Posts tagged learning

The wheat and the weeds


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Is Writing Going The Way Of The Dinosaur

Some parents debate whether learning to write is necessary as all around them they see computers and keyboards. I sometimes wonder myself as I was brought up on a notepad and pencil and all around me kids are using computers. As a school teacher I still use the blackboard and chalk, but most of the young, new teachers use the computer and power point presentations. I have tried using the computer in the classroom but it didn’t suit me, as I like to stand and walk around. I think the kids prefer the blackboard as the teacher can create the lesson as they go. But the debate still continues whether students like using a computer in the classroom or not. We have already got the paperless office and for some courses in the university we have the paperless lecture. But they are basically to do with highly computerized courses and it is to the advantage of the student to use a computer. But not all courses need a computer.

Now back to school life. A lot of students have computers but there are a number of socially disadvantaged students in the lower area schools who can’t afford computers. These are the students without a voice only school teachers know about them. The people who do all the talking and want computers in the classroom, are the parents of the socially adjusted students not the socially inapt students. And most of the older teachers like me, don’t like computers because the students know more about them that the teacher. And most students are better on a keyboard that the teacher.

Anyway with the number of students who own computers you would think they would do their homework on a computer but not so. They do the research on a computer but then they hand in written assignments, albeit in printing not in longhand writing. Most children use the computer for entertainment as opposed to working on one and they have this mind set that the computer is a plaything not a work tool. People from my generation appreciate the computer because we know what life was like without one and the younger generation do not.

The computer is a great time saver as well as an extremely good time waster and a lot of students have mastered the time wasting side of the computer. They have to be taught how to use the computer as a time saving tool. At school we don’t do that, we just teach them how to type. And parents don’t bother, they just let them lose on the computer so they are not destroying the house.

One big change I have noticed that has been brought about by the computer is longhand writing verses printing. My generation all wrote in longhand but now nearly nobody writes in longhand, it is all in block letters. That is partly due to schools not teaching writing and also teachers using block letters. On the blackboard I use block because the students can read it but everywhere else I use longhand. The only time I use longhand is in a kindergarten where I teach Montessori writing with sandpaper letters to a bunch of kids after class.

Anyway I think the pencil will dominate over the keyboard as long as the students think the computer is an entertainment tool not a work machine. At present this thinking process only changes for some students while at school. I still don’t know why some students do their homework on a computer but I do know most of them don’t and most have access to a computer.

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

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All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter


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