Memory Lane: Have We Learned Anything?

I’m as guilty as the next teacher to be known to start a conversation with those infamous three words.

‘In my day’ gives the ultimate assumption that you were the model child in comparison to the yoof of today. That you tottered into school every morning twenty minutes early, got out your colour coding pens and sat, mouth agape, awaiting the nuggets of today’s learning. Oh yes.

Behaviour has shifted- undeniably- society does not present us or children with the option of remaining static. However, the independence required to identify what is required of you and then react accordingly to the situation that is presented – how has that moved or evolved?

I remember Romeo and Juliet in year eight and am absolutely gobsmacked. We came in, took out our books, were reminded where we were in the text and then Mrs Bursnell (still alive and wearing socks with sandals, confirmed siting in Sainsburys cafe last month) selected character readers. The rest of us sat and listened, annotating as we went. 

This is not a fairytale! Yes, it was top set (I had to be good at something) but the mindset was there. If I attempted to do the same with my own year eight class then one of us would die of boredom. There is a distinct lack of self- created colour coding strategy in my year eight class. 

I’m losing direction- between a positive attitude to learning that was geared towards long term goals and the independence required to not rely on heavily laden instructional powerpoints (rolling chalkboard, in case you were wondering), I wonder what the change is. Did we create this? I fear that my question is too big; the social construction as it is now and the feeling from a large proportion of students that aspiration is either a wasted energy or unrealistic which has led to making the future a clear and manageable journey. Students are afraid and not always with the knowledge of what it is that they are afraid of. 

I suppose this blog is more a question that an attempt at an answer- how are we developing those skills and that approach to education now when compared to cough-cough-unknown-amount of years ago? What comparisons can we draw to the previous climate of education within the UK and what is no longer successful or contextually relevant and why? Is it that education’s responses that has led to less independent, less engaged students (and by that I am being vast and referring to thise who mould education, not those who deliver it) or is the rose-tinted view of the past exactly that and schools were simply a ticking time bomb, demanding change? 

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