Once when we were little, we went to school…
Most of us at some time for a certain period of our younger life have been to school. We have been a part of our education system within our own areas as a pupil.
My own views on education are that every child in the world deserves a decent one. We all need to find our own way in life, earn a living and look after ourselves and our families.
A good education can be important in ensuring we are qualified to do jobs that require knowledge and skills in certain areas.
School is great. School is brilliant!
However, I have doubts about how much school equips young people with life skills, which essentially will serve us for the rest of our lives.
To explore further, let’s for a moment use an example of a hypothetical young women called Jenny who is in her mid-twenties.
She has a Bachelors Degree in Business Studies, and a Masters Degree in Marketing. She has a good job as a marketing consultant for a growing company. She is living in a nice apartment.
On the face of it, she has everything a young person her age might dream of.
However, on the inside things are different.
She is self-conscious about the way she looks. She is lacking confidence in her ability to succeed. She is suffering low self-esteem and is feeling depressed.
This isn’t really something new. She was a quiet girl when she was young and wasn’t very assertive when at school.
However, she now needs help.
How many of you can relate to this girl? I know I can.
Why school can be a place where we learn how to deal with this
Its obvious Jenny is suffering from emotional problems.
My biggest question is what could have her time at school done for her, to equip her for the ups and downs of life?
How much do schools teach confidence building?
How much do schools teach that shy kid who sits in the corner to speak up?
I don’t want to be mistaken here. I’m sure there are tens of thousands of teachers in the world, who try and help those kids who lack confidence. I’m talking about a more generalised view here.
My point is schools could teach some of the skills, which would have helped people like Jenny later on life.
My extra school curriculum
1. Teach kids that grades are important but so is their self-esteem
Getting good grades is a big part of going to school. Kids need to get grades in order to get into good high schools, colleges and then universities.
However, schools can teach youngsters they are still somebody if they don’t get certain grades. A child’s self-esteem is a given, good grades or no good grades. Schools can emphasis a type of teaching where kids are encouraged to appreciate their selves as valuable young human beings.
2. How to be confident
When we become adults and decide to improve our lives, we learn ways of increasing our confidence, such as doing exactly those activities that we are fearful and hesitant to do. So why cannot, simple lessons be given to young kids at school, especially those who avoid or dread certain activities?
If they could be taught the more they do the activity the easier it will become, then surely this must help?
Or am I missing something here?
3. Basic skills in how the thought-feeling-behaviour cycle works
There is a basic cognitive model at a top level that governs what we experience. Usually events happen; we then have thoughts about those events which cause us to have to feelings, and then feelings cause us to act in certain ways.
By the time we’re adults we’ve created loads of these habitual reaction cycles, which can cause us all kinds of problems. It’s only when we consciously bring to light what is happening in these cycles, do we learn ways of breaking them.
Now, if kids in a very simple way were taught, this is how humans generally react to things and act, and how it can also lead us to having some problems, and then shown some ways of choosing to respond in different ways, then surely this can be a good thing.
4. Use of humour – on ourselves
When I was kid, I would do anything to not be laughed at. How about if kids were taught to laugh at themselves sometimes?
What would be great is if they could learn to laugh off mistakes, and appreciate it isn’t a big deal if they didn’t get it right the first time. As long as they made an effort then they can always try again.
5. Real happiness comes from within
With schools being geared for getting good grades, in order to then get good jobs, make money and buy nice things, there is a certain implication in all this. It suggests happiness will come when we have succeeded ‘externally’ and have amassed wealth. However, as many adults come to realise, nothing further could be from the truth.
Kids could be taught that although it is excellent to have aspirations and visions for a good life, working on those things which make us worry like fearful activities, will increase their happiness.
So to would learning to appreciate all that each young person already has, as would working on improving on their capabilities, rather than perfecting them.
I know this post is over-simplified. And of course kids being kids, their brains are still not mature.
However, I refuse to believe that such things cannot be taught in some way to younger people. So my message to schools is: Please teach kids more life skills.
My friends, it’s over to you.
How useful was your school at teaching you life skills? What else would you add to the extra school curriculum? Please share your valuable views and comments in the box below.
Photo Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery’s photostream