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marinelife's avatar

If you could add something to school curriculums not taught today, what would it be and why?

Asked by marinelife (62485points) July 1st, 2008

I wish that schools would teach conflict resolution and constructive communication. These were things that I had to learn myself as an adult, but that have positive application in everyday life in personal relationships, at the workplace, everywhere. I have other ideas too. Do you think about our education system?

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27 Answers

reed's avatar

A course on personal finance would be helpful since I run into people all the time, of all ages, that have such little knowledge in this area.

jlm11f's avatar

GQ Marina. i think all schools (in USA at least) need to have a mandatory Nutrition class. And teaching more languages at a younger age is also needed. i still regret that i didn’t get the opportunity to learn more languages in school like my Swiss cousins did.

jcs007's avatar

Schools should teach us how to study. Seriously, I went to a college preparatory high school, and let me tell you this: I was not prepared for college. Until college, you learn how to memorize facts and then regurgitate them on tests and quizzes. While that may be the learning style of some, it definitely wasn’t mine.

College expects you to memorize the facts, but you can’t just puke them out on exams and expect an A in the class. You have to know how to apply the information, and that is something that took me two years in college to figure out how to do….

Right now, I’m still in college. But if I could make a wager on what the working world will be like, then I’d bet on your ability to change and adapt to your career. You spend 22 years of your life playing catch-up with all of this information. So come career time, you apply it.

tinyfaery's avatar

Critical Media Studies. The media influences our daily lives, and I think all people should know how to decipher the messages being sent via advertisement, entertainment, and other media.

vectorul's avatar

How not to be a liberal!!!!!

marinelife's avatar

@reed Yes, I wish had had that course!

@PnL I agree Language study might help with our geocentrism.

@jcs007 I think you are right. I was never taught the skill of studying either.

@tinyfaery Boy, do we need that!

Sometimes I have been disappointed if a question I thought was interesting did not spark good ideas or good discussion. I figure I must not have worded it well. This one I am really happy with! These are all great ideas.

marinelife's avatar

@vectorul What? The school system made you a liberal? How strange. Why post something if you don’t take the discussion seriously? You are not adding anything with a crack like that. Try thinking.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I would improve the teaching of the current curriculums before adding anything fancy.

marinelife's avatar

Interesting point Lightlyseared, but how? For example, I think we have an insane emphasis on basic skill tests that has even crept into teacher rewards so that teachers are not really teaching, just holding study drills for meaningless tests. I think we would be much better off kindling a lifelong interest in learning and teaching how to study and how to apply knowledge.

shilolo's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly with lightlyseared (and Bill Gates) regarding our education system in general being defunct. We have to do a far better job of teaching science and math for the US to be competitive in the future (as the recent anti-evolution threads have demonstrated, as well).

The biggest engines of our economy have been scientific and technological innovations, but very soon, we will be surpassed by India and China at the rate they produce scientists and engineers. People complain bitterly about outsourcing in the US (for cheaper labor), but another reason lots of companies outsource is that there are far more technologically savvy, eager workers in India and China than in the US.

flameboi's avatar

something like, how to be happy with your decisions, I mean, kids are forced to follow certain kind of traditions, like “your dad is a lawyer/doctor/whaterver, so, you should think about following his path” for example, and most kids do that, even though they are not happy with such things and tend to fail, or become mediocre professionals, kids need character, a stronger personality, so they can keep up with their ideas and follow what they really love

marinelife's avatar

@shilolo I agree about science and math. I think part of that is because of the basic skills tests. I also took advanced science courses as early as junior high school, and i don’t see those available much now. Still, I think that makes for an interesting different question such as how would you improve our current school system? What would you do per this thread to add to our system? For example, would you strengthen science curriculum at the elementary school level? Science Fairs there were where my lifelong interest was kindled? Would you have more study of famous scientists’ or medical doctors’ lives?

shrubbery's avatar

Well I assumed that learning about the planets and solar system and such was mandatory, but I remember there was a girl in my year 8 class who did not know that the Earth revolved, or that it orbited the sun, or that the moon orbited the Earth. I didn’t know if it was just her school or she was stupid (she was actually, at the information night for year 9 camp she asked where she would be able to plug in her hair straightener -we were going to be camping, in the bush…) but I noticed that many of my friends could not tell you what a star was or the order of the planets or things like that, and I don’t actually remember if I learnt this at my previous primary school or at home. I guess it must have been at home (thanks mum and dad) if so many other people have no idea. So in summary, I would add basic astronomy to the primary school curriculum.

vectorul's avatar

Marina, Read the question then read my answer. My answer is to the question not to your liberal ass.
Liberals are the reason this country is falling apart.
Being liberal as a child is good even fantastic, but when you grow up Conservitive is how the country stays together. Hold on to the conservitive values and the US will hold together through tough time let the liberals take over and we fall apart.

shilolo's avatar

@Vectorul. Obviously, growing up Conservitive (sic) has really helped your writing skills. And, in case you have forgotten, the past 7 years have seen the US economy and worldwide standing decimated by a conservative administration.

