Good Reads | The Dumbest Generation

Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation

1. What is the one major point from this work that I would like to remember?

The major point of this book that I would like to remember is that even thought knowledge is so accessible through so many vehicles of information younger generations are not utilizing them to acquire knowledge. Instead, younger generations are focused on the “now” and their own realities, peer realities, and present situations that keep them from being critical thinkers and better citizens.

Page reference = 104. On page 104, the author added a sentence that was incredibly subdued in relation to others in the text, but that was incredibly powerful in my opinion: “Bradbury and Postman form high points in a tradition of media commentary that claims the screen ‘atomizes’ individuals, isolating and pacifying them while purveying illusions of worldly contact.” I fully support that statement. In relation to that sentence, the author later in the book mentions how parents leave children exposed to the TV so they can rest for a while or perform house chores, he mentions how TV shows have very little use of complex words compared to written text that affects the amount of vocabulary a child has and this directly affects the child’s development in school, and other empirical data that show how damaging and stupefying some technologies can be. Those data are really scary.

2. In my opinion, what are the educational implications of the work?

Mostly, this book makes education professionals aware that the younger generations value different things. It is our responsibility as educators to ensure that younger generations are exposed to older and classic works, also that they understand the importance of older works, and how they relate to the present, and how they can help to shape the future. The use of technologies should also be taught to be a supplement to other ways of acquiring knowledge, not the exclusive route.

3. What are the personal implications of the work?

The content of this book relates directly to my age group. In my present situation, I would like to take all that Mark Bauerlein said as constructive criticism because I do agree with how he describes the so called dotcom generation. However, I’ve always strived to stand out from this apathetic attitude towards knowledge and better myself with the acquisition of more extensive information about the past, politics, to be more participative in civic endeavors and positively influence younger generations.

4. What questions does this work raise for me in my present situation?

  • How can we, teachers, minimize the “stupefication” of the younger generation since the presence of new technology and media is all around us and it is so influential? Is it possible?
  • By preparing new service teachers to have the same technological knowledge and interests as the younger generations will we create “guides on the side” or professionals that understand the realities of their target population?

5. If the author were available for dialogue, what question(s) would I ask?

I would ask his opinions about the affect of computers and new technologies on bridging cultures and people that fit the dumbest generation age group.  I was born and raised outside the US and from the early age of 13 I was already connected with pen pals in the United States which I met through the internet, therefore enhancing my interest in mastering the English language and also increasing my interest in learning about new cultures. In the book, he fails to mention how new technologies and media interconnect cultures and people, and I see those as one the major reason why I pursued a higher education in a different nation.

For more information about this book click HERE.

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