Matthew Bivens

Founder, The Digital Marketing Guy

This conversation is closed.

What do you wish you had learned in school?

We all have things that we wish we were taught in school. From specific subject matter and ideas, to ways of framing and questioning the world around us -- where we are today has ties to what we learned back then, and because of this we all have an educational story that is unique to us.

I am really interested in hearing what others have to say about the topic, and I put together a website (with the help of a colleague) as a place to collect and share those stories with the world.

The inspiration for this site came from a TED Conversation that took place back in 2012 (, and because the idea and question was so rich, we wanted to give it a place to live on its own.

Visit the site to read the stories of others, and if you want to share a story of your own we would be thrilled!

Matthew Bivens

  • Jul 17 2013: 1. The value of thoroughness of understanding and importance of relating new material to the body of material representing your understanding of a subject.

    2. To exercise before I tried to study so that I was able to sit still and concentrate on my work.

    3. To slow down, read all the words, put the sentences together, and ask if I understood what the author was trying to convey with each paragraph I read and with each chapter I read.

    4. To say thank you to all my teachers.
  • Aug 14 2013: all the disciplines; basic knowledge and skills I am applying for my growth and evolution of life, are all a contribution of school to my life...The Mindfood Chef
  • Jul 30 2013: Art and literature. My country's education systems focus on only useful and skillful subjects, like English and Math. But I was a student who hated to solve complex math problem. Art and literature do really help for developing one's ego and identity, making life more flourish:)
  • Jul 19 2013: This sums up the response:
  • Jul 18 2013: Self respect.
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    Jul 17 2013: Grammar and Spanish grammar, real history, real economics, manners
  • Jul 17 2013: 1. Learning how to study properly.
    I was one of those people that simply weren't challenged in school, so when I started learning on an academic level, I found that I didn't know how to study properly, because it used to come so easily before.

    2. Learning to use a cost/benefit analysis as my primary decision making tool.
    I had to figure out that one on my own in later life. Teaching it to me at an early age would have saved me a lot of stupid things I did when I was younger.

    3. More specialized curriculum.
    Students should be allowed to specialize to a much greater extent. By the time I was in high school, I knew where my interest lay--teaching me outside of those was largely a waste of everyone's time. I wouldn't remember a thing past the test, and it came at the expense of things I found more to my liking (it helps that my interests are largely scientific, which allows practical application).
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    Jul 17 2013: 1. Human rights and the rights of the child. As an abused child, I saw the world as uncaring and specifically adults with power over me as people to hide from. It never occurred to me to tell anyone about it because nobody mentioned any kind of support. nobody saw the blood and bruises and scars and expressed sympathy and nobody ever said that it was wrong that it was done.

    When I was a teacher, I made a large poster of these two documents and posted it on the wall of the school. It was taken down before the kids got to school.

    2. Critical thinking: rapists, molesters, murderers, thieves, con artists and cheaters don't introduce themselves as such. But they're there. They're very good at talking their way to whatever they want. Children should be taught to separate words from acts, check facts, look for clues. This would especially have been useful to me before getting married.

    3. life skills:
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    Jul 17 2013: I wish I had learned certain life skills; like the importance of patience and persistence in the pursuit of all good things.
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    Jul 16 2013: I probably shared at the time of your earlier conversation that I never learned to do anything of a mechanical nature, anything like engineering design and execution. That is what I most would have liked to add to my lower grades education.

    I am glad that students now tend to get plenty of hands-on science opportunities. Science education has improved by leaps and bounds since my youth.