but also social and emotional skills that children need to succeed in life. Sesame Street teaches lessons of resilience and coping to children which I think is often overlooked or not taught in traditional education settings. The video also talked about how parents can use the teachings of Sesame Street to open up conversations with their children. In a way, Sesame Street then comes full circle having parents, guardians, or grandparents having instructional and meaningful conversations with children.
Great post! I also cited the study by Kearny & Levine. I found it super interesting to see their findings and the impacts it can have on helping educate children who are lacking in traditional preschool opportunities. As someone who works in a community school, I can see the education gap due to socio-economics in many situations.
As you said, AV tools alone are not sufficient. I think that they can be great supplementary tools and tools to support learning, but they are not enough on their own. They can’t teach the kids. What I do love about Sesame Street specifically, as Nicole also mentioned, is that it does not only focus on academics but also social situations and real world scenarios. This allows students another way to have that education. The AV tools (Sesame Street in this case) can introduce the topic, and we can dive in further at school.