Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Competences instead of knowledge according to Curriculum 21

“Mum, I have an English task. I have to answer 6 questions about an English text, each with a tick, available for selection is: Yes, no, and I do not know.” Completely surprised I noticed that my son had not even read the text in English. He tries directly to answer the 6 questions, I therefore ask him: “Don’t you have to read the text before you answer the questions?” My son: “No, I’ve learned it this way at school. I just have to see if the question occurs in the text. If so, I have to tick ‘yes’, if the question does not appear in the text, I must tick ‘I do not know’. If the question occurs in the text in the negative, I have to answer ‘no’.” So my son has done his English task in no time, without actually having read, understood and translated the text. All solutions were already in the text of the task, he only had to use his reading competence, the knowhow in English was not necessary here. In Early English taught at the third grade of Primary School, grammar and learning words play a minor role, anyway. It is quite sufficient if the pupil can order a hamburger in English in the holidays (action competence). Whether the student makes grammatical mistakes, does not matter, the child did get what it wanted and the teaching of English as well, thus in the “St. Galler Tagblatt” from 27.9.2013 “Wörtli fürs Real Life”. To ensure that our children achieve such a level of English, we spend millions of taxpayers’ money and when you consider how much teaching time is spent on what is missing in the timetable of the basic subjects such as mathematics and German, this result is more than embarrassing! The opinion to spoil the children’s joy of learning with grammar and learning words is wrong. Quite the contrary, the children see through the humbug, they no longer feel taken seriously and so they don’t take school seriously anymore. The children want to be challenged and taken seriously. The competence-based learning according to Curriculum 21 is a step in the wrong direction.
Dr med Gabriella Hunziker,
Mühlrüti

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