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Does learning still have clout?

Jessica Williams, Edmond Santa Fe High School Published: May 1, 2010
An AP English III class full of seniors was recently stumped over the definition of one word: clout. Most of the students were frustrated that they could miss such a simple question, and all wondered how it is relevant. Susan Davis, the teacher of this English class at Edmond Santa Fe High School, attributed the students’ problem with a lack of cultural literacy. She said when reading any type of literature of merit, cultural literacy “allows the reader to see the beauty of depth that the writer employed when writing.”

Davis said widespread reliance on technology contributes to an entire generation missing this acquired knowledge.

“I believe the same technology that makes life easier is also stealing time from the younger generation — time that could be used to read and embrace new knowledge,” she said. “… In our quest for things to entertain and wow, many have left the simple pleasure of learning just to learn."

Dee Dobson, an Edmond mother of two teenagers and a former elementary school teacher, said education starts in the home but technology can skew family communication.

“We are losing the art of communication,” she said. “My generation did not have the need to be entertained all the time ... Kids are longing for quality time with their parents, and when it is not given to them, they isolate themselves with video games, phones, and television.”

Scott LaMascus, an English professor at Oklahoma Christian University, said there are multiple factors contributing to a lack of cultural literacy.

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