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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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    Oct 1 2012: I think your list of subjects (finance, entrepreneurship, phys ed and health) is spot on!

    I (half) jokingly share with my students that "health" class and driver's ed are the two most important classes they'll take in high school. What makes this humorous is that they are (usually) taught by the *least* inspired teachers in the school. There are exceptions, however - I've seen an *excellent* and inspired heath teacher (Joan Stear at Glen Este High School, for instance) work hard to innovate health instruction.

    What makes these courses very difficult to teach are their adolescent attitudes toward these subjects. The more immediate the topic (especially as it pertains to risk-taking) the more defensive teens are towards it. It's as though they have to defend their mental "limitations" to risk-aversion. Viewed this way, it's easy to understand a teen's eye-rolling on subjects like safe-sex and defensive driving.

    I find it shocking how little adolescent student know about finance. Part of this stems from their inability to see themselves retiring. For a group that thinks they'll "live forever", they have very little idea on *how* they'll finance that option.

    Financial literacy, however, is an area ripe for education because it is one of the few domains that:
    1) teen find inherently interesting
    2) adults can demonstrate a clear mastery
    This gives teachers a powerful - though small - window of opportunity to to have a relevant dialogue with their students.

    One exercise I use when starting a unit on finance is to take a student's picture and digitally "age" it:

    I then have them paste a copy on their folder and tell them:
    "This is *you* in 50 years."
    "This is the person who you're working for."
    "This is the person who you're saving for."

    Maybe because of this (more than in any class I've taught) students have told me "This class has changed the way I think about the world."
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      Oct 1 2012: Amazing! Is there a way we can learn more about what you teach in that class? I assume you teach high school?

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