We dug into the archives to find tidbits from previous issues of the ATA Magazine that are worth another look, either because of their relevance today, or as a reminder of how far we’ve come. You decide. Can you match the following excerpts with the year that they were originally published? 1957, 1966, 1973, 2003
1. Indefinite wonder
I suggest it is time we claim the phrase “wonder around” for what we do in our classes. Many subjects are best taught when filled with tales and experiences enlivened by wonder. Wondering engages the cynical or pessimistic students who feel their talents are wasted. All students have a capacity to employ their talents to wonder, and they will find it is most engaging when done in a hopeful manner. Wonder should be as central to education as the program of studies.
2. The new math
It’s not difficult to compare the old and the new methods. Mathematics, from Grade 1 up, used to be taught by drill and rule. If you didn’t remember the rule, you couldn’t do your sums. You repeated the same thing over and over and hoped it would stick. (Remember the dreary columns of figures we had to add, multiply and divide; the same old ‘problems’ in different guises, like the bathtub with two holes and the train from A to B.) The most serious fault of this kind of teaching was that children weren’t given either the time or the incentive to think. […]
The new methods of teaching differ markedly. They acknowledge that children can understand mathematical concepts much earlier than we used to think possible. They teach the basic laws instead of the rules: the why as well as the how.
3. The futuristic perspective
Social studies teachers might do well to learn something about the new field of futuristics — the study of future possibilities. […] The futuristic perspective is very important, because students know that they can do nothing about the past. All the glories and horrors of history are fixed and unalterable. It is only in the future that a student’s own actions can be effective, and so the future can be intensely meaningful to him. As students begin to consider the various developments that could occur in the future [...] they almost inevitably become involved in deciding which sort of things they want to see realized. As this happens, they may begin to take responsibility for making them happen.
4. Fashion fads
DOES your school allow students to wear dungarees, black leather jackets, engineer’s boots, sideburns or duck-tail haircuts? If this be the case, consider this question. Are you satisfied with the behaviour of the youngsters in your school? If your answer to the second question is no, then try this one. Is there any relationship between dress and conduct?
It was observed in one school that there was a significant correlation between fad clothing and behaviour. […]
A more informal atmosphere pervades the schools today than did in our parents’ time. This is certainly all to the good, but when the informality reaches uncontrollable limits, trouble begins to brew.
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Answers: 1. “The Wonder of It All.” Craig Harding. Spring 2003. 2. “Quick! What’s 7/8 Divided by 3/4?” Renate Wilson. May 1966. 3. “Let’s Have Less Talk of Problems and More of Solutions.” F.O. Schreiber. October 1973. 4. “Can We Outlaw Fad Clothing?” Harvey Handel. December 1957.