Many parents are worried about what is commonly referred to as a lack of ‘basics’. While they don’t necessarily want a return to old-fashioned methods or to recreate schooling of yesteryear, they want to be sure that certain areas are given appropriate emphasis. If you ask any parent, this is what they will most likely want for their children:
- To read fluently.
- To write with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- To express themselves clearly.
- To be competent in numeracy skills.
- To have a sound understanding and appreciation of the world in which we live.
What could be more reasonable? We cannot imagine any teacher or other educational professional who would not share these objectives. The only problem is this list is not complete! For students living and working in the 21st century, schools need to provide a lot more, and they do!
Schools and society owe each child the following, which go far beyond the traditional basics as defined by the 3 ‘R’s’. The ‘new basics’ include:
- Learning to understand oneself as a ‘learner’.
- Communicating effectively in speech and writing.
- Logical reasoning and clarification of issues.
- Thinking critically about local, national and international issues.
- Understanding of our own and other cultures.
- Cooperating with others in work and social life.
- Investigating and solving a wide range of problems.
- Appreciating and modelling approaches to healthy living.
- Expressing ourselves through the arts.
- Valuing those qualities which make a civilised and compassionate society.
- Applying information in everyday life situations.
- Being actively involved in their own communities.
- Learning via a range of multi-media applications.