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.

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