School Now and in the Past

Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on June 30, 2019 and last updated on May 28, 2023

The topic of school now and in the past serves as a captivating conversation topic for English learners, offering them a chance to improve their language skills while exploring the evolution of education. Discussing this subject allows learners to expand their vocabulary related to education, compare educational systems, and express opinions on changes in teaching methods.

Exploring the topic of school over time promotes cultural understanding, critical thinking and the ability to discuss personal experiences, making it an enriching and relevant topic for language development.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

About School Now and in the Past

There is no doubt that education and methods of teaching children have changed a lot during the last 80 years. Any conversation with an elderly person about their experiences at school will highlight some huge differences between then and now.

Whether the changes that have been made have a positive or negative effect on the overall education of children is up for debate with some claiming that a return to schooling from years ago would solve many of today’s problems when it comes to the younger generations.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • education (noun)
  • learn (verb)
  • school (noun)
  • discipline (noun)
  • strict (adjective)
  • misbehaviour (noun)
  • misbehave (verb)

Conversation Questions

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  • What are some similarities and differences between your school experience and the experiences of your parents or grandparents?
  • How has the role of teachers evolved over time in the classroom?
  • Can you think of any traditional school practices that are still prevalent today? Are they effective?
  • How has technology changed the way schools operate compared to the past?
  • What are some advantages and disadvantages of modern school facilities compared to those in the past?
  • How has the curriculum changed over time? Are there any subjects that used to be taught but are no longer emphasized?
  • Should schools shift towards a more holistic approach to education, focusing on students' mental and emotional well-being?
  • Is the current school system adequately preparing students for the demands of the modern world?
  • If you had the chance to attend school in a different era, which one would you choose and why?
  • If you could implement a new subject or course in schools, what would it be and why?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.