Don't Miss a Single Post!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Traditional Teaching -- The Value of Worksheets

"Traditional".

When you hear that word what comes to mind?  

Some words in my mind are -- old, passed down, old-fashioned, boring.  When I think of traditional, I think of an old church sanctuary with an organ playing in the background, women wearing hats, and men in suits.  I think of quiet Sundays, soup for lunch, and lots of coffee times.  I also think of an old school house with students sitting quietly and properly in their seats, the teacher at the front (wearing glasses and her hair in a bun of course) pointing to the chalkboard as the students learn through rote.  

Are any of these traditional views bad?  I don't think so.  However, I do think that they give a wrong sense of the word traditional.  While the traditional church setting is a good topic for another post, specifically I want to talk about the way these traditional views give an incorrect picture of the classroom setting.  They give a persona that a traditional classroom is 'boring', 'uninspiring', and for a lack of a better word...simply 'blah'.  



Traditional became traditional for a good reason - it worked.  The way traditional was passed down may have brought aspects to it that are not helpful or beneficial.  However, this does not make traditional learning a corrupt way of learning.  Change is good -- don't get me wrong.  Check out my post on how I learned to be more of an Open-Minded Teacher to see my view on change in classroom methods. However, why change and completely forget the old?  The traditional?  Is this not counter productive as it prevents us from learning the techniques of the past?

I am a strong believer in certain traditional teaching ways.  This includes traditional worksheets and traditional rote learning.  Of course, I do not believe this is the only way to teach or that this is the only way the classroom should be learning.  Even so, these methods should definitely not be cut out completely from learning.  Unfortunately in some classrooms I have seen them being taken less seriously and even being eliminated more and more.  This is true especially of time spent working on worksheets.



Worksheets hold value in these three ways:

1.  Students remember what they learn.  Do you ever find that when you are listening to a podcast, a sermon, or a documentary you are able to retain the information better when writing down the points?  It is well known that when we write down what we are learning we are able to be much better at retaining the information.  How is this different from kids learning in a classroom?  They too need to be able to retain information and by filling out worksheets they are taking the time to process their learning.  I believe this to be true even as young as Grade 1.  While for them, their way of worksheets may be closer to drawing with very simple sentences, they are still learning the value of remembering through recording what they have learned.

2.  Students learn the discipline of learning.  Learning takes discipline...it takes hard work.  By taking away the chance for the students to sit and write (or draw if they are younger) they are only learning that they do not have to spend time on the hard work of learning.  Yes this may be the more 'boring' part of learning, but it is also an incredibly beneficial time in our classrooms.  

3.  Learning becomes more than just games.  Learning IS fun and SHOULD BE fun.  However, like stated in number 2, it IS work as well.  I truly believe we need to have hands on and experiential learning in our classrooms.  Yet we also need to allow our students to take the time to sit, think, and write about what they learned.  This allows for a more solid and individual processing time 

It is important that we remember the value that the traditional way of teaching holds.  As we progress with further ideas and ways of carrying out information to our students, let us not forget the worth that the 'old-fashioned' ways had.  

**Stay tuned for another post on Traditional Teaching, focusing on Rote Learning**

Liked this post?  Check out some of my past posts on teaching:



8 comments:

  1. I love teaching but I don't think I'm cut out to be a 'traditiinal' teacher...pun intended...*smile'

    I wholeheartedly embrace your points. We tend to forget a great percentage of what goes into our ears in a matter of minutes but when we process information and pen them down, we retain most of what goes in.

    You know, while growing up, learning was so 'traditional' and is still considered a serious business anyway but I like the fact that children these days are being taught to have fun in the course of learning.

    www.biolaleye.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by! I agree with you in the fact that there needs to be a balance! The fun part of learning is definitely an improvement in our schools, however at times it can become too much of the focus.

      Delete
  2. I just started homeschooling my older two in October and I have to say - I absolutely agree. My kids do a mix of computer learning and worksheet learning. I find that they do well with each and that it still gives them all of the benefits of worksheets, but also the added benefit of technology learning. Not to mention spelling and handwriting will always be important to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear you say that! I'm from Ontario and in our Public System Spelling and Cursive Writing has been completely taken out of the curriculum. It saddens me to see kids not learning how to spell or write properly!

      Delete
  3. I love this. I think the traditional ways of teaching are so important, although I do feel that some children need other ways included in that as well. You make some really great points!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, definitely. There needs to be a good balance! :)

      Delete
  4. I'm all about worksheets and note taking. My kids aren't school aged yet, but it will be interesting to see what the methods are once they're in school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who knows how much things will change in the next few years eh?

      Delete