• Sarah M.

Things You Still Might Need To Learn

Education is knowledge acquired in formal learning environments, such as school. Intelligence is that actual ability to learn, to acquire, assimilate, and use [new] knowledge.

Our current model of education is outdated and in some cases ineffective.

We live in a world where access to knowledge and information is everywhere.

The value of memorizing information to regurgitate it, pass tests and get good grades has declined.

Kids growing up today will have jobs we can't even imagine. But the current model of education is preparing them for a future that does not exist.


If the purpose of education is to turn us into fully functional, happy and healthy adults, and it is failing us on numerous levels.


If you ask anyone the most valuable skills they learned in school, they will probably mention non-academic examples.

While skills like language, mathematics and science are undoubtedly crucial to our development, skills like critical thinking, socializing and empathy, among others, will probably be more common answers.


Obviously, when I rule the world - which should be any day now, waiting to hear back from some people - we won’t have these problems. I will craft a curriculum of the perfect life knowledge to impart upon the populace. And you will all thank me and give offerings of milk and honey and relaxing foot massages and maybe even sacrifice a King Julien-lemur in my name.


But before I get carried away fantasizing, let’s get real. What are the classes we should have had in school, but didn’t?


In this post I wanted to highlight skills that I feel should be in schools TODAY and that are actually relevant in the real world.


Teamwork & People Skills

Nobody wants a lazy person dragging their team down. However, this is a part of the real life that you will come across regularly.

Group assignments will almost certainly provide you with some insight into how to motivate and encourage others, how to fit into a team, and how to understand people’s emotions, moods, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Listening Skills – learning how to listen to others, actually hear what they say, and for people to be able to explain it in their own words.

  • Communication Skills – If you have something to say, it won’t make a difference, unless you can communicate it. People need to learn how to get their point across the right way.

  • Negotiation Skills – Negotiations don’t just happen in used car lots. We negotiate in all areas of our lives.


The Value of Mistakes

As adults we (hopefully) realize the benefits of mistakes. You may have even heard the phrase “fail forward”. Changing our perspective on mistakes is a great gift we can give our children.


Personal Finance

When I talk to people about what they wished they had been taught in school - this one comes up above all else. Because at the end of the day, this is something we use every day.

  • HOW TO BUDGET; Learning budgeting is simply a matter of tracking expenses, deciding how much to spend in each area of life, and sticking to it. It’s an easy concept to teach in schools.

  • HOW COMPOUND INTEREST WORKS; We need to understand how compound interest works for and against us.

  • HOW TO SAVE MONEY; We all know that if we wait and save what’s “left at the end of the month,” there will never be anything left.

  • HOW TO INVEST; At a minimum, understanding our options for investing. We need to know about stocks, mutual funds, and real estate before a salesman tries to explain these concepts to us.

  • TAXATION; Most people I know still struggle with this subject. Knowing the basics on how it works and where it goes is crucial information that should be taught as soon as possible.

Personal Strengths

Learning how to identify your personal strengths and how to motivate yourself will remain important throughout your entire life.

Knowing your strengths can help find what it is that you want to do in life.


Valuing yourself

Valuing yourself is partially a matter of personal development, and partially a matter of choice. In order to value yourself, you need to feel you are worth valuing.

How we think about ourselves is as much a matter of learning as anything else.


Resourcefulness

When you’re in a sticky situation that you need to get out of, whether at work or at home, having an understanding of how things work or how to get help is something you’ll undoubtedly use in real life.


Basic First Aid & Emergencies

Training people at a young age how to handle and react in emergency situations could literally save lives.

Sometimes emergencies are inevitable and talking and learning about these things, like the first thing to do in an emergency situation, or any highly stressful situation, is to immediately pay attention to your breathing and start calming yourself down. Wouldn't this be beneficial for our children to know these things?


Problem Solving

The school system typically teaches a right and wrong answer for everything. What if we focused more on solving problems, and less on being right?

If a student finds a solution to a problem - even if they came up with a different solution or came to it by a different way - they could still be right.


Entrepreneurship

I understand that not everyone can be a entrepreneur but not everyone wants to be one. And I know, the big argument here is that they don’t teach entrepreneurship because it’s not something that can be taught (I call bull crap).

Even though the notion is that “most entrepreneurs usually just drop out of school” I still think that there are many entrepreneurial concepts that are teachable.


To Think Differently

Having an open mind is key to learning new skills and taking on new and foreign ideas. Being taught different ways to think and apply critical thinking to different concepts will be as important during your studies as throughout your entire life.

If you can think creatively, you’re going to be far more adaptable and open to new ways of working and completing tasks, whether they are work-related or not.


Foster Creativity

I get it. Most schools have art class and some kids might also have the choice to join a band program. And there are a few good writing teachers out there who truly understand the importance of creativity. But unfortunately that’s not the standard. And what about creativity in math and science?

The school system tends to talk about creativity like it’s a special “extra” thing that kids do occasionally, which has led to a separation of the creative classes (e.g. art, band, etc.) and the academic classes (e.g. math, science, etc.).

We would do well to get rid of that distinction.

Einstein never held that distinction. Most of our greatest thinkers did so through the lens of creativity, not academia.



I’m not trying to restructure the school system. I’m simply trying to bring awareness to some issues we might be missing out on.

And of course these skills shouldn't be on the shoulders of our teachers alone but all adults around the children we love and care about. Leading by example is one of our greatest teachers, let us remember that as we move forward in our lives.

 

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