View from SD73: In schools, basics continue to be key

The “basics” will always be taught. Years ago, when many of us went to school, classrooms were all about the “three Rs”: reading, writing and arithmetic. Some people today seem to pine for those days and want to see a return to this kind of teaching. The fact is, however, the “basics” have never left our classrooms and will continue to be a key part of the learning experience for all students.

Teachers have never lost sight of the importance of teaching children literacy and numeracy skills. The first priority of School District 73’s newly adopted five-year strategic plan reads: “Ensure every student acquires strong foundational skills and core competencies.” This priority reflects the facts that, as educators, we have long known and believed that teaching the basics is a critical part of every student’s education. The five-year plan also sets three key goals for this priority.

They are:

• Students will graduate with strong literacy and numeracy skills;

• Students will demonstrate growth in thinking, communication and personal social skills;

• Students will demonstrate proficiency in education, career and life planning.

If anything has changed, it’s what we now consider to be “basics.”

We use the words “strong foundational skills and core competencies” deliberately because they reflect the fact the skills our children need to acquire are changing. Our children face a different future than we did. The world they are growing up in offers new challenges and different realities than so many of us ever experienced. It is more technological. Social networks dominate. The internet, smartphones and Google has changed the way we access information and any fact is just a few keystrokes away.

To be successful in tomorrow’s world, children will require — in addition to strong numeracy and literacy ability — a host of other skills. They will need to be able to communicate more effectively than we did across many channels. They will need to be able to plan a career better and understand the steps they need to take to reach goals more efficiently.

The pathway to success has changed and students must take the responsibility now for taking the right steps. Teaching only the “3 Rs” is no longer enough. Math and reading will always be paramount skills, but “basics” now encompass so much more. Limiting our instruction to literacy and numeracy does a disservice to children when the obstacles they face are becoming larger.

Our challenge as educators today is to look ahead and anticipate what skills are needed by the next generation, which is why our strategic plan is so valuable. Our plan sets out a direction for the next five years, so that teachers know how to focus their effort in classrooms for the benefit of students.

We’ll keep a close eye on the goals we have set and watch to see whether our students realize the benefits. Inevitably, we will need to revisit the strategic plan and adjust it again to reflect new obstacles and challenges that emerge to confront next generations. Regardless, we will always teach the basics. Literacy and numeracy will always be a priority in our classrooms and will remain a key measure of student success. They are a key component of the strong foundational skills and core competencies our strategic plan promises to provide.

Joan Cowden was a teacher in School District 73 for 36 years and is serving her third term as a school trustee. View from SD73 is published in. Courtesy of Kamloops This Week.

Just Posted

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Updated: Police confirm death of woman at Wells Gray Park

She was with a group of people from Kamloops at Spahat Creek Falls when she fell about 500 feet

Blue River business charged with violating Wildlife Act

The investigation started last summer after a complaint the company was putting food out for bears

Clearwater RCMP investigate fake jewelry scam

Police in Clearwater are warning the public that not all that glitters… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Large B.C. tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and District investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Numbers are up, way up, for bike-related visits to the province

Most Read