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90% (or more) of what we learn in schools is NOT subject related

There is a tremendous focus on the quality of the subjects in schools, so children will learn more and thus education will improve. But I wonder if school isn't about learning maths or history, but maybe school is relevant to learn life skills. To learn how to develop your own way to look at the world and using skills that transcend school subjects. What do you think?

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    May 27 2013: "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum

    “These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

    1. Share everything.
    2. Play fair.
    3. Don't hit people.
    4. Put things back where you found them.
    5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
    6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
    7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
    8. Wash your hands before you eat.
    9. Flush.
    10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
    12. Take a nap every afternoon.
    13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
    14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
    15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
    16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”

    I live by these 16 commandments.
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    May 27 2013: I've been a high school teacher for 13 years and I see my main function as helping a pre-pubescent 11/12 year old make the great journey into adulthood. I teach them science along the way, but teaching them how the adult world works is just as important.
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      May 27 2013: It is interesting that so many people who are not teachers just assume teachers (uniquely) don't understand or attend to the values everyone else thinks are obviously of greatest merit.
  • May 28 2013: The learning revolution is driving towards more holistic models I believe, although there are resisters. Through enhanced teacher training programmes we should empower our future teachers to understand multiple intelligences and learning styles which could help us to include and inspire our students more. It seems to me, as a teacher, that the 'art' of education has been replaced by dry delivery of subjects which children are expected to regurgitate at exam time to show that they have been taught effectively. As Sir Ken points out in his creativity video, "many brillant people leave school thinking they´re not" and this is just because modern state education expects individuals to 'fit' the narrow bandwidth. My University training is as a Waldorf teacher and after working for many years in the UK, I am in Spain and the system here is even more restrictive than the UK. Drop-out rates are high and yet there is no public awareness of other ways of delivering education. Schools are only as good as the teachers they have and the teacher´s love for the children and their work is paramount. If exams and teacher´s paperwork are reduced there is more time to develop creative inspiring lessons for the students which in turn would lead to more interest from the students. Freedom for teachers to move their lessons into directions which appeal and engage their individual students should be encouraged. Schooling should also engage children in life-skills and be considered more as a journey in which the teachers travel with their students, guide them and learn from them while sharing what they know. Schooling should bring out the best in each individual child so that whatever their futures, they will be happy and continue feeling that learning about our world and all its wonders is an amazing thing. A balanced holistic education would develop both left and right hemispheres equally, see Jill Bolte Taylor for a hint. Predominantly left-brain education needs to change.
  • May 28 2013: When I was little, I remember my mother always saying how times were so different than when she was growing up. And I find myself saying that a lot now and I'm only in my late 20s. I completely agree that schools should take more of a proactive approach in regards to teaching children life skills. We no longer can rely on them learning these things at home. For many reasons, times are just different now.
    One being the internet. With social networking sites practically being inescapable, it is vital that we teach our kids how to deal with life and to embrace individuality. If the kids aren't learning life skills at home, or at school, they're left to learn it via facebook and twitter - or as I call them, the Home of Groupthink. Among the people who create online personas to make up for real life insecurities, there are kids who will never learn how to form an opinion of their own because they will be conditioned to always vote with the group for fear of public alienation or humiliation.
    Schools are the best places to counter this. Our kids need to learn how to cope and deal with life in different ways now. The traditional - "learn the hard way" approach to figuring life out is now gambling with kids lives.

    I think this is a great idea.
    • May 29 2013: It also seems important to me to learn like skills, because the Internet and the world around us changes rapidly and constantly. I would rather learn about dealing with the world, than learn about knowledge that was considered usefull 50 or more years ago. That way people can learn how to survive in an ever changing environment, with core skills, and the schools don't have to keep on teaching things that aren't relevant anymore.
  • May 28 2013: Lisanne, I couldn't agree more.

    Kids spend so much of their time at school, but so little time in self-exploration, which so naturally leads to essential traits like respect and empathy. Absolutely, core subjects are vital, but equally vital is the personal development of each individual! If we can't help our kids become responsible, independent, caring members of society in school, we certainly can't blame them in retrospect for not possessing these characteristics!

    Another great talk on this by Sir Ken Robinson, is: "How to Escape Education's Death Valley":
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html
  • May 27 2013: I think it depends on each person. People think that school or university will give them the right skills to be successful in life,but that's not true. You are the only one who can decide what to do in your life...School is only a place where you can develop new skills that will help you throughout your life. After all it's up to if you want to learn how to look at the world and school will not teach you that.
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    May 26 2013: I think that this is a well recognized idea, actually- that school is about developing basic strategies for further learning, skills in communication in writing and orally, the ability to gather and consider information, and so forth. Further, school includes the development of skills in organization and decision-making.

    Teacher training includes strategies for teaching these skills.
  • Jun 1 2013: There are certainly some social skills and life skills learning taking place in schools but it could be a lot better if, like thinking itself, the focus was on the explicit development of those skills in an environment where failure was possible without major humiliation. Right Binkley? Dr. Edward deBono would like to see thinking and operacy taught. There are organizations such as The Church of Scientology that actually have life skills courses.
    I know that there are things I learned that did not come from formal education but from things like television news casts, documentaries, children's television shows, radio, personal reading, personal exploration, experimentation and experience.
    If a school does have a course on a life skill such as communication, I would prefer that it not be mandatory and that it be structured along the lines proposed by Dr. Roger Schank.
  • May 29 2013: I completely agree. This touches on Geoffrey Canada's statement in his talk about how the school system is operating in the same way that hasn't worked for years. There needs to be a major revamp to update our schools to adapt to today's children and what they are going through. Our kids are not the same yet the school system has never changed. Even incremental steps to adjust would make the biggest differences in the long-run.
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    May 29 2013: Lisanne, I think there is a need for history and maths and science etc etc. If we do not know the basics we will not be equipped with the tools to explore the world and make relevance of the teaching we obtained in school. The basics should set up a student to do this.

    The other point is what are relevant life skills? This is different depending on how you see your future, and yet it is only a possible future. Things happen and the future you thought you had may no longer be there. By being educated and skilled allows one to adjust and change course.
  • May 28 2013: School does fail at giving these essential life skills. especially, and most importantly, the ability to decide and judge actions/situations based upon consequences & morality. so many kids are fed up with the schools' strict and restricted system that they give up on it and hence go forth ignorantly exploring the world; only to stumble and drift towards ill advised situations. but thats just it, no body advised them in the first place.
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    May 27 2013: Only 90%...

    'Why I Hate School But Love Education||Spoken Word'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_ZmM7zPLyI
  • May 27 2013: I'm so glad that people are supporting my point of view! I work as a school psychologist and encounter teachers that don't understand this every day. It makes me sad that those teachers don't see how important they are.
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      May 27 2013: At our faculty we talk about this all day but then we go to library and 'learn' formulas and 30 years old theorems which we've to memorize exam day :(
  • May 27 2013: There is so much political going on in society and everthing else - It amazes me that kids get as much as they do out of education.