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Education then and now – what’s changed in the last 50 years?

Even though the world of education doesn’t seem to move that quickly, there has been a huge amount of changes over the last 50 years (1970 to now). It’s not just the modern technology that has changed, although that has made a big difference. Teachers have got more professional, with higher standards than ever. Students have also changed the way they study and interact at school as well.

Keep reading and find out more about what changes have happened in teaching and learning in the last 50 years!

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When it comes to teaching, there has been an enormous development in the way that teachers are trained. There has been a lot of research about how to teach, what teachers need to know, and how to train them. A lot of schools in the 1970s were very strict, formal and inflexible. They were often using physical punishment. In the USA, ‘corporal punishment’ was still completely legal in schools until about 1977. So if you were behaving badly, a teacher might hit you with a stick or bat!


Students in a 1970s classroom were also quite different. The children in classrooms now have access to the internet, and know a lot more about a huge variety of topics. Teachers often have a hard time ‘entertaining’ today’s learners, as they get a lot of stimulation from the rest of their world. Children also have more freedom to ask questions and interact in a more equal way now.

Back in 1970, there was no internet, no phones, no computers, and a lot less distractions. But students did not have as many interesting resources to learn from as we do now. I can imagine that it might have been quite boring back then.


This is where we have seen the biggest change over these last 50 years. Due to the invention of computers, the internet, and applications, the modern classroom can be a very technological place. In English classes at RKA Valencia, our students use apps, websites, online resources and interactive software almost every class.

They have the internet on their phones, and so are a very well informed group in general. That doesn’t mean the teacher doesn’t have to keep their attention though. Sometimes all the technology can stop them from learning, so teachers have to find a balance.


The methodology has also changed quite a lot since the 1970s. Teaching now, is really about finding the best ways to help each one of your students. As much as possible, the idea is to try give all the different learners the best version of the material so they can learn.

This isn’t always possible, but with practice it becomes relatively easy to accomplish for teachers.

50 years ago, teachers would just give the same material to each student, and make those who learned more slowly, spend more time learning. In the 70s, there were more and more schools trying more modern methods, so things started to get better during this decade too.


At RKA Valencia, we take learning and teaching seriously. We love to use modern methods and technology, as well as connect with our students personally. If you want to improve your English and learn how to communicate with native speakers, get in touch with RKA Valencia at, or contact us here.

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