As another history lesson, FDR (a liberal democrat) held the country together through the aftermath of the Depression and WWII while JFK (a liberal democrat) maintained strong leadership during the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis. I doubt anyone confuses GWB for JFK or FDR.

jlm11f's avatar

@ vectorul – your poorly constructed post has convinced me! convservitivism is totally the way to go ! thanks for showing me the way. if only the teachers were more like you, the world would be a better place.

shilolo's avatar

@Marina. I don’t have any education expertise, so this is just my gestalt. I think science and math education need to be started as early as possible. Children need to be exposed to the scientific method repeatedly, and made to feel like science is fun, rather than a chore. So, I would start with simple experiments that are hands on, fun and unique. Children by their nature are inquisitive, and relish the opportunity to test ideas. I think there should be less focus on rote memorization, and more Socratic learning. These ideas are probably unlikely to latch on, since I imagine they require much more time investment than rote lectures. But then, admittedly, I am not a teacher. I would love to hear from any teachers on Fluther.

syz's avatar

@shililo, I agree that schools need to teach children how to think rather than how to memorize. (Yes, learning does involve plenty of rote memorization, but not to the exclusion of all else!)

My understanding of the dilema of our current education system is that there needs to be accountability and standards – but standardized testing does not work. Children are merely taught the narrow material required to pass those tests.

Unfortunately, I do not have the immediate-results-at-no-cost-to-us-guarenteed-to-work answer.

jballou's avatar

Whoever said personal finances, I second that one! I had a mostly great school experience and learned plenty of useful things, but one thing I REALLY wish I learned was about personal finances and credit management.

jlm11f's avatar

@ jballou – my high school had a mandatory career connections class where we had to budget living on our own with a given salary and take into account all expenses such as insurance, car, food etc.

NVOldGuy's avatar

A question of what should be taught always brings out how bad things are. I’m not sure but I think most schools do the job but I’m not sure about school boards and parents. It seems as if people who go on and on about how bad things are don’t even know what grade the kid is in. What else to teach? I would like to see more of the arts but they are the first things cut to support sports. The career thing is great. My choice would be to expose students to hobbies along with careers. A good hobby can last a life time, be educational, build friendships and encourage learning.

marinelife's avatar

@NVOldGuy I totally agree about the arts, both visual and music.

jballou's avatar

@PnL – That’s rad, I wish I had that type of class in my school. We learned how to balance a checkbook, but that’s about it. And when’s the last time anybody had to balance a checkbook?

KimberlyLD's avatar

I have taught, briefly in the public schools, and this was my ongoing observation. A diversity of disciplines, science, math, the arts and sports should be part of a balanced curriculum. Many schools lack in many or all of these areas. However, the bigger issue is what all of these disciplines teach children and young adults. Responsibility, commitment, balance, boundaries, social norms, and reliability. These traits are applicable within the social confines of an educational setting and within the broader aspects of their families and neighborhoods. Children thrive with rules, boundaries and a well balanced education can reinforce these ideas and expand on them. For example, if you do not do your homework you will fail that component of this class, if you fail that you may not pass the course, you may have to repeat a year and your friends will go on ahead. If you practice your sport/art/skill you may become proficient enough to win/succeed/profit from the experience. Education, whatever form it takes should have consequences good and bad. A balance curriculum is a good place to start, with all possible genres of life available to the very young who are still discovering their talents, natural ability and desires. However, responsibility, reliability, repercussions, and boundaries are lasting lessons that transcend and specific lesson, and stay with children for a lifetime. Restoring these ideals to our schools is only the first step to making our education system to internationally competitive.

arnbev959's avatar

How about:


-Philosophy (all kinds, all throughout public education, discussion-based)

-Math: Not just how to solve equations, but also the nature of mathematics. What is a number? Was maths created or discovered? Talking about the nature of the number system instead of just saying ‘here it is, these are the rules.’

-Puzzle Solving: There should actually be classes dedicated to getting kids to bend their minds a little bit.

-Current Events

Woodshop: Not even offered in my school. There is no reason why practical classes like this should be phased out of schools, or emphasized less than computer science or business classes. There is still a real, concrete world.

And get rid of testing, period.

shrubbery's avatar

Completely agree with you Pete, can’t believe I didn’t think of philosophy, that’s a definite must have! Also especially like the puzzle solving idea.
Woodwork was offered at my old school, but I never got a chance to try it because I moved schools before I got to the grade it started.
And urgh, I couldn’t agree with you more about the testing- I’m studying for exams right now

marinelife's avatar

@PtP ans shrub You guys are a lot closer to school than I am in time, Why philosophy? I would not have suspected that. I never got into philosophy until college.

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