Look Back In Anger – And Nostalgia

The weirdest things formerly taught in schools

Part one:

In another day and age, girls in public school might be separated to learn sewing and cooking in home economics class, while boys went to shop class to learn carpentry and mechanics skills. Dead languages were taught to understand live ones. Learning how to take proper notes, develop neat handwriting, read sweep-hand clocks and how to actually spell words are among the other weird things formerly taught in schools.

Latin

Schools for the most part no longer veni, vidi, vici the classical languages, Latin and Ancient Greek. True, you can’t use them in your day-to-day conversation but their loss is also our loss. Studying Latin helps us better understand the grammar and vocabulary of other languages, such as English. And many professions have vocabulary steeped in Latin, including law and medicine.

Handwriting

In the era of keyboard, cursive writing classes are on the way out or gone at many schools.  But not all educators are happy about this.

There’s a myth that in the era of computers we don’t need handwriting. That’s not what our research is showing,” says a University of Washington professor who has co-authored studies on the topic and followed the same children every year for five years to track their development. “What we found was that children until about grade six were writing more words, writing faster and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting—printing or cursive—than if they used the keyboard.”

Home economics

In times past, it was common for boys to take shop classes and for girls to do home economics, where they would learn to cook, fold sheets and so on, so they could become proficient homemakers. Well, presumptions about gender roles have changed and home economics is fast becoming a creaky relic of the past. That said, teaching both girls and boys practical life skills, like how to boil an egg or do their own laundry, might be a good thing.

Shop class

No, shop class wasn’t learning how to become a more proficient shopper. It taught, boys mostly, basic carpentry and mechanics skills. Liability issues, using machines that can lop off digits or ruin eyes, may be one reason that shop and the industrial arts are increasingly falling off the school map.

But a school in North Carolina makes the case: “Shop classes offer students with their hands. They let students test their inclinations toward possible careers in engineering, carpentry, or architecture.”

Typing

As with handwriting, typing is being whited out in schools, with the belief that kids today are born with keyboards in their hands and screens before their eyes. So, gone are the days where students have their fingers poised over typewriter keyboards, with the teacher intoning, “D-d-d, space.” However, even though self-taught youngsters may be reasonably proficient, they would have a great work advantage if they learned to keyboard at full speed.

Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System, first introduced in the 1800s, is a numerical system used by libraries to classify their book holdings into subjects and subcategories. Kids needed to get lessons from librarians to learn how to use it, thumbing their way through card catalogues, so they could research school papers and other projects. With the internet, Dewey Decimal is now skipping class. Even librarians are questioning the need to teach it.

Dodgeball

Dodgeball used to be a standard gym class activity, with two teams lining up facing each other and then hurling balls at each other in a contest of elimination. Because some kids have better throwing arms—and accuracy—than others, injuries happened and now schools are increasingly banning the game.

Using slide rules

Before using calculators in math class, we had slide rules to make basic calculations, especially multiplication and division. The rulers, with a central sliding slip marked with logarithmic scales date back to the 17th century. They fell out of use in the 1970s when mass-produced pocket calculators became widely available. The last slide rule was manufactured on July 11, 1976.

Reading Analog Clocks

Elementary school students used to be taught that when the small hand was at three and the big hand at six that it was 3:30 and perhaps time to go home. A new generation raised on digital readouts, have trouble dealing with analog time-telling. So much so that some schools have actually removed analog clocks because mystified kids were turning up late for classes and exams.

Etiquette

Etiquette hasn’t been part of school curricula for a long time. However, some experts believe it would do kids good to get lessons in class to supplement what they are learning, or not learning, at home. How to do a proper handshake, tie a tie, and address your elders, are good things to know.

We’ll have some more nostalgia later.

’20 A To Z Challenge – O

 

I took my new bifocals out for a test drive, and felt that I’d found the perfect word to describe me.  I thought someone said that I was an ‘Oopsy-Mess.’  When I cleaned the dryer lint off the lenses, I found that I had to look up the word

OPSIMATH

A person who learns late in life
Greek
opse = late
math = learn

We should ALL be opsimaths, all except you young bucks.  Learning should be a life-long ambition and objective.  Some folks stop learning when they graduate high school, or college.  Many of them go on to become managers at McDonald’s or Domino’s, although at least one of them got elected as President of the United States.  Some voters never learn.  😳

I could go on (and on) about this, but I’ve learned to, Be Brief – Be Bright – Begone.  Are you still learning stuff to advance you in your job, or to get you a better one?  Are you still learning things, just for the joy of knowledge?  I would have been a professional scholar, if I’d just been able to find a sponsor.

A Poem About My First Car

Poetry

SDC10575

There won’t be much poem
I had to tow the thing home

It was a dark British green
An ugly shade to be seen

It was never much fun
The damned thing wouldn’t run

It was a ’52 Morris
It wouldn’t start for us

I got it for free
The owner overcharged me

It came home from a farm
The chickens did it some harm

We towed it home with a rope
I never had any hope

I didn’t take time to love it
I just quickly said ‘Shove it’

Mr. Snake-Oil did offer
An older trade he did proffer

vauxhall

I can’t think of a rhyme for ‘learning experience.’  If you haven’t already, but would like to read about my early automotive adventures, click to go back to read about My First Cars.

WOW #4

Dictionary

For those of you who had planned not to learn anything today;
“Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

The Word Of the Week is;

JUXTAPOSITION

noun
an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
the state of being close together or side by side.

Word Origin and History for juxtaposition

1660s, from French juxtaposition (1660s), from Latin iuxta “beside, near” + French position (see position (n.)). Latin iuxta is a contraction of *iugista (adv.), superlative of adjective *iugos “closely connected,” from stem of iugum “yoke,” from iungere “to join” (see jugular ).

For medical or technical use, definition 2, and/or the first half of number 1 are assumed.  Things are placed side by side, usually only for comparison.

Not that the word is commonly used in public, but when it is, the common usage has drifted to almost always emphasize contrast.  It indicates surprise or amazement at seeing two things, side by side, that just aren’t ever expected to be together, like a tiara on a pig, or a Picasso on a Port-A-Potty wall.

Starting in the early 90s, I began hearing about ‘The Palace of Auburn Hills’, a new Detroit-area arena/venue. The Detroit Pistons moved there, and some big-name concerts, including 2 consecutive sold-out Michael Jackson shows, have been held there.  I just thought, ‘Detroit’, and left it at that.

About ten years ago, following a trip to Detroit, instead of crossing back to Canada into Windsor, we drove north to cross at Port Huron. We got off the Interstate, onto a highway, and got off the State Highway onto a narrow, two-lane county road.  Finally, about 35 miles north of Detroit, where urban becomes country, we entered Auburn Hills.

The Palace

I remembered about ‘The Palace’, and wondered where it might be. There on the north end of town, just past the John Deere dealer on one side, and the roadhouse bar on the other, both with muddy, unpaved parking lots, it sits in the middle of acres of blacktop paving, a sea of lights, looking like a Las Vegas casino in a Mexico City slum.

It’s like driving a load of trash out to the landfill site, and finding the Taj Mahal perched on top of the mound of garbage, or London’s Tower Bridge stretched over a sedimentation pond in Canada’s oil-sands project. Now, that’s juxtaposition!

Depending on the show, this thing can seat up to 23,000 people, in a little city of 22,000. The Interstate is not too far away, but, like filling a tank-car with a straw, it must take days to empty that parking lot onto a road not as wide as some driveways.   😯