Old School…


I’ve been thinking a lot about old school vs. new school issues in the classroom. 

First, I’ve been re-reading Tolkien, which strikes me as anti-modern/industrial, even though it is very popular with the geek set.
Next, there was  discussion in the lunchroom at my school about calcuators vs. paper and pencil computation. A co-worker felt that students needed to be able to calculate large numbers themselves in case the ever found themselves without a  calculator. I contended that my experience working as a banking analyst in various capacities, including regulatory reports, and reports to the board of directors, was that most computation that people do in the workplace is done with spreadsheets and calculators, BUT the best skill you could have was good number sense because you need to spot errors that crop up in formulas. So you should be able to see if you have a column with 1,200 + 300 + 500 it should not total up to 4,000.  Just basic number sense was more critical in that kind of information based career.

Currently, we are doing a push on cursive writing at my school, which I think is a waste of time and energy. Apparently the students writing is illegible, but I think it would be better to concentrate on printing, DNealian script, and have kids work on fine motor skills by doing mazes, but they’re going into the 21st century learning cursive.

Last, there is TNTurner’s piece on silent classrooms.

by posted under practice/pedagogy | 2 Comments »    
2 Comments to

“Old School…”

  1. October 28th, 2007 at 3:14 pm      Reply Megan Says:

    Ms. Mercer I agree with your opinion. As a student I think it’s more important to have a sense for numbers then figuring out the square root of 156,123 in your head. In my math classes, both the teachers made us go without calculators for the first grading period. I can see where this would help us, but it’s more of training the brain then being able to use the skills later on. Now a days, you always have a calculator on you anyways, seeing how all cell phones and computers have them.

  2. October 28th, 2007 at 3:46 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

    Thank you for your comment Meagan. My question to you is this, if I asked you for the square root of 134, without a calculator, would it be closer to 5 or 12? If you know that, in my opinion, you have good number sense. How did you hear about this blog if I could ask? It’s nice having a student comment here.

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Links of Interest


Creative Commons License
All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Skip to toolbar