Subjects That Should Be Taught In School

Life has pretty similar path for most of us, we are born, our parents take care of us, we get educated, we figure out a way to sustain ourselves, we form a family, we have our own kids, we grow old and then we die.

Most people spend 12 years or more in the educational system – assuming an 80 year average lifespan, that’s over 15% of your life. 

The goal of the entire thing should be to make you self-sufficient and a positive part of our socio-economic system.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do that good of a job. There are more irrelevant topics that are covered in school than the important, worthy ones. 

Let’s take a look at it in this article.

Mental Health

Mental illness is a BIG issue today. 

1 in 5 people is struggling with a form of mental issue. From ADHD to anxiety, to depression, you never learn about these in school. Mental health is so important and we are never taught how to take care of ourselves.

Despite standards of living going up, we see more and more successful people burning out or suffering from depression to a point where they just want to quit society.

At a minimum, here are some things that should be added into schools:
• Teaching the signs of depression
• How to use mindfulness and meditation (proven coping skills)
• Mental health and/or suicide hotline numbers posted
• Taking away the idea of mental illness being a taboo subject

Conversational skills

This is a topic that permeates every area and aspect of life. 

Conversing with coworkers, bosses, loved ones, dates, friends, spouses, neighbors, acquaintances, etc., all require certain social norms and boundaries to be observed—such as mutual respect and give-and-take—whether it’s face to face, by email, social media, and telephone.

The new generation has been called the silent generation, due to communicating overwhelmingly via technology, which is a medium that does not require actually speaking to anyone, such as texting, social media messages, email, and so on.

Knowing how to connect with others, being empathetic, when to speak and when to listen, is of great value in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. To learn the art of conversation is to actually do it, with peers and other varied and diverse people and hence, should have be included in every school’s curriculum.

Two white message balloons on blue background

Relationships

Relationships are an aspect of life that is very valuable, for this is the first step in falling in love, getting married, and starting a family–and the family is the foundation of society. 

It is, therefore, important to choose the right mate, know what to look for and what to avoid in a partner, and how to be a good partner yourself.

At a minimum, kids could learn how to identify toxic relationships, and foster real relationships. There are plenty of universal principles. 

Things like “respecting boundaries” could be useful, as an example. Who knows, maybe these lessons could prevent some of the sexual assault, which comes partially from wrong thinking about relationships in the first place.

Dating and relationships is a crucial part of living that it’s definitely going to be tricky to teach on a large scale. However, it should be included to some extent in schools or colleges. 

Some guidance from teachers could help avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that are bound to occur in dating and relationships.

Money Handling

The importance of handling money responsibly is obviously valuable. 

Accounting, finance, and business classes do explain accounting procedures, financing arrangements, and business structures, but do not focus much on personal finances, saving or investing. 

The job of these classes is to prepare students for working environments, and not necessarily for managing their own finances.

Furthermore, higher education doesn’t spend much time teaching students how to be self-employed. For the self-starter, knowledge of how to set up their company’s structure, manage the finances, pay taxes and reinvest into the company is crucial, and can mean the difference between failure and success.

First Aid

Accidents can happen at just about any time, and being equipped with the knowledge of first response is important to the health and potentially to the life of yourself and loved ones. In extreme events, this knowledge could mean the difference between life and death.

Often times the response time of medical professionals is too long, and can result in complications and worsening symptoms, which could be preventable by immediate help from a close individual.

Looking for appropriate warning signs for things like a concussion, frostbite, heat exhaustion, dehydration, not breathing, etc., would be very valuable and potentially life and limb saving knowledge.

Knowing how to apply CPR, clean and dress a wound, prevent infection, apply the Heimlich maneuver, apply a tourniquet, are just a few of the important aspects that could be taught to students in school and have very beneficial, life and limb saving consequences.

Hands wound first aid bandage

Landing a Job

The goal of education is primarily twofold: to educate for its own intrinsic reward of being knowledgeable about existence, and secondly to prepare students to engage the workforce and become self-sufficient, productive, contributing members of society.

As such, finding a job is crucial to the latter and, of course, for the sake of supporting oneself and family. 

Students would benefit from being taught how to successfully go about finding a job, applying for a job, building a resume and cover letter, the interview process, and understanding and negotiating employment contracts.

There could be mock interviews in which students go through a simulated interview process, learn what is beneficial and detrimental to their particular interview, and each student benefits from the others.

The value of Mistakes

The knowledge of how to deal with failure properly is being avoided, and thus not learned. 

Studies have shown that the use of “productive failure” is more effective than simple, direct instruction. While there aren’t many studies on how teachers respond to mistakes in the classroom, teachers often punish for mistakes that could’ve been used productively.

Many team sports have stopped taking scores so that there can be no winners or losers. 

However, there is no such atmosphere in general society that is sympathetic and concerned with an individual’s sense of self-esteem, and in the real world, substandard work results in negative consequences, such as losing one’s job

This practice has a tendency to make students mediocre, and fearful of taking risks.

Learning from failure teaches tenacity, resilience, character, and makes one tougher and more capable of navigating life’s inevitable ups and downs, and hence should be taught in school.

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