Here are some facts to preface this post.
I am 45 years old.
I went to school in the 1970’s and 80’s in Nova Scotia, Canada.
I have a Bachelor of Education degree.
I work as a substitute teacher in Nova Scotia, and to be honest I rather enjoy it.
I have taken various courses on learning and teaching over the past two decades.
I am not really sure where this post may go. These are just my own thoughts and observations based on spending time in various schools and grade levels.
Somewhere over the past couple of decades students have been deemed to always be “right”. What I mean by this statement is that telling a student that they have the wrong answer or that a word is spelled incorrectly is now not okay.
Why is it that teachers are no longer allowed to correct students when it comes to their learning?
I read posts on Facebook in which some some people feel that cursive writing should still be taught in school.
Those people need to go to a school and see what a teacher has to deal with on a day to day basis. Just trying to get students to sit down these days is damn near a full time job. This is not in any way a poor reflection of the teacher. The students just do whatever they want despite the teacher asking repeatedly for the students to sit down and pay attention.
I am not suggesting that students need to sit down and shut up. We all learn differently. There is certainly a place for cooperative learning strategies etc. in the classroom. The problem seems to be that a lot of the time students are not capable of, or not willing to follow the instructions of the teacher. There are times when students need to sit quietly and actually pay attention.
So trying to teach cursive writing? Good luck with that. This is just one small example.
Hell, I am very open minded when it comes to students doing their work. After I have told you what the assignment is, if you want to listen to music while doing your work, of course you can do that. If we are have a group discussion on a topic, then maybe you should listen to what others have to say and jump in with your thoughts when it is appropriate.
Hell, teachers are not allowed to instruct students in the early grades how to hold a pencil anymore. We are not allowed to correct improper spelling. We rarely get students to take notes anymore as this has been deemed to be an inefficient use of time. So everything is photocopied for the students. Ergo they make no connections from seeing a word to writing a word and then comprehending that word. There is no practice and there sure as hell is no mastery of a skill. These are just my own observations remember.
The same could be said of learning the multiplication tables. I still think there is value in learning them. Students just won’t take the time to do it. They have numbers charts and multiplication charts that do it for them. They see numbers, but they have no idea what these numbers or computations mean. I am not sure that they are learning anything.
*Some students do need these numbers tables to actually help them, but damn near every student just wants to rely on them instead of learning their multiplication tables.
What the hell? When did this become the norm?
Certainly technology plays a huge part in today’s classroom. I get that. But just today the students I was with(grade 7) were asked to do a “simple” survey on jobs and work etc. Who know where this brainstorm came from.
The survey was to be done on their tablets. Well trying to get these students to login to the survey app and understand the questions etc. etc. was damn near an exercise in futility. The “10 minute” survey took 25 minutes of class time. This is just one example.
Technology can be a wonderful tool when used properly. I am just not sure how often this is happening.
Of course the question should be asked: What do we want from our students?
I would like to see engaged, thinking individuals. Question everything. Be problem solvers and critical thinkers. Ultimately this should lead to engaged and productive members of society no matter what you may decide to go on and do with your life.
When students in grade 6 ask how to spell the word quote or regret, or some other rather simple word, I personally think there is a problem. There is a class set of dictionaries AND you have a TABLET! Look it up. Just a thought.
Back to the main point. Where did we go so wrong? Is it because our children have become so spoiled and so entitled that to even ask them to sit down and listen for 5 or 10 minutes is like asking for the moon? Maybe. I am not a child or education expert.
I just love teaching and education and learning and helping other people learn new things.
I would LOVE for a parent to observe a classroom for a week. To see how often students are off task. To see how many times they ignore a teacher when asked to do something.
There are many issues at play here that is for sure.
I would love to have some feedback on this topic.
Thanks for reading