Kids These Days

The other day I overhead someone say how it is a shame that kids today can’t spell without spell check, do multiplication without calculators and can’t read analog clocks. Well NEWSFLASH! They don’t need to!

Let’s break them down one by one:

Spell check

First off, where their no dictionaries in the past? Oh there were. It just took longer. Or you just asked someone. Hey do you know how to spell “…..”? Maybe this stems for my trouble spelling. I am not so bad at it now because I’ve read a ton since childhood and went through several years of schooling. But I still can’t spell things sometimes and that is okay. Why? Spell check, remember? We have predictive text now and auto complete and why try to remember a million words in your brain when there is plenty else to think about? There are 1,025,109.8 words in the English language. I don’t know about you but I am never gonna care enough to learn all million words. Plus being okay with making mistakes is important too. Spelling mistakes happen, typos happen, grammar gets forgotten or used in error. And life goes on. Most people are smart enough to figure out what you meant anyways and if they are in anyway forgiving, they will overlook these things.

I understand the need to be professional. However, most of life is not done in the professional setting. It is online in the social network world. I get that this too can matter but there is no need to worry about it. The point still stands that kids these days don’t need to spell. They just need to know how to use spell check. Word choice and proofreading might be a more useful skill to spend class time on.

Multiplication

We all know I cheated to learn math. Doing mental math comes in handy but it is not necessary most of the time. We have phones with calculators at our fingertips. Or we are on computers. Which let’s face it are just fancy calculators. I am not sure about text books today but there use to be times tables in the back that worked like a calculator. It was sorta like playing Battle Ship. But with homework. Or ever see a slide rule?

sliderule

They were old school pre-calculators. And let’s not pretend the question, “hey what’s “…” times “….” didn’t exist. Kids are always willing to ask for help. Adults, not so much. But if I can help you, with math, or something else, just let me now in the comments below.

Lastly a favorite of mine.

Analog clocks! 

SAClock

I never had any trouble with them. But It wasn’t until I was a substitute teacher as an adult that I ever heard a really good explanation given to children to help them learn. Which is a two fold problem. Why do we try to get 1st Graders to understand confusing out dated things? And why do we waste class time in school teaching something that is not:

A) a necessary skill,
B) an essential skill, or
C) work enhancing skill

This could apply to several topics and I should know I Majored in Social Sciences.

Ultimately let’s get real. We could do so much better when it comes to education. More importantly let’s stop complaining about kids not being able to do things that are silly and outdated.

Which leads me to today’s ideas.

Day 19 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine.

Ways to improve mental practice:

1. Read more
2. Take breaks from screen time
3. Forgive myself for I am forgiven
4. Metacognition
5. Work on a crossword puzzle
6. Work out (this helps me think better)
7. Wonder about what’s possible
8. Write
9. Take a walk
10. Learn about other people
11. Get outside of my own head
12. Drink more coffee
13. Get regular sleep
14. Be creative
15. Read / Watch something funny
16. Try something new
17. Stop negative self talk
18. Stop having arguments with other people in my head that never happen in real life
19. Stop planning things for other peoples lives (I don’t do this much anymore)
20. Focus on the moment

So next time you are feeling nostalgic about the state of today’s students, remember that “the times they are a changin’ “.

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