Its Time to Bring Back Old Tried and True Teaching Methods to Help Our Children Learn
While the world is growing more and more technological advanced increasing the need for bright and educated individuals our school systems are falling further and further behind in meeting that need. One of the reasons for this discrepancy is the changing education system itself. At the heart of the problem lies the new teaching methods that are employed to educated our children.
While new and innovative teaching methods can be a welcome asset, their original purpose was to supplement and enhance the old tried and true methods of education. Instead, these new methods replaced those methods that were working beautifully and left it their place a vast wasteland.
If we truly want to improve our schools, then it is time to reinstate some of these old but powerful teaching methods and enhance them with new methods and technologically. Here are some of the old teaching methods that if re-instituted would drastically improve our educational system.
Reading Out Loud
One method of old school teaching that proved successful to generations of school children was reading out loud in class. When I was in elementary school much of our school day was spent taking turns reading out loud from both story books and textbooks. We read out loud in every class every day. While this was a much disliked activity among students, myself included it benefits were unquestionable.
Not only did most of my class become proficient readers, something that is lacking in American classrooms today, many became excellent readers with an extensive vocabulary. This meant that students of yesteryear could not only read the communication of others but could communicate better themselves both in the written and the spoken word.
What is more, classroom reading allowed teachers to identify children who needed help mastering this skill far earlier than is often discovered today. Identifying reading problems early on meant students got help sooner and more often than not eventually caught up with the rest of their class in reading skills.
Today with the advanced methods of helping students with dyslexia and other reading problems overcome these problems, early identification of these problems would prove helpful.
Studies have shown that children who lack reading skills have a more difficult time in every school subject. Therefore, it is imperative that we re-institute the teaching method that best taught and improved children's reading skills.
Another disliked activity and one that makes me shudder even to think about. Much of our twelve years of English was spent diagramming sentences. While I feel this was a method that was overused in the “old days” of education I still feel that used in moderation it would certainly improve most students writing skills.
Diagramming sentences helped students visual the parts of a sentence and the part they played in affective writing. While years of diagramming sentences proved of little use, a short course in diagramming would prove beneficial for today's students.
Perhaps, a week of diagramming as each new part of a sentence is learned would be the ideal way for students to learn the differences between nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Helping a student to know what a word is and how it is used correctly in sentence structure will serve to improve a students writing skills, something that is almost non existent in today's graduates.
Book Reports and Research Papers
Another fossil from the past that should be taken off the extinct list and put back into service is the writing of book reports and research papers. Not only do these two ancient teaching tools force students to continue to practice their reading but develops skills in writing and researching as well.
Research especially seems to be a long lost art among students. While they can find almost any new toy or article of clothing on line, asked them to find educational material and they seem confused as to how to go about it. Never mind actually using the library and the card catalog to find books on a subject of interest.
While research papers became a thing of the past because teachers did not want to spend the time grading them, they served an important function in helping students to learn. Making notes, outlines, and learning how not to plagiarizer all came from those research papers were forced to write year after year.
For many students these research papers had the added benefit of teaching them to organize their thoughts in a logical manner, and for some the topics they chose gave them a life long interest they still pursue.
Today, with computers in almost every classroom, research papers should be expanded to include research from magazines, books, interviews when appropriate as well as the Internet. This will give each student an in depth understanding as to both the benefits and the work involved in completing a research project.
It will also increase their reading and writing skills.
While new methods and tools to aid teachers are important, there are times when old and true methods that have stood the test of time need to be reimplemented in our classrooms. Now is the time in the School systems of the United States.