Thursday, April 6, 2023

We Don't Learn That Anymore.

 The past couple of blogs deal with artificial intelligence and the possibility that it may or may not run away with society.  The exploration that I started writing them lead me to look into the education practices of our elementary schools.  I've discovered some troubling practices, and country wide changes in curriculum for students between the years of 1st thru 6th grade. 

About 7 to 10 years ago our students ceased to learn cursive hand writing in class rooms all over the country.  It used to start at about 3rd grade and was generally mastered by our students somewhere between 5th and 6th grade depending on the student.  However, cursive is no longer taught as a regular part of our curriculum in elementary school.  So, by the time these students arrive at their 9th grade classroom and are asked to hand write an introduction letter about themselves to each other and the teachers, we receive some poorly printed material that is harder to read than it would have been if we would have taken the time to teach them how to write in cursive in the first place.   Today in just about ever class, with just a few acceptations, translating hand writing to grade papers has become something akin to a contact sport.  

Along with hand writing, we've apparently stopped teaching our students how to read and tell time from a standard clock with a big and little hand.  Pointing at a clock and asking a student to tell you the time is followed by blank stares and what appears to be panic.  The sweat builds up on the brow followed by a stammer in the voice and the students eyes start sifting back and forth like they are looking for the nearest escape path.  Give them a digital equivalent or have them look at a computer screen and there's no problem.  Make them think outside the box just a little bit and the brain visually starts shutting down.  This is a sad state of affairs for children that are supposed to be in the processes of learning how to do something important, like think. 

I blame the growth of computers and like technologies for the downfall of certain teaching processes.  Today most of what our children are learning has already been regurgitated in one form or another on the screen in front of them.  There is so much time spent on electronic devises that the children of today aren't learning what could be the most important lessons that they need for personal development, those would be the social skills learned through interactions and communications with other living thinking beings.  The computer is a poor, poor substitute.  

It is this author's opinion that if this problem isn't corrected within our education system, that in a few generations we will have a whole group or possibly society of citizens that will not have the advanced skills needed for rational decision making, and when these folk get to be adults the concrete thinking processes will stop developing and we will have a society of computer dependent people that will not be able to think without asking Google for an opinion.  Forget international trade, we won't have the ability to communicate with anyone from another country because you know the rest of the world is still teaching their students the old values and we will become the victims of our own folly.  

Peace and Balance,


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