The new 3 R’s

I read an excellent post this morning called “The Secret to Learning is Unlearning” by Helen Blowers. There was so much to admire in this post. My favourite quote is:

“When I was a child the three R’s stood for reading, writing, and arithmetic. But today in many educational systems, the tenets of the new 3 R’s are rigor (provide challenging learning experiences in their classrooms) relevance (how learning applies to real life), and relationships (building learning connections with and for students).”

I thought this was such a good way to describe the way we should be thinking about the basic skills that our children need in the 21st Century. I think it would be a really good checklist for any teacher to consider as they examine their practice:

(1) RIGOR: Have there been real challenging learning experiences today.. problem solving, opportunities to experiment, investigate, discuss, debate?

(2) RELEVANCE: Can my students see the point of what they have looked at today.. were the connections with everyday life made clear to them? Was the outside world brought into the classroom.. did we react to their concerns, interests, problems? Fears about the future?

(3)  RELATIONSHIPS: Were opportunities provided for students to establish, continue or strengthen relationships with each other, with others in their school, city, country… the world?

I would welcome feedback on the “New 3 R’s” maybe you have your own opinion on what they might be in 2011.


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