Friday, July 12, 2013

That Shy Guys is one Bewitching character (ED504)

After seeing the teaser footage of ‘Shy Guy’ (1947), I had to see the rest of the film. I pulled out my favorite quotes:
  • "Maybe school is like your radio. This oscillator will do it's work well, but as you said, you still have to fit in so it will work with all the other parts."
  • "Pick out the most popular boys and girls in school and keep an eye on them. Try to figure out why people like them."
  • "Maybe there is something in this business of being a good listener?"
  • Advice with women? "Be polite. . . Seat them and give the waiter their order."
After I was done laughing off the anachronisms, the video got me thinking about the social life. Much of our focus lately has been on the social aspect of school. School exists to educate people. There is no way to divorce schooling for the student. We may love Shakespeare or we may love the math, but we’re in the business of human improvement. There must be a social side. While we should tune out the “Golly” and the “Gee Whiz” quips from the film (along with the conformist overtones), it comes back to being a good listener. The key to helping students develop as social beings is getting them to listen to one another. It is when we spend time trying to understand one another that we really become social beings.

How does technology help us in this matter? That is still a mystery. Too often it seems like the internet poorly equips us to socialize. Has anyone ever read a constructive comment following a news story? Too often the internet becomes a village of shouters. Friends become a number or something to be collected. We get into the habit of clicking ‘like’, whether it means “I’m so sorry for your struggle, for the pain I feel with you as we walk on together” or it means “That’s an awesome picture of a cat.” We can send messages that arrive in a matter of seconds so that we can ignore them for weeks. Technology has sped up what we can say, but has it given us anything else to say?

But I suppose there is some hope. It is just a matter of taking our hands off the keyboard and moving over to the mouse. It’s time to read someone else’s blog. It’s time to go understand how they see the world. Right after I finishing posting this other things that I just found. . .


  1. Wow is all I can say. In a relatively short blog post, you have made me think a lot both about how I function online and how others function online. Don't even get me started about the quotes from the film. But the paragraph starting with "How does technology help us in this matter? That is still a mystery." really hit home for me. The graphic you posted seems so relevant today and is something I struggle with, yet it was posted in 1915! I put a lot of time into birthday cards/holiday cards/etc. and I can't tell you how much it drives me crazy when I get one that has nothing but -Senders Name written under a pre-determined message. Yes, on one hand it was very nice of that person to think of me at this time and send me the card but if you are already writing the address and buying the stamp can't you think of one thing to say to me that the card didn't write for you!!? Goodness. I especially like how you put a positive spin on it at the end. I love reading others blogs and think it is definitely a way to increase our listening. Great work!

  2. Great insight here. I think if we can find a way for technology to enhance genuine social interaction (rather than impede it), then we're really getting somewhere. Consider how, for example, an online survey to gather students' interests might be a more efficient way of getting to know them up front (as opposed to poring through piles of barely legible 1/2 sheets of paper). Of course, the in-person social interaction is still necessary.

  3. Ha, I like that you went back and found the entire clip. Isn't corny 50's rhetoric the best?! That being said, I totally agree with your point about listening. It seems like such a simple concept, but it seems like it's advice that's been around since Shy Guy, an probably before... and still hasn't really caught on. I'd say it's just an adolescent thing - "they're too caught up in figuring themselves out to worry about anyone else" - but the same could easily be said about the middle-aged demographic. I don't think it's all 14-year-olds posting incendiary comments on online news stories...