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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Short List (beginning) of schooling obsolescence

Working with my 3rd grade son, I am starting to see with increasing clarity the "skills" of traditional schooling that aren't applicable in the modern world (or at least, not as crucial):

1.  Cursive writing. PLEASE teach keyboarding and skip the cursive writing. I haven't used it in so many years and I can't read how my friends used to write it anyway (at any rate, they send me email or messages through FB)

2. Paper dictionaries. He has to look up words all the time for homework. I use my computer or iPhone, he has to use a paper book. It is like going to the library and using the old fashioned card catalogue vs. computer database. Not necessary!

3.  I am also starting to doubt about so much emphasis on coins in school math. I hardly use any coins, particularly the penny and nickel. Quarters are useful for the parking meter, but I have a card for that. Vending machines use dollar bills now. I use ATM debit for most of my purchases. I am thinking that more emphasis on somewhat larger numbers and decimals instead of counting coins.

By the way, I am 47 years old and by some people's arbitrary definition, I am supposedly a digital immigrant. If so (which I doubt), then I long ago became a naturalized citizen in this digital world and embraces its potential far more than most "native born" digital citizens I know. My son is definitely following these tracks.


The Caldwell Family said...

I agree completely. My son is in 3rd grade and his spelling grade is awful because he forgets to cross a t or dot an i while writing in cursive. His teacher does not allow him to print. My high school students do not write in cursive and I do not either. Most of them can't read it anyway. Spelling is also obsolete. Isn't that what spell check is for?

Sue VanHattum said...

I don't think spelling is obsolete. Spell check isn't good at recognizing which spelling is meant, and I'd love it if people would spell led (past of lead) and piqued ("that piqued my interest") right.

But I'm not sure the way spelling is 'taught' in school is very helpful. Learning another language is probably more helpful for spelling and grammar than a conventional spelling class.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. As a future teacher I know all of these skills are very important. Students need to be able to write and learn to read cursive. Cursive may not be used by everyone in our society, but many still do use it. Everyone uses it for their signatures.

Dictionaries are not only important for looking up words they are also important for basic skills, such as: alphabetizing. Students need to be able to alphabetize in many aspects of life, such as: using a phone book.

Even though coins aren't used as often as bills in our culture they are still very important to understand. Students need to learn how to make proper change for future employment. Students need to know how much money is worth, so they do not get taken advantage of.

Jason said...

I may be outing myself as a supernerd here, but using a dictionary to look up a word has the added benefit of getting to see other words that you may not ever see anywhere else. What is the point of knowing words that no one else does? Knowing words that no one else does. It can make English class bearable or spark a love of language. I'm in favor of the dictionary as a whole, not just as a lookup tool.