The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

20 January 2012

Back in the day we had phonics

Working in schools as I do, I have frequent occasion to reflect back on my own school days. Rather more frequent than most people who have left blackboards and detention far behind.

Schools sure have changed since my day. For one thing, it's whiteboards now (with high-inducing markers) or futuristic smartboards. Technicalities of teaching technology aside, I am - at last - grateful I grew up when I did... waterfall bangs and all.  We wore our very best jeans to school dances, where the girls, assembled in large circles according to clique, shuffled their feet back and forth from side to side. When truly moved by a song (such as Steve Winwood's Higher Love) we would snap our fingers. At the first strains of a slow song, girls would travel in packs to the washrooms, and boys would peel themselves away from the wall they'd been holding up, hoping to intercept a girl seperated from her herd.

These days, an ordinary school day requires the assembly of paparazzi-ready outfits fully accessorized with professional level hair and makeup. I blanch at the thought of what a Friday night dance would warrant!  No two-foot shuffle for the modern student, either - these kids have been to the school of Beyonce and Bieber where hours of perfecting the steps are necessary.

As for the classroom, teachers today have to contend with mobile devices, helicopter parenting, precocious sexuality, diseases disabilities and disorders, attitude, broken homes, the fallout of overly involved Ministries of Education, and the age of rights and freedoms.  In my day, orientation had to do with a map and a compass, and gender was clear cut.

I don't envy teachers at all.  With their plates full of issues, who has time for phonics?

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