The Effectiveness of Orality vs. Literacy When it Comes to Teaching Children

 By: Anjie Gancita and April Magbanua  

        As a culture moves from orality to writing to printing to televising, its ideas of truth move with it. – Neil Postman

Years and years have passed and great changes happened over the course of time. One of these is the evolution of our cultures which have affected our orality and literacy. It can be said that when it comes to teaching children, both orality and literacy can be effecient but orality is more predominant. Teaching children orally is more effective and learning becomes easier for them.

In teaching young children for the first time, it is more advisable to teach them orally since it will be hard for them to understand written texts. They won’t be able to retain and absorb knowledge from these literary mediums as compared to a person imparting information to them. For example, a child learning how to draw will find it easier if someone teaches and demonstrates it to him or her rather than when he or she reads a book about learning how to draw. Children have vast imaginations and when it comes to learning, they would want to go outside of the box and actualize what they are taught. They do not just settle on a fixed reading material.

Learning has to be an intersubjective type of communication, the teacher and the student both have to be in a sender and receiver position at the same time. They both have to exchange experiences and knowledge to learn from one another. Furthermore, they must be able to connect or have a sense of the other person’s thoughts.

Learning should not only be in a chirographic conditioning form since, unlike the oral culture, it regards speech as informational rather than performance oriented. Furthermore, written texts are one-way since there is no real audience when the texts are being written. One can not be able to have communication with its readers and get inside their minds. As a result, the students would struggle in understanding and learning information from written texts.


Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. London: Methuen.

Poetry: Performance Art or Written Piece

by Rea Mae S. Solano and Rexelle Bless L. Velasco

Poetry, in general and in its simplest definiton, is a composition that conveys one’s ideas, emotions and experiences in an artistically manner. With this being said, two forms of poetry evolved from their ancient forms and made their way into our hearts and souls today; spoken word poetry and page poetry or written poetry. The difference of the two mentioned above, according to Kijiner (2014) is that, “One is written with the intention of being performed, or spoken aloud, while the other is written specifically for the page.” Spoken word poetry differs in a way that the poet composed his/her piece with the audience in mind, their reaction and engagement. Also, elements of performance such as gesture, facial expression and projection are included to evoke intense emotion from the listeners.

“Page poetry can be quite illusive and difficult to engage with, but spoken word is out, and it’s saying it, and it’s entertaining without shying away from difficult subjects”. This quote from Amy Wragg quite explains why spoken word poetry is intersubjective in nature. It allows people to express their feelings in a more interactive manner. As for the audience, it is way easier to understand the underlying message and emotion based on the delivery of the piece by the performer. Although spoken word poetry like any other poetry uses the aesthetic of rhymes and rhythms, it could be inferred that it is a hybrid of all poems for it allows interaction from one person to another rather than a person to a piece of paper.

Poems in general are characterized by the use of words to create rhythm and rhymes. And the same concept is applicable to spoken word poetry. Only that in this form of poetry it is more than merely the construction of phrases and sentences but more importantly the oral aspect of the performance. These include diction, pronunciation, intonation, tone and the likes. Furthermore, performers also have to make sure that there is a connection between them and the audience leaving no room for open-ended interpretation as compared to to written poetry. Moreover, in spoken word poetry the meaning is understood and their audience would feel the emotions and thoughts that they want to elicit.


Guy, R. (2016). Retrieved August 20, 2018, from.

Jaccoud, A. (n.d.) What is spoken word. Retrieved from Retrieved August 20, 2018

Kijiner, K. J. (2014). Spoken word poetry vs page poetry. Retrieved from

Mitchell, G. (2016). What is spoken word poetry and why it is so powerful? Retrieved from

Our Abstract World in Symbols

By: Mark Estil, Cedric Jamera, Angelo Nobleza


Imagine a world where everything around us is not actually real. Imagine a world where only our train of thoughts guide the planes of reality. Now, imagine a world where our thoughts, imaginations, and dreams can be shared with a group of fellow human beings with ease and with both of you understanding each other with the help of symbols and characters. That is the world where we live in.

“Orality” or primary oral culture are said to be very different from “literacy” or literary cultures in various other ways. Some experts say that both have their own similarities. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages depending in their uses, their application in the real world or in the abstract way of thinking, and to the culture that they are associated with.

The reality is, both are very well-connected to one another as they are indistinct to each other. They are both dissimilar in a way that orality or oral literature depends on the situation rather than the abstract ways of communicating. But, they can also be connected in a way that both use concrete examples to explain  an abstract thought more thoroughly.

Both do not coincide with one another in a way that, as Orality can persist as a sole medium of communication for a society. However, orality can only be exercised only up to the extent to which direct human interaction is permitted. On the other hand, one of the simplest examples of using concrete ideas to depict an abstract thought is through the use of real life examples to explain concepts which are vague, in-explicit, or unclear.

