Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The F-word as Progress

Every time I walk through the halls at LC, I hear the F-word. Maybe only once a day, but it is so common as to be unremarkable. When I hear it, I wonder if I should chastise the student. Sometimes, of course, I must, because the student says it so loudly something needs to be said. Most of the time, it's only a conversation between friends, so I just let it pass and pretend I didn't hear it.
It makes me wonder, though, why cursing is getting so commonplace. And I think the answer is that these kids hear that kind of language constantly.
Think of kids 50 years ago. The music they listened to didn't have F-words. Even until the 70s, the records were tame. The scariest band of the 70s, Black Sabbath, didn't curse. Now, the songs kids are putting in their ears use the word so often it has almost lost its meaning.
The movies kids watched 50 years ago may have had an F-word here and there, but now, huge Hollywood movies use it promiscuously. The Wolf of Wall Street had 569 uses of the word.
So, these kids are surrounded by the F-word. It's natural that they use it. Which must make school, a place where the F-word is strictly verboten, seem like total squaresville.
I know school has ALWAYS been total squaresville, but I think the gap between school life and the kids' real life is wider than it has ever been. Kids are on screens all the time--texting, playing video games, Snapchatting, watching Netflix. So to sit in classes for six hours, not cussing, not playing with screens, must seem supremely dull.
This does not bode well for the future of education. We have tried to remedy this gap by introducing online classes, but I can tell you from experience, that kind of education is not the same as a face-to-face class. We are trying to remedy a massive change in our students by incrementally changing our education. About the only thing that has changed in high schools over the last 100 years is we have replaced a blackboard with a whiteboard. Think about what would happen if a person from 100 years ago magically appeared in America today. They would be flabbergasted and flummoxed by all the changes in the world. But our high schools would look basically the same.
We don't need changes in education. We need a revolution.

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