Sights and Sounds
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology
Sights, sounds, experiences,
thoughts, and words.
Over millions of years, we have evolved. Through seeing, hearing,
experiencing, and thinking, we have learned the workings of the world,
|and so, adapted. The written word,
however, is a very recent development, when speaking in terms of the
universe's lifespan. Memorizing written words is an even newer
It has been estimated that whatever amount of
time children spend at school, they spend twice as much time
watching television and movies. Some might label this as
laziness, and advocate forcing our children to behave differently.
Others observe that children display a greater response to sights and
sounds than they do to written words alone.
A few of us have inherited a gift for learning by reading words.
These people have a distinct advantage over others in our
educational system; others may be just as intelligent, but simply learn
in different ways.
||Some educators say that although almost all of us will learn to
read, 50% of us will remain functionally illiterate. This entails
that 50% of the population does not learn by reading.
Our job, as educators, should not be attempting to change a person's
genetic predisposition. This would be like trying to change
|someone from being right-handed to left handed.
We must seek a teaching method that will work well for
essentially everyone. Rather than stressing a method of
learning that focuses solely on the written word, we must emphasize
diversity in our mental abilities.
By their behavior, students of all ages are
informing us that they respond very well to audiovisual
presentations. This is one of the most effective means of
conveying information. We all need an extensive fund of knowledge
in order to thrive in the world. Rote memorization, however, is
burdensome, stressful, and slow. Such a process does not
contribute to our ability to survive in the world. Most of the
information learned is committed to short term memory, and quickly
Audiovisual presentations are enjoyable, require little effort on the
part of the teacher, and enable students to incorporate a
prodigious amount of information into their long-term memory.
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