Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The 'evil twins' of Literacy and Numeracy!

An American being interviewed on National Radio commentated that the political pressure to implement literacy and numeracy in his country, by standardized testing, was having unintended consequences. Because of this pressure other important learning areas were being neglected, in particular, he mentioned, science. This he believes is a real concern in a technological age.

But it gets worse!

Equally neglected are the creative and imaginative areas of the arts and the humanities.

Not withstanding the importance of ‘basic skills’ surely they should be seen as a means for students to explore not only science but also their personal talents, passions and dreams. Isn’t this what drives true learning? As we leave the Industrial Age and move into an age of ideas and imagination this emphasis would seem vital? And obvious!

One UK commentator has written that in his country, ‘the evil twins of literacy and numeracy have all but gobbled up the rest of the curriculum.’ Signs of this can be seen in many New Zealand primary schools.

More important than either literacy or numeracy is ‘learnacy’ – the desire to learn. Schools need to place 'learnacy' as their priority and ensure all students, by tapping into their talents learn to see the joy of learning as its own reward.

This would mean re-culturing, or re-imagining, schools. Far easier it seems to focus on simplistic testing of literacy and numeracy. Is assessing the joy of learning too complex for our politicians and school people?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Learnacy is a great concept - better than the lunacy that we currenty suffer under.

Love of learning is the ultimate survival skill - and this includes love of reading and maths.

Anyway the creative arts should be central!