Education has changed significantly over the years. | columnists

Education has changed dramatically over the years

by Marsha Lee

Contributing writer
“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn” was a statement made by John Cotton Dana more than a century ago, but today his words sound as appropriate as they did in 1912.

The explosion of technology in the past two or three decades alone has not left the education sector behind. With no other viable options, our education system has undergone many changes, and its teachers have… adjusted.

I asked several retired teachers to think about some of these changes. Former GHS teacher Jan Wein said, “The technology used to keep up with grades, lesson planning and research is a plus as it is particularly useful for parents to keep up with their children’s grades and also facilitates record keeping for teachers.”

Chantelle Elder of Texas State University said, “Technology has helped the university move all of its records, budgeting, enrollment, course content, etc. online, making our jobs more efficient both academically and financially, and freeing professors to spend more time on Research research and with students as needed.”

Jan Wein added that “More documentation is needed, particularly in the areas of special education. This helps support teachers’ actions and responses to behavior and learning in the event of parental questions or lawsuits, but it takes time away from teaching and is stressful for teachers.”

On the other hand, great progress has been made in identifying students with learning disabilities at an early age.

Barbara Hull, a retired math teacher, said, “I can only remember one child in my class when I was teaching someone who was diagnosed with autism, but I know many others have since been diagnosed.”

The same can be said of dyslexia, which began to gain attention in the 1970s. These learning disabilities affect children in different ways and to varying degrees, but with early diagnosis and help from appropriate teachers, their education can be modified so that these students can learn and succeed and deal with their own learning difficulties rather than being labeled as ‘slow learners/achievers’ and letting them slipping through the cracks academically.

Our former 2019 Miss Texas Alayah Benavides was dyslexic.

“She was told at school she had dyslexia and it was a disability, and experts told her to take remedial classes and accept subpar academic performance,” reads the April 29, 2019 edition of the San Antonio Express-News. She chose a different path, majoring in English and Support Reading Programs. Tyler McNammer was autistic, but he wrote a book about autism called Population One. Then we have Gatesville’s own Ed the Toonist, Duncan Clay, who has authored several books.

Former GJHS and GHS Principal Roland Lambert used to say “The library should be the center of the school”.

Today, libraries seem to be fading a bit. Libraries have embraced all kinds of technology — cataloging books, publishing library collections online, even perusing e-books. Students no longer need to pick books off the shelves…but how do they have any idea of ​​new books being written without the chance to peruse a library collection where they can pick up and look at books?

As reference and research centers, libraries have taken a backseat to the Internet, which has clearly replaced traditional reference books and reference collections. If students can access an online library, they can study from anywhere, so libraries lose some of their status as quiet study spaces. I don’t see libraries disappearing at the moment, but there is no doubt that technology is replacing many library functions.

other changes? There are more extracurricular activities available to students now. Schools played a direct role in providing meals to students. Free and reduced-price lunches have been here for a while, but schools now offer meals (breakfast and lunch, or combos) to all students under 18 in the summer.

There has been a huge increase in non-native English speaking children entering our education system, and language barriers pose a huge challenge for ESL teachers. Here, the predominant secondary language is usually Spanish, but sometimes other nationalities participate.

The increase in the number of charter schools and homeschooling are two additional changes. Charter schools are public schools that operate more freely than traditional public schools. They set their own curricula, hired their own teachers, and received private funding, although there was much debate about allowing free vouchers for charter schools, which would take some government funding out of regular public schools.

Homeschooling involves parents taking on the task of educating their children rather than sending them to school. Homeschooling isn’t for all students, but it’s not bad if parents can manage the curriculum. However, these students often miss out on learning social skills, such as how to work with others.

Standardized tests appeared on the scene several years ago, and have been a source of controversy among teachers and parents. It has been questioned whether the same exam could be valid for students in all 50 states, as the syllabus and content may vary.

An attempt to establish a basic curriculum for all levels of education has emerged, but not without difficulties. It has also been argued that the vocabulary used in the test questions may have different meanings to students in different parts of the country or among the growing number of non-English speaking immigrants and different ethnic groups.

Jan Wein stated that “Teachers have less control over lesson content and creativity in the classroom, as they are both dictated and controlled by case testing of content. This is positive because students are getting the required basic education, but negative in that teachers have less say in how they feel It is important for students to learn and to make learning fun in creative ways.”
When standardized testing in core subjects (grammar, composition, math, social studies, and science) began requiring students to pass all of these exams before they could graduate from high school, there was a huge dilemma, and teachers had to find a way to help their students succeed.

