When I Grew Up…

I’m going to start with a caveat: I get it. I understand where the people I’m describing are coming from. Nostalgia is a powerful driver, as is fear of the unknown. I also get that learning new stuff is much more difficult than it was when you were in school. I don’t believe those are sufficient reasons on their own to resist change. To the meat of it.

Yesterday, I discussed a different method for teaching multiplication, and I noticed a theme in the comments for the original post that sounded familiar, but from a different context. It was reminiscent of one of the arguments someone gave in an argument about spanking: “That’s the way it was done when I grew up, and I turned out just fine.”

I know I’m seeing this argument (and taking part in discussions where it comes up) because I am a parent. I’m going to keep hearing it. Parents are (very understandably) using their own upbringing as models for how their kids should experience childhood. There’s nothing wrong with using it as a baseline. I think any parent who stops with just that, though, is doing their child a disservice. It ignores the 20-30 years of development that’s occurred between you being in school and them being in school. It ignores the idea that you’re probably the most biased person about your childhood. Most confusingly, it doesn’t even try to give your child better than you had, and that’s probably what’s made the discussions so frustrating to me.

To be clear, I’m not discussing honest, thought-out critiques and complaints about these methods. I’m not advocating accepting change just for change’s sake. New learning methodologies should be scrutinized, but with better points than “That’s not what we did.” If you don’t believe sufficient research exists to support the newer way, say that. Just try to remember that these discussions are about getting to the truth, not about winning.

Thanks for reading.

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