When choosing a university major or college/retraining program, Joseph Campbell suggested we deliberately using our talents and what we enjoy doing. So, when you hear someone say that we have “to get back to our basics,” what exactly does it mean?
What it means to me, for example, as a retired educator, is the traditional basics in the school curriculum — such as the inclusion of phonics instruction at the Grade 1 level and formal spelling up to at least Grade 5. Because, in my opinion, without those specific skills, children are not getting the whole of anything, let alone “whole language.”
To me, it also means: (1) having math drills, at least in the lower grades up to Grade 6, such as the old fashioned ten tests and times tables; and (2) allowing children to learn by doing — in other words to learn from their mistakes.
Put bluntly, we all make mistakes. We all fail at some thing or at some time. That is life. And, no amount of worrying about our self-esteem or trying to protect us from that reality (e.g., social promotion) is going to teach us how to deal with it. Because, I believe that if children are over-protected in the school system, life will be that much harder for them to deal with when they experience “mistakes” in the home and workplace.
Other people might think of the basics in an entirely different way. For example, as we have found out in the last couple of days regarding the banning of the national anthem at a N.B. school, some might say the basics should be compulsory Canadian history and geography courses in high school (which, by the way, are now compulsory for teaching training admissions) — and I would agree.
To still others, as I said at the start, getting back to the basics might mean changing our consumer driven and fast pace way of life — to living smaller and within our financial means. Yet, since the late 1950’s, and the “fly now pay later ad campaign” it takes most people until retirement age to downsize their housing and their lives.
What, for example, would life be like without personal credit? What would our lives be like if we actually had to save and pay cash for most of what we purchased? What would our society be like if everyone had to have a minimum of 25% down when they purchased their homes?
Things to think about.