TED Conversations

David Barnett

British Council


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What subjects do you think you should be taught at school nowadays?

I think a basic knowledge of plumbing and house and car maintenance would be essential, as well as lessons in the cost of living.


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  • Sep 9 2011: I think parenting skills need to be taught at school. Nearly all students will become parents. To help close the achievement gap we need to step in before the children are born with skilled parents who are always their children's first teachers.
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      Sep 11 2011: I couldn't agree more, it seems it's the missing part in teaching citizenship. our schools make great effort to get the children to become positive and active members of society but carefully steer clear of teaching parenting skills, probably for fear of triggering family reactions. However, the nuclear family today, sometimes down to single parent family seem to find it difficult to take that in charge any longer, maybe for lack of time. School was meant to bring the part of education that all parents would not so that everyone could have the same access to knowledge and the mastering of it. That's the original goal curriculum deciders should really keep in mind.
    • Sep 11 2011: I disagree. I don't think parenting skills are something you can teach nor standardize. Children learn differently and parenting skills are a philosophy. Parents learn how to be parents through experiences they have while growing up and make decisions on how they think its best to be a parent based on that. We live in a society that is in need of creativity. You cannot teach a parent to be a certain way and expect kids to end up differently.
      • Sep 11 2011: I am not suggesting to standardize the teaching of parenting. I believe we can teach skills and strategies based on a variety of theories and philosophies leaving plenty of room for critical thinking and individual decision making. We currently teach teaching skills and techniques in college education programs and still teachers must choose the right technique at the right time for the right student. But new parents often do not have wonderful experiences of being parented so they have nothing to draw on. That lack of experience leaves them with a lack of options when they become parents. This is seen when child abuse begets child abuse and illiteracy begets illiteracy. I would like us to turn this vicious cycle into a virtual cycle.

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