Another noticeable difference between the oral culture and literary culture is the oral culture being additive rather than subordinate. An example stated in Ong’s book “Orality and Literacy” is the creation narrative in Genesis 1:1-5 where the additive way of communication can be perceived.

Unlike oral culture, literary culture has a more organized but sophisticated way of communicating since it follows a proper structure to avoid misunderstanding in the meaning of the message they want to convey.



Ong, Walter J. 1982. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen, pp.31, 37-49

Orality and Literacy – In What Ways Are Oral and Literate Cultures Similar? (2012, September 30). Retrieved from


Orality and Literacy: An Appreciation of Importance and Purpose

“Does time really measure the power of a concept?

         After reading Ong’s perspective towards orality and literacy, this question seems to pinpoint the problem of the statement implying that “orality is inferior to literacy”. But, is it even true? Or is it just another misconception?

         Before diving into the pond, let us first take an initial dip into the subject and define the two most important terms here: Orality and Literacy. Orality, as most of us understand, simply means the use of speech rather than writing as means of communication. On the other hand, literacy, with our basic understanding, means the ability of a person to read and write in a way that lets us communicate effectively.

     However, in today’s society, there’s still a division between orality and literacy wherein some people think that orality is inferior to literacy or the other way around. It is still not clear on why and how they can be inferior, or superior, from one another because of the unique advantages and disadvantages they possess. For example, orality demands the need to repeat the message again and again to be remembered while literacy has a copy that serves as a solid evidence of the message. On the other hand, in orality, communication is made on a personal level so it is much more direct thus no misunderstandings. Unlike in literacy, where there could be more than one interpretation of the written message.

     So, contrary to the belief, there is actually no solid premise that could say that orality is inferior to literacy just because literacy came after orality. In fact, according to Ong (2002), they are co-dependent with each other in the sense that when you read a written text, your mind speaks it out. So, it shouldn’t be a battle of superiority, rather, it should be the appreciation of its importance and purpose in communication.


Ong, Walter (2002). Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word. Routledge, New York.


Chiara Mari Ricablanca and Karl Sorenio

The Birth Out of Existence

by Jessah Jen Garbino, Samantha Villacorta, Kyla Villanueva

Oraliteracy: The Orality and Literacy

Some might argue that orality paved the way for literacy. Some might insist that orality is superior to literacy and vice versa. Some will have their own perspective in viewing the oral and literary cultures. But what is really true about it?

There was a time when someone was watching a video about Mathematics’ history and the viewer was only able to remember that it began with “tallying” and forgot the other details of the story. Now, imagine if we go back 50,000 years ago, where cultures with little to no knowledge of writing exists, were all our ancestors’ beliefs, discoveries and theories really passed to generations? or it was just simply a detail?

One of the major difference of oral culture to literary culture is the primacy of the word itself. The words in oral culture is everything, they are the voice, ears, eyes and lips of communication. They are central to all understanding and memory of the people born in those eras. Before, oral culture involves communication for the sake of communication itself. People who lived in oral tradition depends so much with the capacity of their mind to remember which leads them focus in a limited concept over and over again.

In literate culture, the words are just now letters on a page, the interpretation of language becomes more private and instead of being experienced, the words are simply absorbed. Literacy safeguarded the fruits of orality. And after years, technology was introduced to enhance communication both in orality and literacy in such forms. As what Walter Ong said, “I reject the idea that technology necessarily leads to a decrease in the quality of human connectivity. In fact on the whole better technology allows for better communication.”

As time went by, literacy was formed to protect products of oral culture. Literacy has apparent differences with how information us to be relayed so in order to fill in those gaps, this ‘media’ model of communication conditioned the way information was to be written. It was written in a thorough manner which gave many writers a difficult task to complete its writing so long as it can preserve those so-nearly forgotten tradition and informations.

Both the oral and literate culture has its own pros and cons. Both has its own purpose of why it was created. Thus, literacy was born like pens were made for papers not to be superior on the other but to support and work together.


Ong, W. (1982).”Ong on the Differences Between Orality and Literacy”. Retrieved August 12, 2018 from

Orality And Literacy : The Technologizing Of The Word — Channel Rewards

Walter J. Ong’s classic work provides a fascinating insight into the social effects of oral, written, printed and electronic technologies, and their impact on philosophical, theological, scientific and literary thought. This thirtieth anniversary edition – coinciding with Ong’s centenary year – reproduces his best-known and most influential book in full and brings it up to […]

via Orality And Literacy : The Technologizing Of The Word — Channel Rewards

Media Ecological Perspective on Free Speech — L.M. Sacasas

Rhetoric in oral cultures tends to be, in Walter Ong’s phrasing, “agonistically toned.” Ong noted that speech in oral societies was more like an event or action than it was a label or sign. Words did things (curses, blessings, incantations, etc.), and irrevocably so. This was so, in part, because speech in oral societies was uttered […]

via Media Ecological Perspective on Free Speech — L.M. Sacasas