engaging with ideas and one another

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ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

As I watched my class struggle, I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and one another through screens—but rarely do they have an opportunity to truly hone their interpersonal communication skills.

(This comes from theatlantic.com My Students Don't Know How to Have a Conversation by PAUL BARNWELL on Apr 22, 2014.)

Does "engage" here mean "to occupy oneself;become involved"? They are occupied with ideas and one another? I don't know what the blue part means.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In that sentence the phrasal verb “engage with” applies to both ideas and one another. But I can’t think of another verb that can do that, so to paraphrase:

    Kids spend hours each day applying their minds to ideas and interacting with each other online
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Engage with" means "connect with". As #2 points out, "engaging with ideas and one another through screens" is applying one verb to two objects. So the blue part means:

    Kids are engaging with ideas through screens ==> they are finding information and idea on the internet.

    Kids are engaging with one other (with other kids) through screens ==> they are using facebook, forum threads and chat rooms to interact with other kids.

    but rarely do they have an opportunity to truly hone their interpersonal communication skills.
    Here the writer means "in person, face to face spoken interaction" personal skills (changing what you say by observing the facial expressions of the listener, for example) which on-line chats or IM conversations on smartphones do not use.
     
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