Effects Of Sesame Street On The Education Of Young Children

1756 WordsSep 30, 20148 Pages
When introduced to the idea of an epidemic, people are urged to think of viruses, fashion trends, or even peaks of crime. One does not see something as virtuous as Sesame Street to be a wide-spreading contagion. Yet, Sesame Street provoked a social epidemic as one of the most influential children 's television programs of its time. Malcolm Gladwell has studied the effects of Sesame Street on the education of young children in his novel, The Tipping Point. He has three overall generalizations of all epidemics, including the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. I will apply these generalizations to his example of Sesame Street to support Gladwell’s argument. In addition, I will support his argument using the philosophical theories of Alasdair McIntyre and Theodore M. Porter. Overall, Gladwell poses a convincing argument that the success of Sesame Street is due to the complete combination of his three generalizations. The beginning of Sesame Street as an epidemic began with the very start of the television program. Television producer, Joan Ganz Cooney embarked on a mission to create a children’s learning epidemic (Gladwell 89). Many epidemics that are covered in Gladwell’s novel are unintentional. The producers of Sesame Street, however, purposefully researched the effect of their show to ensure that it was impactful. It is arguable whether or not they wanted to provoke an epidemic, but the effects of the program were completely intentional. In
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