TED Conversations

Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences


This conversation is closed.

What's one thing you wish you had learned in school?

Maybe it's not your traditional math, science, social studies, or arts and humanities class--maybe it's something different. If you could learn one lesson in school, what would it be?

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    Nov 3 2011: Okay, this may sound crazy...but I wish I had more sex ed. For one thing I think that this is an extremely pressing concern for controlling population growth worldwide but on another note the sexual education provided by schools (if provided at all) is very clinical and sex-negative. Sexual education tends to cover reproduction and disease prevention but contains little to no information about sexual orientation, sexual relationships or sexual skill.

    I am still recovering from the baggage associated with having had sex without having developed the knowledge appropriate to engage in sexual relationships yet, and I didn't become sexually active until I was 22: this isn't a matter of age but of education. I distinctly remember reading a single vague line in my grade 12 biology text book that said that the clitoris was for "vaginal lubrication" which is not only misleading since it makes the clitoris sound like a gland, but is a ridiculous understatement. No wonder 10% of women will never experience an orgasm (70% of us don't actually know where the clitoris is)! Can you imagine a man not being able to locate his penis? I think that this is a huge problem, its extraordinarily easy to fix, and the benefits would be pretty staggering. Who doesn't want women to want more sex?

    Sexual relationships are incredibly important for personal happiness. I think that a sexually satisfied population would be less likely to engage in violence. And I personally would have liked to have learned more in school and less through trail and error.
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      Nov 3 2011: Very thoughtful post. You make some great points. And I loved the line "Who doesn't want women to want more sex?" Who could be against that?

      I was fortunate growing up that I had an older brother (7 years age difference) who had a class in college that used McCary's Human Sexuality. When I was 15 or so I read that book more than any of my own textbooks, for sure!
    • Nov 3 2011: Information concerning sexuality is indeed important. However, that would include information on the moral aspects of sexuality and on not treating others as sexual objects. Although it may seem outmoded and unrealistic to many, an argument can be made that sexual relations should be confined to marriage. Think of all the problems nvolved in sexual activity outside of marriage, e.g., broken relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual addiction, human trafficking, etc.
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        Nov 3 2011: I have a different opinion about this, but I think that married people deserve good sex too ;)
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        Nov 3 2011: Some married couples find sex outside of their marriage can relight their own relationships. Perhaps marriage had the right intention but since humans have been trying and failing to stick to its limitations (at least those imposed in our western society) for thousands of years, it might be time to admit that it goes against our biology and perhaps the vows could do with a rethink?
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          Nov 3 2011: Oliver, I've been thinking along these same lines for a while now. I tried to post a conversation on this topic itself yesterday but it was flagged and removed...perhaps some traditions are so ingrained in our culture that even the TED community doesn't want to discuss them?
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      Nov 3 2011: Sex eduction at my school was a joke. The teacher giving the class seemed embarrassed by it all. One poor girl asked a question and was told by the teacher not to ask such rude questions!?!
      I think you're so right Letitia, about the fact that more emphasis is put on the biological side of sex than the pleasure aspect. I had an awful experience a few years ago - sat in front of the TV with my girlfriend-at-the-time, and the word 'clitoris' was said by an actress on the screen. "I don't know what a clitoris is" said her Mother - looking directly at me - "Do you know Richard"? I still shudder at that memory! :-0
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        Nov 4 2011: Oh my goodness Richard, that's exactly what I'm talking about! Its inexcusable that some remaining sense of Victoria era manners are keeping us from understanding basic human anatomy!

        The purpose of teaching/learning is so that each generation doesn't have to re-invent the wheel. Why on earth are we acting like barbarians and forcing our children to figure the whole process out for themselves?

        This is just a theory, but I think that people might actually be less promiscuous if they engaged in better sex. I think that people partly go through multiple partners in a search for sexual satisfaction . (Pardon me, let me change that to why women might go through multiple partners-for men I agree its the chase)
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          Nov 7 2011: Interesting theory Letitia. You could be right there. Although personally I think multiple partners is more to do with people getting a buzz from the chase and a 'more equals better' mindset. The irony is that when you find someone you really connect with and love, the sex is always far better.

