Never Mind the Three Rs - What About The Three Cs?

So I ‘m sick to death of hearing about the golden age of learning when pupils were taught the ‘3 R ‘s ‘ of reading, writing and arithmetic even though only one of them starts with ‘r ‘. So much for the golden age.

I ‘ve got a better idea. What about the ‘3 C ‘s ‘ of comprehension, calculation and confidence?

Comprehension is more important than spelling or grammar, because it deals with meaning, with ideas, which should be what language is all about. It ‘s not an end in itself; its purpose is to carry thought from one brain to another. I had a teacher who made us memorise multi-syllablled words when we had no notion of their sense or significance. What a complete and painful waste of time!

Calculation because there ‘s no need for us to learn dreary times tables anymore. We ‘ve got calculators. Let ‘s teach kids how to use them. Teaching kids tables is like training a soldier to use a crossbow interesting but useless.

Then there ‘s confidence. The National Education Trust made the dazzling insight recently that some pupils don ‘t get on in school because they ‘re too shy to ask questions or make contributions. They ‘re offering to teach such pupils basic skills in ‘confidence and resilience ‘ to help them participate in the learning process. By raising their self-esteem, it enables shy pupils to interact in group activities and overcome the fear of being wrong.

Fabulous! I wish I’d such help when I was at school. But I ‘m glad now that someone is taking the ‘confidence-as-skill ‘ idea seriously enough to introduce it to schools from the earliest age.

Confidence is essential for the whole of life and should be taught throughout the school system. As it is now, confidence seems to be the reserve of the (conventionally) clever pupils i.e. those who are successful exam-passing machines. The rest of us can rot, as far as traditional education is concerned.

Well maybe its time for a revolution in education! Anyone up for it, comrades?