Who needs to write anymore? We have laptops. Typing is faster. Smart phones, why we can speak into them to send a text message.
Is there any real need to teach students how to write longhand? (that’s what “cursive writing” is.)
There are certainly lots who don’t know how to do it and are not bothered learning it. They will say they can always use block printing.
Do we lose anything really by not knowing how to sign our names in cursive?
I contend that we lose a lot. We lose way more than is visible on the surface.
I invite you to look at a bigger picture.
For our youngsters to have a fulfilled life, what is necessary and what is fluff and not needed?
The school system seems to think that music is not necessary.
Physical education is thought of as secondary.
I would remind those folks that the word gymnasium really meant school originally.
Stick with me on a short circuitous route.
First, where is the human mind?
If your first answer to this is the brain, that is what many will agree on.
Candace Pert co-discovered endorphins. In her book MOLECULES OF EMOTIONS, she reveals that the mind is in every cell of the body!
Allow me to repeat that. The mind is NOT located in the brain. It is in every cell of the body.
It may well be why the Attention Deficit diagnosis is so popular. Kids fidget. Teachers don’t like it. What they don’t realize is that to learn, we use our whole bodies. Not just the brain.
Bodily movement is an integral part of the learning process.
Therefore, it behooves us to expose our young learners to many modalities of movement.
I suggest that in order for children to grow into well-rounded, healthy, fulfilled adults we need to have them dip into all kinds of experiences that seem frivolous on the surface.
This would include but not be limited to:
Music of many genres from classical to modern. Even to have them play an instrument or many instruments.
Singing. Everyone can sing. But we drum that out of our kids. That to me is child abuse. Many of us were exposed to that abuse.
Dancing. Learning how to elegantly move the body is, I believe integral to a fulfilled life.
Art. We can all draw. But calling a child’s efforts a failure because it doesn’t fit with our ideas about beauty is a shame…at best. Abuse at worst.
Handwriting and even calligraphy. Something different happens in the body when we write as contrasted with typing (or speaking). In our rush-rush world, many of us have taken to writing quickly and losing our writing skill. “Mindful writing” may be the solution.
Literature. Even for computer nerds.
Public speaking. Listed by many as the #1 fear. Yet competent communication is critical to advancing in any career.
Leadership skills. That should be obvious.
Conflict resolution. How to argue. Many think arguing is about what today’s politicians do. That is not arguing. That is hurling abuse. How to argue using reasoned statements is a skill set. Essential, says I.
Outdoor survival skills. It builds confidence to know that no matter what nature throws at you, you know what do to.
Self-esteem. Not by being politically correct and protecting kids from any and all things that may upset them. But building a strong inner knowing.
Martial arts. So they know how to defend themselves and have a strong core that is aware of their surroundings. Self-esteem comes from knowing you can handle yourself and knowing how to stay out of situations.
We can probably think of many other topics to study.
Emotional Intelligence. How to manage money. Time management. Meditation (“Mindfulness” is actually making inroads now, thank goodness.)
Tell me what other areas of study you feel are essential.
Tell me if you disagree with me too.
The modern education system was designed to produce workers who can fit into industrialized society. Be the cog in the machine.
You did not need to know any of the above to land a job in a pulp mill for example.
But the new emerging world needs new skill sets, plural. And we cannot know what connections are made in the mind amongst the many areas of study. Connections that can help us be more creative. Connections that we would not make if we had no grounding in varied fields of study.
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