ERIC Number: ED196032
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Whose Basics? Whose Competencies?
Among the advocates of the "Back to Basics" trend there seems to be little concensus as to what exactly constitutes the "basics." It is clear, however, that what most people mean by "basics" is mechanical skills, punctuation, spelling and grammar. The task of teachers of language is to foster an understanding of how language can be and has been used both to inspire and to enslave minds, and to lead students, to their own command of language in logic, writing, speaking, and evaluating the world in which they live. To guide students to a fair amount of mastery of the "basic" language skills would leave little time for other activites that may prepare them for mature, productive, and responsible citizenship. The trouble with minimum competency programs is that they deal only with those areas which can be measured by exam. They require spending a great deal of time and energy to find out what students cannot do, instead of what they can do. Rather than mechanical competencies, students should be taught essential competencies. They should be able to express themselves logically, analyze their successes and failures, apply the ideas and lessons of literature to their own lives, and protect themselves from the propaganda of advertizers and politicians. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Back to Basics
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New York State English Council (30th, Syracuse, NY, October 17-19, 1980).