Learning Gaps


 I would like to address a commonly overlooked curriculum gap that usually occurs during the upper elementary to junior high years.  This is an integrated, meshed (through lesson plans) cohesion of all core subjects.  Look at it this way:  Is your student learning the connection between literature, sociology, and history?  Does he learn that most literature is written reflection of the politics, the philosophies, and the practices of that era?  Language and cultures are inseparably intertwined.  Does he see no purpose in studying history, but likes reading the literature of the same period?  History must also be linked with geography.  My son-in-law recently asked several of his employees what they knew about the Civil War.  He was shocked that they had no understanding that even the term “civil” can imply geographical and sociological boundaries.  Modern physics is the integrally explained relationship between math and science.  Is some connection being made early enough?  Hands on experiments are the best! As a student matures in his schooling, he should be acutely aware of the importance of English skills, especially reading, to all other skills.  Does he know how much skilled reading is involved in almost any business practice, or law, or sales?  Even the highly trained technical fields of math and science come with thick instruction and procedural manuals.  Many companies complain to schools that students graduate not being able to read instructions, comprehend procedures, or make connections between the written job description and their tasks at hand.  Nearly every job involves written evaluation at some point.  Is that skill being taught as a part of math, science, and history as well as English?  And don’t neglect foreign language.  Ask any scientist, especially a chemist, biologist, and of course, all kinds of doctors how much Latin they had to learn. The curriculum sequence I covered in my February, 2001 column is good insurance against this kind of learning gap.