I can well remember being at a teachers’ conference and hearing the keynote speaker (a member of the Texas Board of Education) make the comment, “Forget enrichment; teach to the test!” I thought, “How sad this is!” But this is basically what teachers of core subjects had to do.

Students were pressured as they tried to pass, and teachers felt pressured if students in their core classes did not pass the exam (TAAS at the time). Today, students must still pass five STAAR test assessments—Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and US History—to earn a high school diploma from a public or charter school in Texas.

Regarding course content and changes, Chantelle Elder made this observation: “One big negative is the refusal to teach certain parts of American history because it is not ‘influenced’ by a particular political climate. Not teaching all aspects of our history is a great disservice to earlier generations of Americans who lived through it.” History. How can future generations learn from America’s past successes and failures if they don’t know about them all? All levels of academia should be above this nonsense and not turn our educational system into a political theater.”

However, this is what is done in some textbooks and curricula.

Teaching methods have changed as a result of our understanding of different learning styles. Years ago, teachers taught through their curriculum, often using the lecture method, and expected all of their students to learn.

We now realize that students have different learning styles, and that students with learning disabilities require more attention. New strategies had to be developed to meet the needs of all students. The lecture is still important, but the discussion in class has become a major alternative teaching tool. It is less formal and feels more natural to discuss as a group than in one person.

Today’s students have changed, too: They’re less reticent about speaking out and aren’t shy about expressing their opinions and challenging what others, even the teacher, have to say. This isn’t all bad, but teachers should act as facilitators and guide the discussion so that students don’t become rude or disrespectful.

Course offerings have changed and expanded significantly. Does a student today know what to do with a manual typewriter? Would they even have an idea of ​​the acronym? Some courses are outdated or have been replaced by technology.

In the early 1970s GHS added a new vocational building with chapters such as Ag, CVAE, VOE, DE, General Construction and General Mechanics. Educators began to realize that their job was not to prepare all students for college because not all students were going to go to college and many simply did not want to do so. However, vocational courses will help them learn things in subjects that may be of interest and that may help them find a job after high school.

Even professional shows have literally exploded into more specific courses. For example, Ag is no longer just farming, but its offerings branch out into horticulture, equine science, small animal science, advanced animal science, greenhouse production, floral design, and so on.

Just look online at the GISD website and look at the subject offerings. I can assure you that you will be amazed. Students can even work through prerequisites and end up in a practical internship where they can supervise practical applications in areas such as pharmacology, law, public safety, corrections, education, or nurse training, to name a few.

There are also courses offered for dual credit (high school and college) and opportunities for (college) credit separately. This helps students get started in college courses.

According to a 2017 study by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow, the majority of principals and technology leaders said that “the biggest challenge they have faced in implementing digital learning or expanding technology is incentivizing teachers today to change their teaching practices.”

Teaching tools are very different. The old blackboards and chalks are still present in some classrooms, but they have been replaced by electronic devices (portable tablets with bluetooth, lasers, smart boards) that allow the teacher to move around while teaching so she can help the students as she sees fit. are struggling. No longer stuck in front of the class.

Our teachers have adapted to the new technology and seem to be enjoying it when they are used to it. Teachers who once delivered ledgers and handwritten grade books from a death grip a few years ago are now embracing the miracle of not having to average grades by hand.

There has been more teacher burnout in recent years, due to a number of reasons, including the pressure of excess paperwork, the pressure of trying to learn and deal with new technology, low wages, endless hours beyond the eight-hour workday, and frustration with Back to school after a year of virtual teaching and virtual learning due to COVID-19. Many teachers seem to feel that this year has been a year of wasted education.

Some places have seen an exodus of qualified and experienced teachers as well as substitute teachers. At the Retired Teachers Meeting in September, GISD Director Barrett Pollard assured us that “All teachers are in place, enrollment is out, replacements are available, and GISD looks set to start a good year.”

The past few decades have shown many changes in education. Our schools have changed dramatically, and these changes have affected administrators, teachers, and students. One thing that has not changed is our commitment to students. This is well reflected in the mission statement on the Gatesville High School website: “Every student who walks the halls of Gatesville High School to graduate is prepared to succeed in life after high school.”

Marsha Lee 10/19/2022 1944 words

(254) 865-2030 or (254) 216-1677

Marsha_lee48@yahoo.com

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