I was recently in a discussion about the focus on basics in education, this primarily being a focus on numeracy and literacy. To many this means a narrowing of the school curriculum to the point that the emphasis is almost entirely on these two areas. Does this mean that students will become more successful in the acquisition of numeracy and literacy skills? In my view it doesn't. A narrow focus will be more likely to lead to bored and disengaged students.
In his book, 'The Element', Sir Ken Robinson highlights the need for schools to have a broad curriculum, including the teaching of performing arts, as a means of fostering student achievement and engaging students. Sir Ken gives several examples of how students have thrived and achieved considerable success in a broad based environment.
I have only just started 'The Element'. Judging on the first few chapters I am sure that it will proved a lot more food for thought in regards to the way we teach our children.