Television

Television is definitely a tremendous factor in bringing a new dimension to education. Its potentialities are far from fully exploited. A widespread reorganization of teaching programs is about to take place, as soon as some of the present difficulties are overcome. The eye-to-eye appeal of television brings students to a closer bond with the speaker. Objects otherwise hard to see are brought closer and even magnified. Faster pacing is possible with television than with the traditional one-man show commonly found in the declining lecture method.

Evidence brought forward thus far seems to show that several kinds of instruction can be done as well or better with television. Problems of intercommunication between speaker and student present no great difficulty. An assistant can be present in each room served by closed television to see that each questioner has a chance to ask his or her question, and the expert teacher can reach a much wider audience.

Conservative educators are not likely to adopt television with a rush. Their reasons are sensible. They point to certain technical problems, although they recognize that the traditional teacher-student relationship is almost achieved. They feel that the data presented by enthusiasts may be biased. It is frequently pointed out that movies have not taken the place of the personal lecturer. Yet many movies teach information far more effectively in a larger range of subjects. The stimulating effect of movies to intensify education is untested.

The preparation of each television program takes longer because shifts from scene to scene (movie, to lecturer, to specimens, etc.) have to be planned a little more carefully than in the personal lecturer system.

Could television replace large numbers of teachers, or even eliminate a majority of the members of the profession? In time, perhaps, yes. But under the present conditions of instruction, the revered student-teacher relationship is personal enough co make the traditional method acceptable and possibly irreplaceable for decades. The challenge presented by movies and television can be expected to force lecturers to step up their techniques and general performance.

Educations is, has been, and always will be the sharpening of one’s own mind. If the new developments prove that they can excel over old methods in facilitating this, they will replace them.

Whatever happens, the face of education, always changing in the past, is destined to change very greatly in the future. The principles of education may not change so much, but the techniques are even now experiencing a mild upheaval.

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