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What was not taught in school that you realize, REALLY should have been? (Why?)

For me, things like Financial Literacy, Entrepreurism, Cooking and Sex Ed (and the Psychology of Relationships), were not taught. And I realize that I have had to spend quite a few years now bumbling through life with the rest of my friends, rather clueless. Yet, I'd always score high on calculus quizzes, in labelling body parts and I am an excellent speller. Oh! And I am really confident! : /

I feel I have useless superpowers in some areas and not enough power in others where I super need it. (Perhaps my ignorance is ripe for being picked on by predators in society...) Most of the things that I wish I learned, improved the quality of my life and mind once I did learn them.

What is your deal?

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  • Sep 21 2012: I love the conversation, but think the question itself is somewhat biased, by assuming that schools job is to teach us, when I believe it should be there to prepare us. And I think the best way to prepare someone to live in this world is to get them excited about learning. With information and knowledge available to all on the internet, the answers are out there, the trick is to get children to start asking the questions.

    As Plutarch said, "The mind is not a vat to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."

    By lighting kids imaginations, we can get them to take responsibility for their futures. And although curiosity may not be something that can be taught, it can certainly be encouraged and nourished.

    By showing children the excitement of learning, what it can do for you, how much fun it is, etc, we can provide the children with the skills needed to take responsibility for their own learning.

    The trick is to get our teachers to be entertainers and mentors, rather than autocratic dictators ruling over their own nation of 30+ students.


    On the hand of specific knowledge though, I believe our schools should guide students towards skills that allow them to solve any problems (within reason) that may arise in their life. In the 21st century this includes programming, finances, relationships, as well as the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic and science.

    In the 22nd century that may involve piloting spaceships and using teleporters responsibly, but by nurturing curiosity and allowing the children to have some say in what they will learn I think we can trust that they will attempt to learn the skills most pertinent to their lives and their futures without too many government mandates on a general curricula.

    And I'll end with my favorite idea from Douglas Adams, that the trick is to ask the right questions, while I trust that the answers will logically follow and fall into place.
    • Sep 22 2012: Teaching people how to ask the right questions, and how to approach problems from different perspectives in order to find innovative solutions is the thing most CEOs say they wish schools would teach children. Luckily, we actually do have a great teacher for this. Videogames. Videogames are tremendously important educational tools. And I don't mean edutainment crapware. I mean the actual videogames that kids already like to play. The very act of playing a videogame of any kind is an exercise in asking the right questions in order to suss out the details and dynamics of an arbitrary system. In every one, you have to try many approaches, see what works and what doesn't, try new things to try to improve, etc. You get instant feedback, you can try things which seem stupid without humiliation or condescension, you learn how to min-max optimize often complex systems. No course in school teaches system dynamics, but almost every job in existence today involves exactly this. Either discovering how to navigate in an information system or else creating a new information system for other people to navigate.

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