Sunday, April 28, 2013

Learning past and present

One difference between the kind of education I had and that of many children today centres around how we were taught.
For most of my education for instance generally the teacher led the class learning determining what the days topic was in any given subject. They often would dictate notes or write them down on a chalk board for you to copy to your exercise book sometimes with drawings or diagrams too which was fun if you were not good at writing or spelling things as you'd struggle to keep up.
Sometimes we'd have school made duplicated work sheets for some subjects such as Combined Science to complete as we did experiments with bunsen burners, electricity and magnets.
In History we often read from and makes notes using set text books and all homework (and there was heaps of it!) was to be completed by hand.
This scene would be almost familiar to me in high school as we'd move from old style individual wooden desks to clusters of tables and plastic chairs except for one thing.
That's right, where the girl is sat we'd have our exercise book but she has a laptop which looking at this picture closely is something most of her peers do not suggesting she has 'special needs' and has been given one for 'writing up things' with.
That is something I'd of benefited from personally as my hand writing was poor and spelling pretty rotten too.
A number of schools today have huge screens,  some interactive, for teaching with rather than chalkboards (they were called Blackboards until some edict came down saying that word was racist!) but debate rages as to whither or not this is any more effective from the chalkboard and rote learning we had.


  1. I've never known blackboards be called chalkboards - after all, the type of board used nowadays is called a whiteboard (quite often an "interactive" one). I have slow handwriting, and after a few minutes continuous writing I start to get arm cramps so have to stop. I was given a portable text processor to complete assignments on - it could only write in plain text and had an 80 character x 8 line display, and all storage was in dynamic memory - relying on a coin battery to keep its memory intact. If that battery died (as happened on occasion), everything stored on the device would be wiped. Grrr! At university, I was given a grant for a (desktop) computer and a portable tape recorder (the idea being to record the lectures then play them back and type up the notes afterwards). Needless to say, recording the lectures was far easier than spending about twice the lecture length listening to the recording and typing up notes based on that!

  2. I've seen several examples lately of persons who appear at first blush to be quite intelligent with well-rounded knowledge and have managed to retain much of that knowledge well beyond their school years. However when I get to know some of these people a bit better, the gaps and weaknesses start to show.

    Having a highly structured and well-rounded curriculum in any educational system is preferable to others that tend to just pass people through who are not deserving of that status whether it be a title, diploma or a degree. But there’s an enormous difference in those who were forced to learn or not pass than those with an inner love for learning already well established in their personalities.

    Someone who merely “get by” through school because their educational institution was rigid and demanded a certain grade standard from them often have trouble later in life absorbing new knowledge without that support structure and lack the discipline to do so on their own. In my opinion teaching a child a love for learning begins in the home and should be equally stressed in all school systems as much as the academics are to prepare a young person for an ever changing world of new knowledge and discovery.