Gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'
In Bob Dylan’s 1963 classic anthem, The Times They are a Changing, he could have been singing about today’s education reform. I for one welcome change in education. That statement is not meant to come across with any sense of bravado, but rather with appreciation. I welcome change the same way I do a new pair of shoes. Sometimes I decide the shoes I am wearing just don’t meet my needs, and other times I buy a new pair because the old ones are ruined. Either way, it takes a little time to adjust, but once I’ve walked in them a bit they become the new normal.
My journey through education began as a student in the mid 70’s at May Westscott Elementary School. The other day I stopped a first grader in the hallway to help me with an app I had just downloaded on my iPad. As I walked away, I had a sudden flashback to my own schooling experience and realized how much things have changed. Some changes have been made because previous practices don’t meet the needs of the time, and other changes occurred because the old ways simply weren't working.
What would schools look like today if these practices had never changed?
10 Changes in schools I have witnessed in my lifetime
- Walking by the teachers room and being enveloped by second hand smoke
- Writing “I will not talk in class” 100 times during recess
- Being good at math meant memorizing multiplication facts
- Everyone’s favorite reward for doing well was going outside to clap the erasers against the building (I actually got to do that once!)
- Any parent-teacher communication meant you were in a whole heap of trouble
- Cooperative learning only happened on the playground during recess
- Team teaching was when two classes were in the same room and the television was wheeled in and we watched The Electric Company (if you are under 40 years old, look it up!)
- Being considered a good writer meant you had beautiful penmanship
- Hands on science was watching the teacher conduct a demonstration
- The annual ritual of passing out a stack of text books on the 1st day of school and writing names on the inside cover then never getting to the last three chapters