Blackboards Gone But Teaching Continues

Whatever happened to blackboards?

By the time we entered kindergarten, most blackboards had turned green, although sometimes still referred to as the former, but more often as chalkboard. That is with the exception of one-room country schools, which still had true blackboards. We even
had a little blackboard at home with colored chalk, but white chalk was usually used in class.

Writing lessons on the chalkboard was a major method of instruction by teachers. Two bad things we recall about the ‘board were being told to solve math problems on it in front of the class, or worse yet, write 500 times: “I will not talk in class without
permission.” Thus, we often had to clean the ‘board and erasers on Friday afternoons.

Internationally renowned stockman J.J. Moxley, who had a horse background, always pulled a blackboard onto the lawn at his famed Moxley Hall Hereford Ranch when hosting frequent events. We remember as if it were today his perfect chalk drawings of horses, showing structure and movement, as related to conformation and soundness.

By high school, overhead projectors were common tools for instruction. Teachers could write on a clear sheet of plastic with a black marker, and it would show on a  screen at the front of the room. Large tablets set on easels were common, too. When a page was full, it was either torn off or turned to the back, so a clean sheet was ready for use.

Occasionally movies, slide shows and film strips were used for instruction during our first lucky 13 years. In college, they were often the main teaching instruments. That was three-and-a-half decades ago, but evidently now there often isn’t even a live
teacher. It’s just machines to watch, listen to, take tests from and hopefully pass classes.

Most schools now have whiteboards with erasable markers used instead of chalk, we have been informed. Actually, we’ve seen and used them on a limited basis, too.

Modern teaching methods became clear to us at a recent five-day International Equine Judges Seminar we attended. There were top instructors, but the material was presented with videos, CDs (compact discs) and DVDs (digital video discs). We didn’t see one live horse. A picture’s still worth a thousand words, and no better picture than
that of a horse.

Descriptive photos are as good as the real thing, being verified in Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Whatever method, instruction is essential, as we’re reminded in Proverbs 1:2-5: “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

We must always expand our learning, so advised in Proverbs 23:12: “Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.” Guidance comes again in Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” May we always “chalk up” our maximum points in this game of life.