Monthly Archives: July 2013

Making education relevant to the 21st century is leading to a lack of basic skills

This post is in response to #edchatsa 29/7/13 – Debate: The focus on making education relevant to the 21st century is leading to a lack of basic skills.

Here is my contribution to the debate . . .

I can see that the statement could be true but equally it need not be the case.

Firstly one needs to explore and establish what we consider to be a) educationally relevant to the 21st Century and b) basic skills.

What are we terming as educationally relevant to the 21st Century, greater emphasis on ICT skills and competencies and/or linking the curriculum to life beyond school generally and the world of work?

What are we calling basic skills, reading, writing and basic number skills or something different?

My viewpoint is, a holistic and carefully structured curriculum can be both relevant to the 21st Century and enhance basic skills. Basic skills in the 21st Century needs to include, reading, writing, basic number, ICT skills and competencies and social and life skills. However, as well as these skills it is fundamental that children are curious and motivated to explore their world; developing an understanding and appreciation of science, art and music as well as social responsibility and ‘green’ skills (eco/sustainability).

The challenge is making this all fit together so that no component detracts from another one. This is where collegiality across the whole staff team is so important in sharing ideas and initiatives so that a truly holistic curriculum in established, reviewed and updated and the best possible outcomes in teaching and learning (relative to the specific learning community) can be achieved.