Monday, May 19, 2008

Are Americans Getting Dumber? DUH!!

I ran across this article on whether or not Americans are foreswearing learning for TV and video games. For instance, how many Americans would have to look up the word "foreswear"? Why do Americans not have time for reading and yet plenty of time for watching reality TV or World of Warcraft?

What worries me is a seemingly prevalent mindset that learning is bad. Terms like "geek" and "nerd" have long been pervasive in schools. I remember being teased and harassed in the seventh grade because some classmates saw a book I was reading (Inside the Atom by Isaac Asimov). Certainly students that like science are often castigated for their interests [1] and this conduct seems to be spreading to all areas of education - especially to young girls. What is going on?

I have asked my students about this and they just shrug their shoulders as say, "I dunno." Does anyone out there have any ideas?

-Safari Bob


[1] See: Sagan, C. (1996). The Demon-Haunted World. New York: Ballantine Books, pp. 321-323.

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