Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old School

I find it fascinating to consider the courses that were once offered in schools and colleges that have become obsolete.

Back in the day an important curriculum for women was learning needlepoint. Schools also required Latin which I took in grammar school. Penmanship and calligraphy were also required. For those that didn’t have classroom opportunities there were apprentices.

I’m out of touch with what is now going on in our schools and I wonder if Home Economics is still being taught? I wonder if Typing is still offered. I recall taking typing back before electric typewriters were commonly used. Then we had to relearn it all with a light touch when the electrics came along. I can’t recall the last time I used a typewriter.

I’m sure Music and Physical Education will soon be a thing of the past but I wonder what all that class time will be replaced by. I was recently speaking with a high school teacher and they mentioned that kids really don’t know computers. They understand some applications and they know how to operate a phone with apps, but have them start a spread sheet, database or a word processor and most of them are lost.

It seems to me that we will need more technical education in the future.


Blogger weese said...

I took typing in high school. my mother said i could use it as a fallback. That I could always be a secretary if need be.
Who knew how handy typing would be!
I also took HomeEc - and I really really wish they still taught it.
While its true I will never sew another stuffed animal - I learned to hem and sew buttons and basic cooking techniques that I still use today.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

sad state of affairs, isn't it. I still remember Father Guido Sarducci's skit on 'The 5 Minute University' because 20 years down the road, all you will remember is 5 minutes worth anyway...but classes I took--typing, Home Ec, Latin...I still use today!

7:46 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Typing is now called "keyboarding". And any computer skills they are being taught are limited to how to use a search engine. Latin, of course is down the tubes. The only other language offered in most schools is spanish. You have to have that to buy your groceries half the time. Penmanship? Pfagh! Half of them can graduate from high school not even being able to spell, let alone write! We are fostering a nation of idiots. Fit only to work in McDonalds.

8:22 AM  
Blogger qandlequeen said...

I worked for a local school district for 10 years. I have many many opinions about the state of education in America - not all are bad. I like that most classes are more hands-on and interactive instead of the old stand-by lecture method. Computers have changed some teaching methodology, but they are limited by the teacher's computer knowledge and creativity. No, kids are not taught proper computer skills unless they take a specific class for it, otherwise they are again limited or exposed according the specific teacher's ability.

New classes aren't being brought in, instead class times are being expanded thus reducing time for electives. There is a huge push to really focus on grammar, literature, math and science. Social studies becomes a side dish, interwoven between the other core areas.

Schools today are all about "test scores" and not much on actual, real live "education". One day the tide will turn, but it's going to be a while.

9:33 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Weese, I never took Home Ec, so can I send you some mending I need to have done?

Teri, I had Latin, too. Pre-Vatican II Latin and I am now a work freak because of it.

Darev, now with voice recognition there may soon be no need for key boards.

QuandleQueen, Maybe it's time to start an Old School. Wouldn't that be interesting to see how differently the kids would learn.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

It always surprises me to think that my podunk little high school had incredible class offerings. I took music instead of HomeEc, but they had those classes. There was woodshop, machine-shop, FFA, auto repair, drawing, painting, photography (including a real darkroom!), architecture/drafting, weight lifting, jazz band, and a bunch of "advanced" classes for each subject in each grade. Economics and Personal Finance were mandatory senior classes (we learned how to buy cars and a house and use a budget). I took my one quarter of typing. P.E. was offered in 9th and 10th grades. I took four years of French--though the school also offered Spanish and German.

You know what I wish I'd learned in school? How to socialize effectively. How to be "fun" instead of "boring." and Latin.

I wish I knew more Latin.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

They use all the "extra" time (taken from music and PE) to teach to the damn Standards of Learning tests all students have to take for NCLB. It's all about those god damned tests.

6:25 AM  

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