Walter Ong as teacher: The conversation continues | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



This article examines how the qualities that Walter Ong admired in excellent teachers interrelate with themes from his many publications, as teaching and scholarship converge into conversation that deals ‘with the core of human experience’. In his teaching and his scholarship, Ong’s conversation was rooted in personalist, evolutionary and ecological thinking. One focus of Ong’s scholarship was how communications technology influences interpersonal relationships and our concept of what constitutes knowing. He called attention to the fact that new technologies can obscure the inherently dialogic nature of thinking and was motivated in his media ecology work to identify how visualist models of noetics might be supplemented by auditory models, including an ‘oral hermeneutic’ that situates knowing within holistic dialogue. The traits that Ong admired in his teachers were ones that he emulated in his own teaching. In particular, his description of Marshall McLuhan is particularly apt for himself: his ‘probes’ were ‘a way of teaching, if teaching means getting people to think’.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): conversation; education; humanism; orality–literacy; presence; truth; Walter Ong
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