The three Rs

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My teachers were fantastic but there were limits to what we could do in the old curriculum. Things have changed a lot since I was a kid and, though I might be in the minority, I’m happy to see it.

There’s a lot more creative expression and personal engagement between children and their work. I’ve seen this at my son’s school and at my book talk at Our Lady’s in Stirling too. Across the board children are being encouraged to interact with their subjects on a personal level.

Not only are kids producing class demonstrations and talks but they’re also engaging with media via technology which offers a broadening of knowledge of their subject.

I have never been the biggest advocate of ‘three Rs’ learning (reading, writing, and arithmetic). For starters, whoever named the program clearly didn’t know how to spell (it’s r, w, and a, anyone with a basic capacity for anagrams could get ‘RAW’ from that).

Anyway, I think ‘RAW’ should be taught in the way that it’s used, viz. in the act of expressing ideas and investigating the world. Every time a new challenge arises that highlights concepts in maths or English this provides an opportunity for a deeper learning experience with much higher chance of retention.

Probably more important is the function that education is supposed to perform. Most people agree that education is intended to provide a degree of preparation for adult life.

The new skill set needed in the world our children are going to is radically different than it was when I was in school. Presentation and information processing skills are becoming vital components of so many careers, if we tried to teach this on top of the three Rs then they’d be on an eight hour day. Something had to go.

What do you think? Would solely concentrating on the three Rs in this new information orientated world be misguided? or do you stand by the more rigid education methods of the past?

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