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longgone's avatar

What should children learn in school?

Asked by longgone (16306points) May 24th, 2014

I say teach them to read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide. Then, let them at it and guide them only if they need help.

Would our world collapse if we stopped forcing children to study things they aren’t interested in? How would education change?

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13 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

It’s not how interested they are that matters, it’s how they will use it that matters. That said, I just don’t want to learn anything that I will forget after exams. I hate math, but I try to learn it since I know it will be helpful in real life. But how about programming? What the hell do I use those command for?

I think they should teach us something practical, no matter how boring it is. We learn and use, not forget.

ibstubro's avatar

Education should expose children to as many options as possible.

Why educate at all? I hated math, I still hate math, and I’m still challenged at it. So why did they bother teaching it to me?

Were I dyslexic, I’d have the same problem with language.

We’re doomed to replay History?

I agree that the curriculum might be a bit narrow right now, but I disagree that a curriculum is unnecessary.

jaytkay's avatar

The one thing lacking in education is critical thinking and how to understand the difference between somebody selling something and somebody merely explaining facts.

Crazydawg's avatar

Conflict resolution, how to balance a check book, how to apply for a job, all about politics and the importance of voting and how to invest.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Instead of just memorizing facts and learning by rote, children should be taught critical thinking skills, i.e. how to think for themselves.
Obviously not as easy as it sounds, and yet this is exactly what I was taught in high school (a jesuit run school).

JLeslie's avatar

To some extent, yes, children should be forced to study things they are not interested in. Kids are not good judges of what information they will need as adults. You only mentioned the basics, and that really is woefully deficient. I never took any science in college, everything I know regarding the sciences is from K-12 and then post high school my own personal interest in the subject. The foundation from K-12 is worthwhile. I always liked biology, anatomy, but I really did not enjoy botany or geology, but I find I sometimes actually pull on my knowledge from those subjects. I liked chemistry, but only took it for a quarter in Jr. High, and yet it did give me enough basics to understand a little about chemistry when someone is talking about it. I never would have selected to take chemistry on my own, I am glad it was put in front of me as a requirement. I hated history in school and I hated government, I am especially glad for the basics I learned about government, because as I grew older I care more about politics and government. History was a torture for me, I could have done without the last class I took in high school, I learned nothing,

I think K-12 should prepare people for what comes after whether it be college, a vocational school, or right into the adult working world. Even basics like sewing on a button, how to do laundry, basic cooking and baking, setting a table, using utensils, balancing a bank account, understanding your credit score, what you need to rent an apartment or buy a home, relationships.

The skills you listed are taken care of by 5th grade. I would have stopped taking English class in 7th grade if I could have in my 7th grade mind. That probably would not have been a good thing. I took woodworking and leather working as part of the rotation with Home Ec. I had no interest in either, but I wound up pulling on that knowledge now and then. One great thing about American education is that children usually are exposed to many different subject matters, they are forced to, and they might have to suffer through some of the ones they hate, but it is also how they discover things they like that they never would have guessed they were interested in.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Children generally come to school already speaking one language. I don’t think they need further instruction in their own language once they are able to use it effectively.
They need first, and on an ongoing basis, to learn how to learn. Even memorization can be fun if you know the tricks, but that sort of stuff is not taught in any school I know about.
Children should be taught logic, critical thinking skills, and methods of rationality. They should be taught rhetoric that they may learn to tell when someone is trying to manipulate them.
Once they have learned how to learn, how to figure out what to learn, and how to avoid learning bullshit, turn them loose. Of course, reaching this point might take longer than the statutory 12 years…

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Reading, writing, math and AMERICAN HISTORY!!

JLeslie's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius A bunch of children come to school speaking crappy English, some barely speak it at all.

@BeenThereSaidThat Why is American history so important? Which parts of it?

AshLeigh's avatar

I think the education we are required to obtain at this point is fine. They have several choices for electives, to pursue things they are interested in, and several core classes that they will need later in life.
I’m tired of that worn out excuse people always use when it comes to Math. “When will I need to use this in my life?” If you manage to go through life in such a way that you don’t have to do math, congratulations. You are unemployed, and have zero adult responsibilities.
They don’t complain in this way about other subjects. They’ll smile and nod when they learn what a Haiku is, and they definitely don’t need that in their “life.”

I think they need to teach us how to replace our birth certificates and social security cards. I had to do this recently, and it’s the one thing I wish they would have taught me how to do in school. Things would have been a lot easier.

Unbroken's avatar

I think its vital to teach them to love knowledge, love learning and how to do it.

That there is a wealth of knowledge beneath surface rote facts. How to be creative, and embrace it.

The basics on analyzing and logic.

whitenoise's avatar

I look for a school that teaches my kids a mix of knowledge, skills and mindset.

School should offer to them a safe and challenging environment in which they can prepare themselves best for a future in which they need to fend in an ever increasingly competitive world.

I look for a school to teach them academic skills and knowledge but also social skills. How to deal with conflict, set goals for one’s self and invest in reaching them.

I know (a lot of) people that come from Asian schools that focus solely on academic knowledge. A lot of these people (in general!!!!) are not as successful as one would expect from what they know. They often ‘lack’ social drive, creativity and a dare to be non-conformist.

I know (a lot) of kids that come from Western schools that think they will conquer the world and they lack any (academic / trade) skill set to help them do that.

I look for a school that will offer them a mix of that. A mindset that will make them want to explore and make the best of themselves and a skill set that will help them do that.

On top… I look at schools to install some decency and ethical awareness in the children under their care. I fear the day that society solely depends on parents to do that.

BTW I want my children to be world citizens, rather than Dutch. Their options should be wider and their sense of belonging and social empathy unhindered by National pride.

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