Learning can come from books. And then there’s the Internet, and phone apps, and podcasts, and this, and that, and the other thing. But – here’s the rub — all those genuinely wonderful ways to increase one’s knowledge are pretty much second nature to today’s teenagers. To learn in a new way teens may want to try embracing a few vanishing values and skills.
Like what? Well, there are millions of ways – maybe more — to engage one’s brain in new and challenging ways. But let’s not get overwhelmed with options. Here are five suggestions on ways students can start to embrace the old school.
- Good penmanship. Writing by hand – and ensuring it is legible — takes concentration, practice, and patience. Those are all important skills for college-bound teens to hone. Plus, research indicates writing in cursive is still an important skill to possess, despite the rumors of its imminent demise.
- Storytelling. Anyone who has ever written an essay has told a story. The key is to do it well. A good way to practice is by talking with friends and family. Have a story in mind, imagine the reaction you’d like to get, and then give it your best shot. Students: consider how you start the story, what details you choose to include, whether or not you offer any facts or strong opinions during the telling. Those same skills can be used when writing an essay on a standardized test or a class final.
- Practice formality. We live in a casual world, and it’s getting more and more laid back by the day. But there is still a place for traditional decorum. When emailing (or writing an old-fashioned letter), salutations are always appreciated, especially by professors or prospective employers. As far as attire goes, the old adage is as true today as it was back in the day: It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Embrace the personal touch. Skip the text messaging back and forth. Instead, use the phone for its original purpose. Make an effort to greet people with smiles and eye contact, whenever appropriate. Technology can have an isolating effect on people. Do your part to break out and be part of the larger world.
Check in with elders. Consider all the knowledge they have to impart. Everything from their personal histories to their tastes in music to their thoughts on the world events they witnessed. Plus, most know how to cook without a microwave, manage a budget, and drive a car with a manual transmission. Heck, if you can learn those last three things, you’ll be in better shape than most 40-year-olds.
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