As educators, it’s important for us to stay informed about changes and trends in education, both past and present. ThinkFives thought it would be educational – and fun – to look back 50 years ago to see how much has changed in the way we think about and approach education.
Some ideas and practices that were once widely accepted are now seen as outdated or even harmful. By taking a closer look at these changes, we can gain a better understanding of how to best serve our students today.
Here are the top 5 headlines from the 1960s related to education that are no longer as valid today.
“Standardized Testing is the Future of Education”
In the 1960s, there was a push toward standardized testing as a way to measure student performance and hold teachers and schools accountable. However, today, there is a growing recognition that standardized testing has limitations and may not be the most effective way to assess student learning. Should today’s headline read, “Standardized Testing is in the Past of Education?”
“Computers Will Replace Teachers”
In the 1960s, there was a belief that computers would revolutionize education and eventually replace teachers. However, while technology has become an increasingly important part of education, there is still a recognition of the crucial role that teachers play in student learning and development.
You have to remember that this was before laptops, tablets, or any other type of personal technology. We now know these are great tools but only make the teacher more important.
“Vocational Education is the Key to Success”
In the 1960s, there was a focus on vocational education as a way to prepare students for specific jobs and careers. However, today’s economy is more complex and dynamic, and many jobs require a broader range of skills and knowledge.
Ironically, as universities and career schools rethink their future, a type of vocational education may become more important. Post-secondary schooling may be more a series of courses that show mastery in a given area (which of course can include vocational skills) as opposed to an outdated 4 year traditional liberal arts approach.
“Homework is Essential for Academic Success”
In the 1960s, there was a belief that students needed to do hours of homework each night in order to succeed academically. However, research today suggests that excessive homework can be detrimental to students’ mental health and may not actually lead to improved academic performance.
Spending long hours on homework can lead to stress and anxiety, which can in turn negatively affect students’ mental health and overall well-being. Research has shown that students who spend more than two hours a night on homework may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Excessive homework may take away from other important activities, such as physical exercise, socializing with peers, and engaging in hobbies or other interests. This can have negative effects on students’ physical health, social development, and overall happiness.
“Segregation in Schools is Justified”
In the 1960s, there were still many schools that were segregated based on race, and there were arguments that this was justified. However, today, there is widespread recognition of the harm that segregation causes to students and the importance of creating diverse and inclusive learning environments.
For some of our younger readers, this headline might be a total surprise. It’s hard to imagine that less than 50 years ago there were people and politicians who could justify segregation.
Do you think our understanding of education has evolved over the last 50 years?