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ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT: BACK TO BASICS EDUCATION

Pros and Cons of Back to Basics Education

Marissa Whitey

Arizona State University

Pros and Cons of Back to Basics Education

ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT: BACK TO BASICS EDUCATION

The term back to basics has been used in education history to describe a variety of learning

models for a variety of purposes. Generally speaking, back to basics education involves a sort

of “no nonsense” approach to education where the essential learning subjects - reading, writing,

and math - take center stage. The “nonsense” schools have tried to eliminate with this approach

is in art, music, physical education, sex education, etc. The back to basics movement also

includes a raised standard for discipline in order to accomplish these things.

Back to basics became a popular ideology in the 1970’s, and is growing in popularity again

more recently. “Concern over headlines about declining test scores, lack of discipline and rising

costs,” are likely some of the leading causes for the surges in the movement (Weiss 2005). In

some ways the movement is thought to have been a reaction to the hippie movement with the

movement’s approach to discipline being centered around a return to conservative morals

(Burner 1960). For this reason, the back to basics model has been a very political argument for

its existence.

Those arguing for some form of back to basics approach insist that this style will help

prepare students to enter the workforce after high school if they decide to. Reading, writing,

and math skills are considered the most essential tools that can be used in a wide array of jobs.

Advocates also argue that the disciplinary aspect of back to basics will ensure that teacher

authority is established and respected by students, creating a more productive learning

environment.

On the other hand, those who disagree with the principles of back to basics argue that it is

short-sighted, stifles creativity, and overlooks important topics such as the arts and physical

health (Merrow 2017). Without the limits of the back to basics approach, classrooms have more

freedom to explore a variety of topics and encourage the creative nature of students.

ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT: BACK TO BASICS EDUCATION

Bibliography

Merrow, J. (2017). In education, back to basics.Huffington Post.Retrieved from

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/in-education-back-to-basi_b_1199924

Weiss, J. (2005). Back to basics through the years. The Chicago Reporter. R

etrieved from

https://www.chicagoreporter.com/back-basics-through-years/

Cooper, J.M. (1972). Extra Articles. In Those who can teach(5). Retrieved from

http://college.cengage.com/education/ryan_cooper/twct/11e/prepare/ryan_twct_11e_extra_ch05

.html