The evolution of education comes from many factors; the most notable being technology and advances in the job market. The phrase “teach for the jobs of tomorrow” has changed the way teachers and administrators approach learning, the content of what is taught, how that content is delivered, and the level of discipline required in the field.

What Happened to Cursive Handwriting?

Who remembers learning cursive in third grade? Cursive isn’t so important anymore with technology. Ever since the Common Core standards were implemented, schools are not required to teach students cursive because instruction time is better spent on learning technology rather than handwriting.

Some people think that schools should get rid of cursive altogether. However, some states, such as Tennessee and California, have kept cursive instruction in their curriculum. Additionally, Louisiana is the most hard hitting state to keep cursive in schools because the state mandates that students get instruction in cursive every year from third grade to high school graduation.

Chalkboards to whiteboards to… electronic boards?

Back in the old days, it was standard for every classroom to have a chalkboard. But it was always messy to use. No one liked getting chalk on their hands, the eraser never did a good job erasing the board, and the only way to get the board clean was to use a wet paper towel.

Then whiteboards came along and suddenly teachers could write in a variety of colors and the kids loved it! Not only did the kids love it, but teachers loved it as well because they could stay more organized with their work (hello, color coding). In addition, words on the board were easier and clearer to read and erasing the board became easy.

Today, technology is dominating the classroom with SMART boards and Promethean boards. With no mess and the ability to use a variety of applications, electronic boards have become a valuable teaching tool far beyond what a simple chalkboard can do.

Teachers Need More Schooling

As written in the Journal Sentinel, the previous generation could still make a reasonable living with only a high school diploma. Today, individuals need at least a bachelor’s degree to get to entry level jobs. And most of the time a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough for an elementary school teacher. Most teachers are required to go back for additional education in the form of certifications, credits or even grad school.

Classroom Setup and Models

Years ago it was common for desks to be alighted in individual rows in each classroom, no matter the age of the child. Then with education reform in the 1970s, the open classroom model became dominant.

This model grouped students with varying skill levels together in one large classroom with several teachers overseeing them. Students were divided into different groups for each subject according to their skill level for that specific subject. To accommodate this change, some schools did not have interior walls and others were adapted to have some interior barriers.

The open classroom model was short lived as it was abandoned in the late 70s and early 80s. Today, there are various ways to set up classrooms and models to stimulate individualized or team learning.

All of these changes amplify the meaning of “teach for the jobs of tomorrow.” If you think back to your days in school compared to your children’s school experiences, the way teachers and approach learning, the content of what is taught, and how that content is delivered is vastly different.