Recognising how learning methods worked during ancient times and comparing these with modern methods of progressive learning can give educators an insight on how small changes are necessary in order to accommodate both the need for students to learn fundamentals of courses…
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While in the beginning, learning was considered to be an end to itself, in the course of the progression of technology learning became the means to an end, which made the purpose of learning deviate from its origins (Carmack, n.d.). It is important to find out how such changes happened, as well as why these occurred since in order to find out how to adjust learning methods effectively, it is vital that learning methods of the past must also be studied because these information will give valuable insights on how to make learning purposeful and effective for students, based on the current perspectives of contemporary society. In order to present the importance of understanding the relevance of how learning operated in the past, examples of contrasting elements between ancient learning such as in the times of the Greco-Roman cultures and the modern progressive learning methods that most contemporary society now experiences today will be used. Three possible differences that can be observed are: 1) the reasons for learning; 2) the lessons to be learned by the students; and 3) how these methods are implemented in schools. These three differences are relevant to the explanations since the evolution of learning was affected by mostly societal and cultural changes, especially during the Industrial Revolution, and beyond (Power, 1991). Thus it would be easier to correlate the importance of learning in any kind of society as well as the changes that occur in the process of passing on knowledge on each succession of generations. It can be said that the shifting priorities of the society, from having strong relations with the past and traditions, to looking forward to new possibilities in the future were able to usher such changes, which not only made learning a widely-accepted idea, but also essential to everyday living (Lawrence, 1970). In the past, greater focus is given to the artistic side of living, which can explain why in ancient learning there has been a bigger emphasis on the rhetoric, grammar, styles, as well as oratorical prowess of students, with particular mention of the upper and middle classes, while skills related to craftsmanship are passed down to the working classes. Based on the premises, education can either be an end, or a means to an end, depending on the societal ranking of the learners. Also, there is a prominent idea that students must adjust to the lessons, as well as having to learn general subjects without having to put too much focus on narrowed-down careers, thus leaving no room for the development of individuality. On the other hand, due to the development of various fields, not only do students have greater choices in careers, they are also given other options in what to learn, which is very different from the concept of learning during ancient times. In modern learning there has been greater focus both on the individual aspect as well as the specificities of lessons, depending on what end is needed to be achieved (Carmack, n.d.). At present, students are not forced to learn pure rhetoric, and are actually encouraged to choose lessons that interest them or would make good careers in the future. Thus, with regards to the difference between ancient and modern learning, the former gives greater importance on passing classical knowledge of arts to the next generation, while in the latter there is greater importance on learning various aspects of how society operates in preparation for jobs or careers in the future. In relation to the reasons for learning, the kinds of lessons that students must learn also differ between modern and ancient times due to the influence of changes in societal needs and trends. For example, ancient learning focuses more
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