ERIC Number: ED191560
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Universal Basic Skills: What Are They?
Woolner, Rosestelle B.
Basic skills lists, prepared by departments of education from five states within the United States, are examined in order to identify and define universal basic skills needed by teachers to instruct their pupils more effectively. Examination of these lists reveals that, although no single common definition of basic skills exists among the lists, three common threads can be seen: (1) the lists direct their primary attention to three major content areas -- reading, writing and mathematics; (2) they focus the teacher's attention on content; and (3) they evaluate achievement of a specific skill by measuring a child's knowledge of content. It is argued that in order to teach basic skills one must first identify and isolate these skills from content. While basic skills are defined as fundamental abilities that a child should acquire in order to use knowledge effectively, content is defined as the sum and substance of the essential knowledge contained in a field of study or in a subject matter area. Based on these definitions it is concluded that (1) basic skills are beginning points for the acquisition of additional abilities and knowledge and that regardless of nationality, school system, or ethnic background, basic skills are universal; and (2) only the content changes as the culture, the heritage, or the student's age changes. An appendix presents 40 basic skills from Tennessee's list, classified into six major categories: observing, classifying, sequencing, communicating, comprehending, and writing. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conceptual Analysis
Note: Paper presented at the World Assembly of the World Organization for Preschool Education (OMEP) (16th, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, July 28-August 2, 1980).