At the risk of sounding like a parent and thus receiving eye-rolls (or name-calling due to age-hatred arising from the loss of some items on this list, ok boomer? ), some of us parents find ourselves scratching our brains at how different school curricula are from what we experienced. Many of us are scratching our heads bald after more than a year of classrooms at the kitchen table as we witness the differences firsthand with incredulity and fear. Priorities shift with the times. However, not all of the adjustments should have occurred.
1. Interpersonal Communication
A search of blogs and feeds about technology in the classroom reveals a raging debate. On the one hand, many people support instructors and schools who require kids to check their phones at the door. On the other hand, there are numerous outbursts from students and parents who argue that such techniques are outdated and that pupils need to be constantly connected to the outside world. However, the figures are frightening. Children aged 8 to 10 are exposed to media for 8 hours a day, or half of their waking hours. For teenagers, this number rises to 9 hours.
The outcome is dismal. The average person turns their focus 21 times each hour from cell phone to laptop or tablet, developing the human brain to have a shorter attention span (8 seconds) than a goldfish (9 seconds). While older folks have learned to balance screen and face-to-face encounters, millennials have far less experience with the latter. Conflict resolution is one area where this is visible. Child Psychologist Melissa Ortega observed, “I can’t image these youngsters sitting down in an interview and having a reciprocal dialogue smoothly.” “They haven’t had the benefit of years of practise with awkward pauses.”
They’re not going to be used to being able to bear discomfort…….” Worse, millennials have a tougher time reading the emotions on the other person’s face due to a lack of face-to-face encounters. They’re also not aware of basic communication skills like eye contact. Eye contact should be maintained for 60% to 70% of a conversation in order to build an emotional connection with another individual. Today, however, it only accounts for about 30% of a conversation.
According to a 2018 survey, effective speaking skills are the top one skill CEOs and hiring managers look for in a candidate. They also stated that less than half of their prospects met their requirements. So, if our children’s employability is a top priority for schools, they are failing.
Students used to be able to polish their verbal skills in despised speech class, but this is another course that has been phased out of school curricula. There used to be a class called Etiquette, which effectively taught excellent manners. Many people believe that teaching manners should begin at home. They aren’t, however. Students studied everything from how to tie a tie to the right grip for a handshake to the significance of maintaining eye contact in Etiquette class.
Teachers have attempted to compensate by requiring in-class presentations, but they are as despised. In one tweet, a 15-year-old compared in-class presentations to bullying the socially nervous, and called for allowing students to choose whether or not to present. The message was retweeted 130,000 times and liked by 500,000 people. Students should not be forced to raise their hands and engage in class, according to one person. One has to ask what kind of employment each of these two teenagers expects to get that will free them from having to communicate verbally merely because they’re nervous. Or, if they don’t speak up, what kind of personal interactions they can expect.
2. Logic or Critical Thinking
High schools used to provide a course called Critical Thinking or, sometimes, just Logic, which was usually an elective. Students were taught how to think rather than what to think in this course. They were instructed to question everything they read or heard, to take nothing at face value, and to wait until they’d heard both sides of an argument before passing judgement.
They were trained to reject “group” thinking above all else. They debated the many interpretations of films, television shows, and other cultural outlets. They were taught organised analysis and given exercises on contentious topics like current events, politics, history, natural sciences, economics, sociology, and even religion, and provided a safe space to argue them. Soft talents are referred to as “soft skills” in psychology circles, and according to a 2013 Gallop Poll, 80 percent of Americans wish these skills were taught to K-12 students.
Because there was just not enough time, the course was omitted from most curricula. Courses on logic were squeezed out because state and federal education administrations mandated so many disciplines to be taught. A few teachers continued to teach critical thinking within their fields, but as restrictions became more stringent, even their disciplines had to be taught quickly and superficially, ensuring that both the teacher and the student were bored and tearless. Due to time limits, whatever the teacher stated or wrote in the texts had to be taken at face value, without examination, and without examining other interpretations or hypotheses.
As a result, future generations will look at any blog or news stream without question, consuming it whole (or rejecting it outright due to the personal opinions of the creator). Generations who accept a fashionable worldview without thinking about the consequences. Generations that prefer to penalise opposing opinions rather than consider the possibility that they may be valid. Generations that see disagreements as a personal attack on their self-esteem rather than just another person’s point of view. There is no way for a single school subject to change everything, yet it all starts with the first step.
3. Driver’s Education
In the 1970s, nearly all eligible high school students took driver’s education, usually over the summer between their sophomore and junior years. Following a research in the early 1980s that questioned how much driver’s education enhanced teen road safety, government funding was cut and school insurance costs surged. Private companies and online courses began to take over driver’s education. The difficulty was that private and online training were not (and still aren’t) uniformly regulated, resulting in “faster, cheaper, but not necessarily better programmes,” as the president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety put it.
