Education is way more than sitting in a classroom. Unfortunately, it is often the same old story. Go to school. Read, write, learn math, history, science, and the searing pain of social rejection. Go home. Forget everything you learned. While having a specific course for each of these ‘subjects’ might be a long way off for schools, integrating these into your existing classrooms need not be. And you never know – both students and teachers might find themselves a little more engaged. Long story short, these skills are learned inside and outside of schools – we get that – but they aren’t actual subject areas that you can focus on.
In fact, the idea of trying to learn some real-world skills is what Modern Lessons should be all about. For instance, I think it won’t be a bad idea if subjects like GMAT and aptitude test skills can be included in the general studies being offered in our tertiary institutions. Would you say a 1st class graduate student of an art course, for example, is a failure because s/he couldn’t perform well in a GMAT aptitude test? Since aptitude tests have become basis for selecting candidates for job placement, it would make lots of sense to have them incorporated into our curriculum.
Making films is an excellent vehicle of self-expression. Not everyone is cut out for blogging or playing an instrument, and the world has more than enough bad poetry as it is. Films have become a part of our everyday lives, from big-budget blockbusters to amusing no-budget clips on YouTube. Teaching students to make more effective videos is not only good for keeping students interested in their lessons, for once, but it also means that there will be more high-quality content available in the future. The entire world will thank you for that.
At around age 24, students will graduate from depending on other people to meet their needs, and be thrust out into the real world to fend for themselves. Some of them will delay entry into the work force by obtaining further certification, but the end result is the same – they need to be able to find a job. Rather than allowing hordes of students to list their Playstation high scores on their resumes and wear pyjamas to their job interviews, it would be in everyone’s best interest if students learned the ins and outs of convincing someone to hire you while still at school.
Yes, math is taught in schools. No, that kind of math isn’t doing anyone any practical good. You will never need to do coordinate geometry while paying your taxes, and you’ll never have to work with radians at the grocery store. Unless kids are fortunate enough to have been brought up in a rare household that isn’t bad at literally everything pertaining to money, they’re going to have a rough time once they’ve been cast out of the academic womb. What percentage of their monthly budget should go to rent? For kids who’ve never faced greater financial responsibility than paying for their own video games, these are the great mysteries of life – and they shouldn’t have to be.
Despite popular belief, people are not born with perfect social skills; they learn them. Some children are graced with interactive families and plenty of cheek-pinching relatives to teach them good manners early on. Other children are allowed to spend most of their time alone, slowly reverting to their evolutionary roots. Even the most well-adjusted child is going to have some tricky situations to deal with in life. How do you cope with a co-worker who steals credit for your ideas? What are you supposed to do when you want to break off a relationship with someone who hasn’t really done anything wrong? How do you deal with a roommate who won’t pay his share of the rent on time and keeps getting into trouble? A few classes on social skills could really help students to navigate these unavoidable situations.
From oil changes to shattered iDevice screens, there are plenty of quick fixes in life that you should know how to do yourself. Sure, a computer technician will always be there, happily taking your Naira notes in exchange for running a can of compressed air over your computer fan and evicting the family of mice living underneath the motherboard, but you can save a lot of time and money by doing it yourself. Everything you buy will break at some point, and many people don’t have the skills needed to un-break them. Sure, you can tell kids to struggle through with an instructional video, but wouldn’t it be better to learn it properly?
What are other skills you feel should be taught in our schools which are presently not?