It’s Good to be Old School

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I was just reading through my student survey responses and thought I would share with you a point that I feel is relevant to this course.

When asked what they liked about my classes, many of my students stated that they enjoyed the fact that I take the time to write class notes up on the board (one going so far as saying that this made me “real old school”). Most pointed out that Science has a lot of vocabulary that needs to be learned, and said that they often struggle to actually remember the concepts associated with these words when they are presented to them digitally. Having to write down the notes, they said, made remembering a lot easier.

Given how easy using technology has become, I think we sometimes forget to leave it aside once in a while. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with sending out digital class notes and asking students to fill in the blanks as we go through them. I just believe that this needs to be done in moderation.

This type of teaching benefits the auditory learners in our classes. The more old school approach, writing notes on the board and asking kids to copy them down, benefits the others (the visuals and the kinesthetics). As teachers, we should be aware of the different learning styles in our classes and should cater to each of them whenever possible. This is especially true when trying to develop new language in our students. My student’s responses show that our kids want a bit more variety, so why not give it to them?

2 thoughts on “It’s Good to be Old School

  1. What a great point you are making here in your blog! Maybe I am old school too, nevertheless, the stuff you say about writing your own notes with a pen and paper is so true and I believe there is research to support it. You mention it too that computers focus more on auditory learning as opposed to pen and paper benefits visual and kinesthetics.
    I am curious about the survey questions for students to have answered so clearly towards pen and paper! Recently I have been focusing on different ways to take notes and talking to the students about it. Many also mentioned that “old school” is better due to the minds physical activity, calling it “muscle memory”, meaning that from the hand to the brain a series of muscles are activated which differ to when using technology.
    I may share your blog with some colleagues at RAS, if that ok? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Jan!
    I think going old school works – I learned by writing notes and remember even when I was at a laptop school and getting PowerPoint presentations, I wanted to write the notes…and colour coordinate them!
    I think the key is having students have a variety of options that might help them best learn/remember. I appreciate the old school, though…and anything hands on…which I’m sure a lot of Science is! 🙂

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