Furthermore, not every kid has the financial means to pay for private coaching, which can cost up to $500. This is in addition to the cost of a vehicle, insurance, and gas. As a result, the number of high school students who obtain their driver’s licence has decreased. The percentage of 16-year-olds without a driver’s licence in the United States has decreased from 46% in 1983 to 24% in 2016. During the same time span, the number of 19-year-olds without a driver’s licence dropped from 87 percent to 69 percent. The impoverished are the ones that suffer the most.
Consider Kalamazoo, Michigan, where 32% of households are considered poor by the federal government. In 2004, Michigan began the move from public to private driver’s education. Between 2004 and 2016, the number of teenagers who earned a driver’s licence under the age of 18 decreased by 5% across the state. It decreased by 13% in Kalamazoo.
Another factor is that states began enacting graduated licencing laws about the same period, which award driving privileges in stages and restrict certain risky driving habits like as driving at night or with other teenagers. These successive stages often necessitate a certain number of hours of driving under the supervision of a parent or a driving instructor. That is, until they reach the age of eighteen.
Some teenagers are merely waiting until that age to avoid having to drive under supervision or pay for lessons. That implies they might be on the road without ever having had any driving lessons. To mitigate the risk of disaster, several jurisdictions have proposed requiring some type of supervision until the age of 21, which is unlikely to be popular.
Of course, the solution is to return driver’s education to high schools and eliminate the frequently confusing and uneven graduated system. School-sponsored driver’s education has a variety of advantages. Children could be taught how to change a tyre, check the oil, and locate vital parts of the car as part of an approved curriculum.
Because students in school driver’s education are often younger, experience-based training will keep with them for a longer period of time. And most school-sponsored driver’s education takes place in a group setting, with an instructor taking two or three students out on the road to practise their skills. This allows students to benefit not only from their own experiences, but also from the experiences of their peers.
The argument for not teaching cursive is that we now perform the great majority of our writing on keyboards. When we do need to put pen to paper, printing is significantly less complicated. All of this is correct.
The neurological pathways that cursive writing stimulates in our brains are gone, according to researchers. Cursive writing stimulates the interaction between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, improving mental sharpness. “Sequential finger motions employed in handwriting stimulated large sections of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory,” according to a study comparing MRI or CT scans of participants typing versus writing cursive. This is not the case with keyboarding.
For a learner, the benefit of “working memory” is almost immediate. Taking class notes in cursive forces students to absorb and reframe information, which improves retention and comprehension. Cursive notes have been found to help students retain information for a week longer than typed or printed notes.
According to studies, practising the proper pressure and angle of the pen to the paper, as well as determining where and how to begin the word for a fluid left to right motion, improves physical and spatial awareness. Other sensory tasks like buttoning, fastening, and tying shoes develop brain pathways as a result of this. Repetition of joining words improves muscle memory for common sequences, spacing, and spelling I before e, except after c”). This is comparable to how a pianist develops muscle memory through practising..
Because of the start and stop motions of cursive, printing is more difficult for youngsters with dyslexia (inversion of letters in words), dysphagia (difficulty speaking), or attention problems. Some letters in printing, such as b and d, can resemble the struggling kid too closely.
When a person can’t write cursive, they can’t read cursive, making them functionally illiterate in one part of their own language. Reading the original Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, for example, would be difficult for them. Cursive signatures are more difficult to falsify than printed signatures. Most importantly, cursive has been demonstrated to improve writing speed and self-discipline, both of which can lead to increased self-esteem when a skill is mastered.
Texting has only been available since the late 1990s, despite the fact that cell phones have been around since 1984. In reality, until the Nokia 900i Communicator was released in 1997, cell phones – then known as “mobile” phones – did not feature full keyboards. Now? According to a 2017 texting survey (which excluded app-to-app messaging), more than 900 million texts are exchanged every hour around the world, with a total of 22 billion sent every day.
Schools began to abandon what had been a cornerstone on their already crowded curriculums for a century: the typing lesson, believing that their children learnt typing on their mobile phones and laptops.
Students were taught “touch typing” or “keyboarding” back in the day, which was supposedly invented by a court stenographer, Frank McGurrin, in 1888. The children were instructed to begin typing with their fingers on particular keys in the centre of an English keyboard, referred to as the “home” row. The pupils next teach muscle memory to their fingers by finding the other keys from their position relative to the home row while resting their fingertips on the A, S, D, F, J, K, L, and ; keys. They might be able to write faster than 100 words per minute this way.
Teachers have recently found that children who lack typing abilities develop their own unique peck and hunt strategy. One elementary school teacher in Washington, D.C. said it took her kids up to 10 minutes to type a Google search. A meme went viral showing a pupil pecking at a keyboard with their texting thumbs. The meme is no longer amusing