April 25, 2014

"The next time you interact with a teenager, try to have a conversation with him or her about a challenging topic."

"Ask him to explain his views. Push her to go further in her answers. Hopefully, you won’t get the response Turkle did when interviewing a 16-year-old boy about how technology has impacted his communication: 'Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.'"

From "My Students Don't Know How to Have a Conversation/Students’ reliance on screens for communication is detracting—and distracting—from their engagement in real-time talk," by Paul Barnwell.

Turkle is Sherry Turkle, author of "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Ourselves."

18 comments:

madAsHell said...

All statements must be less the 160 characters.

Patrick O said...

Have 16 year olds ever known how to have a conversation?

Methinks there is significant social-historical myopia.

It's always something that keeps the fogies from respecting the youngins.

Gen X had MTV, their parents were hippies with their protests or with their rock n roll. Then you had the roaring twenties with moving pictures and jazz music. How do you talk to a flapper?!

Before that, the Civil War generation was trying to come to terms with kids who now could listen to phonographs. Their parents didn't know what to do with people who could get on a locomotive and just be somewhere within hours that previously took days, or days that used to take months. Young kids with their new technologies! Don't know how to talk about serious things like we mature people.

Sigivald said...

What Patrick O said.

I occasionally interact with or see teenagers.

They're no less able to converse now than when I was their age.

traditionalguy said...

We talk about teenagers so we can describe the "other."

But my problem lately is with digitally trained adults of all generations. The vast majority start talking and do a continuous download for 5 minutes. There are no pauses for a reply, and if a rude interruption/reply is made, it is ignored.

Eventually the best thing to do is to walk away and log onto the internet...at least you can control the inputs.

n.n said...

OMG. LOL. Transmission end.

Expat(ish) said...

They are joking, right?

I ran with my son's XC team (hey, if you have to drive to the woods at 6am in the summer, you might as well get in a good run!) and have spent, literally, hundreds of days with venture/boy scouts. I've had a ton of very good conversations about abstract non-kidstuff topics.

One young man spent two hours talking about the psychology of game play. Another recently opined on weather changes in his lifetime (he is 14, very amusing).

-XC

virgil xenophon said...

Paddy O/

Just stop it! Ever read any Civil War letters from enlisted soldiers? Or viewed their almost magically artistic cursive writing in the flesh, as it were? It makes them seem as virtual Literary Gods compared to their age equivalents of today. The Confederate museum in New Orleans has the largest collection of memorabilia in the nation outside of Richmond. The next time you're in New Orleans hie yourself over and take a gander. It will water your eyes.

And my generation--the "pre-yuppie" generation born between 1935 and 1945--as well as our parent's generation (the "greatest generation") --were all WELL able to hold an intelligent conversation as teen-agers. So speak for yourself, John Alden! :)

Wayworn Wanderer said...

They don't WANT to have a face-to-face conversations, and they think they are willing to live with the consequences, since they don't know what the consequences are.

William Chadwick said...

"Have 16 year olds ever known how to have a conversation?"

This Baby Boomer did, and so did my peers.

William Chadwick said...

"Have 16 year olds ever known how to have a conversation?"

This Baby Boomer did, and so did my peers.

Revenant said...

Have 16 year olds ever known how to have a conversation? Methinks there is significant social-historical myopia.

Older generations have been complaining of ignorant youth for thousands of years. If we understood the language of birds we'd probably hear old ducks quacking disapproving screeds about ducklings.

Michael K said...

I spend a couple of days a week talking to kids 17 or so. They are applying to the military and most are pretty capable of a conversation. I'm not discussing politics or philosophy with them but they seem about as knowledgable as most kids.

Try asking medical students about current affairs.

Skyler said...

Of course they can have conversations, but why should they talk to you, who obviously just wants to influence kids to agree with him? They can realize when they are being fed propaganda.

Stay away from my kid.

Patrick O said...

"Ever read any Civil War letters from enlisted soldiers?"

Yep. Some are really well written. Many aren't.

Comparing the uniquely literate from one generation with the average in another is never really helpful.

That's why all the hymns and books are so much better too. The best is what gets saved, the average is lost or thrown away.

I've also had conversations with very interesting and thoughtful teenagers.

Patrick O said...

"This Baby Boomer did, and so did my peers."

Sheesh, repeating the same thing isn't very good conversation now.

Paul said...

Teenagers are quite capable of having complex conversations, even in these modern times. Unsurprisingly though, they're less likely to want to have such conversations with adults that condescend to them.

Regarding civil war letters and other such records, they suffer quite badly from selection bias. Poorly-written or otherwise unimportant correspondence is almost certainly less likely to be saved compared to masterfully written and heart-felt commentaries on the ravages of war.

Æthelflæd said...

Today's adults can't write a letter comparable to good Civil War era letters, so it really has nothing to do with modern teenagers, per se.

My teenagers and many of their friends can hold interesting conversations. Some are talkative and some aren't, just like when I was a teenager.

ken in sc said...

Home-schooled students can carry on an adult conversation. I was at a state-level high school Industrial Tech competition. It involved using hand tools and machine tools to follow blue prints. The winner was a 16 yr old home-schooled girl. She not only was the best competitor, she could sit down during breaks and carry on conversations with the instructors and evaluators. I was very impressed.