A classroom at the Nailsea Community School in North Somerset, United Kingdom. (View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The 2020 Classroom is Not the 1980 Classroom

Al-Etihad, UAE, July 19

What those who were educated during the 1970s and the 1980s learned at school was relevant for their day and age, but it does not suffice in meeting the challenges of our time. Changes in school curricula, activities, tests, codes of conduct and teaching methods is a normal, and expected, process. I often hear complaints from members of older generations, who lament how the educational environment of our time has been “degraded.” These individuals believe that today’s classroom must look like the classroom that they remember from their time in school. So many of our nation’s great leaders, they claim, were educated using old methods; they have managed to lead successful lives and push our country forward without the innovations being introduced into classrooms today. But herein lies the problem: How can we compare the student of the past with today’s student? The student of the past finished classes and ran to work, where he would earn a modest stipend, while today’s student carries a credit card in his pocket. The student of the past could only dream of one day leaving his country, while today’s student aspired to visit Space. The student of the past practiced calligraphy while today’s student practices graphic design. The student of the past searched for information in piles of books while today’s student retrieves data with a single click. What a student is taught at school today might not suffice to meet the needs of a student attending school just a few years from now. The world around us is rapidly changing – politically, economically and culturally. These changes lead to tremendous growth in human knowledge, unprecedented technological developments and a change of social and political norms. Without preparing our younger generations for the future, we will remain unable to compete in the world arena. We must be innovative and nimble, and accept the fact that our children’s educational experience will inherently differ from our own. This is not something to fear; if anything, we should welcome this change with open arms. – Ahmed Amiri (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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