Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Challenge of Aurality/Orality

I am an avid podcast listener. I listen to fiction podcasts such as Fictional, the Moth. I listen to a whole host of non-fiction podcasts including the History of Byzantium, History of Rome and Tides of History among others. At the same time I see the rise of Audible and Amazon audible books.

I love spoken audio. I actually prefer it to music most of the time. What I cannot figure out yet is what that means for literacy. Literacy development has been determined by print, its limitations and power. Storytelling from memory was replaced by reading from the page (still out loud) to finally being replaced by silent reading and prolific writing. Radio brought back listening to stories and reports. The rise of the internet has made all of us potential authors. Now the ability to deliver audio has opened a new opening for orality.

The question that I would like to pose is how will the proliferation of orality impact literacy and by extension schools. Do we need to teach more listening skills? How do we add oral creation to our composition classes?

One area to use as a bridge is poetry. Poetry even when written, always pushes toward the performative, the audible. Poetry out loud, spoken word competitions, and raps can help see orality and text as part of the same yarn.

That said I am still wondering about the relative value of orally consumed text. Does it stick in memory as well? What strategies help comprehension and recall? No answers, mostly questions.

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