Following on from news of UK government plans to change the primary school curriculum from the traditional subjects (maths, science, biology etc) to six broad areas of learning which includes things like learning about Twitter and using Wikipedia (is this really a good idea?), comes this great article about the inarticulate kids we're likely to get from this proposal.
I particularly like the following excerpt...
"And that's what worries me. That we are rearing a generation of kids that are in danger of becoming emotionally stunted, inarticulate, hedonists with the attention span of a gnat. Because they spend the majority of their time in front of a computer screen. A whole generation that can't interact because their skills are limited to inhabiting a fantasy world on a screen."
It's a very long article and I agree with the general gist: 5 to 11 years do NOT need to learn about Twitter, computer games and Wikipedia formally at school - they'll learn it at home and will probably know a lot more than the teachers teaching the subjects. What's more, the Internet is a constantly changing world. Twitter may be "the big thing" today when the curriculum is devised, but there's a very good chance it'll become "Twitter-what?" in the future - hands up all those who remember what Netscape was famous for.
I'm all for a whole and rounded education for children, but I think the fundamentals are required. How is a child to know they want to become a historian or geologist or biologist if they've never been introduced to the subjects. Primary school is all about giving a wide exposure to a variety of subjects. High school is for taking that experience and then choosing to limit the subjects and concentrate in a field that interests you. Mistakes will still be made but at least the kid will have had an idea of the other subjects and can step in to make an informed decision and switch.
I'm not really sure of how the high school system works in this country having been educated in South Africa, but I can't help but feel this proposal doesn't bode well for the future when these primary school kids arrive in high school and are suddenly exposed to things they really should have learnt about in primary school.