In this video (Alan Watts - On Education and Disney Land), Alan Watts says "teach a child as teaching an adult rather than let the child learn Mickey Mouse" but he doesn't say the reason why.

What does Alan Watts mean when he says, "teach a child as teaching an adult rather than let the child learn Mickey Mouse"?

  • I'm not sure why this is down-voted, especially considering it has an up-voted answer. However, I did (hopefully) improve the title and wording of the question. I think this question has great potential for answers on how we should communicate with our children! – user11394 Feb 12 '15 at 20:34
  • @CreationEdge The question is more of an English language question than a parenting one. The answer receives upvotes because, despite the off-topic question, the answer is correct. – Doc Feb 12 '15 at 20:54
  • 1
    @Doc I don't agree that it's a language question. It's a pedagogical question that specifically relates to teaching children. The correct answer, as you state, supports that it's pedagogical. Why should you teach your child like you would an adult? – user11394 Feb 12 '15 at 21:00
  • 1
    @CreationEdge Just watched the video. The quote OP wrote is never said in the video. The way the question was worded, it sounded like they were asking what the sentence means rather than the reasoning for it. Further, if you watch the video, the speaker clearly states the advantages of his reasoning and why you should do it. I'm not even sure what the point of the question is...All the answerer did was quote the speaker (and summarized a couple of lines). – Doc Feb 12 '15 at 21:20
  • I think there are potential interesting questions based on this one -- e.g., what is the evidence for Watts's assertion, more specifics about how to communicate "as an adult", etc. As it stands, though, I'm not really sure about the intent or the topicality. I'd welcome other Answers that were able to expand more on the topic than I could :) – Acire Feb 13 '15 at 15:08

Some actual quotes from the video:

Talk to a child as if you were talking to another adult. Don't use baby language. Don't even use oversimplified language. Talk to a child just as you would talk to another person. You will find that by the time they're three years old, they will have an amazing mastery of the English language, and will be able to tell you all sorts of things about what it is to be a child that child psychologists have been longing to know, but could never get out of children because all children have been taught to be Mickey Mouse.

Based on the context, he is saying that you should use adult vocabulary and grammar to build up a young child's communication skills. Using "baby talk" (in his phrasing, talking like Mickey Mouse) doesn't convey information or help them develop into a productive member of society.

Treat your child as an adult. Treat the child fairly. Don't talk down to your child, talk up to your child, and you'll find that they can be amazingly intelligent.

A child brought up to be a "child" is a bore and a pest. It's a cutie-pie, itsy-bitsy sort of approach that to my mind is nowhere. It's what Disneyland is made for.

| improve this answer | |
  • I've always spoke to my kids like any other adult because I refuse to baby talk. I never looked into the psychology because that was irrelevant. The results are fantastic. Even my 2 1/2 year old uses words above expectations and doesn't seem to have a problem conveying her thoughts clearly, without the need to decrypt some baby talk. Not sure what this guy's comparison to Mickey Mouse or Disneyland is though. They don't use baby talk on any show I've seen, even the dumbed down clubhouse. – Kai Qing Feb 12 '15 at 21:09
  • It might have been a more apt analogy in years past. I do not know when the speech was recorded. – Acire Feb 12 '15 at 21:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.