Worry not – this post cannot harm you, as it is too late unless you are a teenager or less. If you are, I believe current curriculum as taught in most institutions is ill-prioritized and indeed is a waste of most of your time. I’ll shortly present my alternative.
I also appreciate parents and family, neighborhood, peer groups, social-demographics, and other factors play a vital role. But I want to focus on the subjects I believe should be taught at schools prior to college / university level.
Some of those are visited occasionally, but not deeply enough. Some are pretty trivial to implement. Some are better suited for tuition in a class environment, and some are less. Overall these are life skills – that everyone should have in the 21 century. I know some of the more lucky ones amongst us may seek private tuitions, and some may look at this as yet another paternalistic agenda setting; and that’s OK.
The aim is to cover subjects that (a) can be taught in schools (b) do not demand exaggerated resources, (c) but do demand some so they benefit those that study at school and may not otherwise have the opportunity, and (d) are beneficial to those that learn it.
What about the grades? WTF is my answer to that.
Here are my top 10 , aimed mainly at the 14-18 bracket, representing the things I would have liked to learn earlier, and would be glad if my kids learn it as well:
- Communication – Listening, being emphatic, anger management, rephrasing when not understood, handling conflicts – situations and scenarios, as part of drama classes, as group sessions – I don’t care. To everyone, not only arty farty ones.
- Personal Finance – Credit card management, meaning of loans and interest, mortgage handling, value of saving, basic markets (currencies, stocks, bonds). I would go beyond that to advanced class in 17-18.
- Massage – And other ways to touch and physically pleasure others
- Computer and Internet Skills – Search, E-Mail, (Free) Office, Media Editing, even eBay – Especially to those deprived of home chances (and yes I know many know it but they do not represent all equally)
- Blind Typewriting – Separate from above as it is virtually essential for any job nowadays
- Consumerism – Price comparison, understanding the intent of commercials, understanding what brands want to do to you to allow you to choose if you want to pay premium to “belong”, logical purchase (Nobel prize winner Kahneman showed people are willing to drive 15 min to buy a pen that cost 10$ elsewhere instead of 25$, but will rarely do the same when facing similar decision buying a suit costing 1000$ when there is 15 min alternative for 985$)
- Well-being and Ergonomics – I mean standing correctly, sitting, walking classes (can be merged to Sports) up to Ti-Chi and meditation
- Organisation – Time management, basic task and project management, prioritization, delegation, pros and cons
- Creativity – Yes to all, many studies shows it can be taught, and there are plenty of tools, games, exercises and techniques to teach and have fun
- Philosophy – A Must in my humble opinion, best tool to allow us to choose how to lead our lives.
Beyond this bracket, I would add:
- Languages (two in addition to mother tongue, ages 6-12) when the human brain is most susceptible to learning this
- Love Making (college / university) – I know there are sex classes in schools, who are notorious in being useless. I aim for courtship, understanding the other gender / partner needs, various forms of the art of sexually pleasing your partner
- Parenthood (in university level or separated) – For everyone: responsibilities, basic handling of a child and its needs, how 2 become 3 changes quite a lot.
Lastly, I would emphasize cooking, movie and music, theater, museums and exhibitions, culture, camping and hitchhiking – as mostly done (but reduced due to budget going to the places it shouldn’t go).
Feel free if you have more subjects, that you personally:
- Happy if someone would teach that to you that, or
- Want your children to learn it