          We have a problem in the UK with high teenage pregnancy, so I believe sex education is clearly not working in that area.

          Another problem is that porn is completely accessible to anyone now, whatever their age, via the internet. And both men and women are getting a completely warped sense of sex.

          So, I believe there should be two sets of sex education. The first, at an early age, should be a biology type lesson, with a strong leaning towards how easy it is to get pregnant (maybe throw in a few videos of births just so it hits home). Then, later on (maybe at 'legal age') there could be a 'part 2' lesson, explaining whats what, and how to do it really well.
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      Nov 7 2011: As a teacher of Sex Ed. i consider it one of the most (if not the most) important things i teach.

      Its not about teaching how its done or the biology of it, its talking about the social side of it. How to be safe. Why we should talk more about it. Why its not some sordid thing to be giggled about or covered up. How its not dirty and rude. How to understand how other people feel.....

      ... just the real life stuff.
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        Nov 8 2011: I absolutely agree Rob. A lot of people would argue that this is a topic that can be self-taught but when you consider that the most widely available source of sexual information is pornography, you get as Richard mentioned, a pretty warped idea of normal sexuality, plus no information about the social consequences and relationships associated.

        I'm glad to see that there still are sex ed teachers around since the program was cut altogether in schools in my area.
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          Nov 14 2011: My wife and I were both in our late twenties when we fell in love, courted, and married. Now we are in our late sixties. Along the way, she’s been kissed by a couple envious friends, and I watched in amazement. As far as I could tell, she did not kiss them, and that’s what she said when we discussed it. In the second case, she said his act was drunken abuse but not worthy of a scene.

          I have considered extramarital relations a couple times, but thought, “I could not hide the act from myself and therefore from my wife, and I do not want that interference in our relationship.”

          A few years ago, Cajun and Zydeco dancing taught us a polite, light, kiss on the lips on first greeting dance friends. After a couple years experience and not so light kisses, I decided to drop out.

          It was then that I thought through an order of displays of familiarity I was comfortable with: a handshake in most circumstances; a mutual light hug; a mutual touch of the cheeks; a kiss on the cheek; rarely, a hearty hug; a light kiss when expected from past practice but no new ones. All higher familiarity and intimacies are reserved for my wife. (Guidelines such as this should be proposed to adolescents.)

          Here’s the reason for my concern and earnestness. Every love-making has been better than before. I do not want anything to interfere with or terminate that experience.

          I wish every young man was taught my preference: Once you have found the one you love, make love with no one else. “Having sex,” especially with the one you love, is out of the question!
    • Nov 7 2011: Letitia : Excellant Post !!! ... Same To You Rob ...
    • Nov 8 2011: I can't agree with you more.To teacher,the sex education is shy to speak out.This phenomenon is moer serious in China.
    • Nov 9 2011: And a related topic - reproduction. How many people understand the nuances of menstruation? Many women in their 30s don't; lots of doctors don't. ...and men, I think they're mostly lost. Knowing some of the details would help so many women and partners just understand and work with their monthly and fertility issues.
  • Hiro aki

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    Nov 2 2011: I feel my school (Indian Edu system) told me- learn this, learn that ( science,math,etc).. but it didnt tell me "how to learn"..
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      Nov 2 2011: same here. Germany.
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      Nov 2 2011: Same here. USA.
    • Nov 2 2011: Yes thats the truth about indian studies. i am in 11th grade (comerce) stream. in India if the child is not goood in studies teachers dont give a Sh*t about them. If you are not good in studies that doesnt mean You are not a good human being.
    • Nov 2 2011: Same here, UK. In fact I am currently in my Junior Honours year at Uni, and I was just saying to my friends the other day - 'so, does anyone actually know what 'studying' actually entails? What're we supposed to DO with lecture notes?'
    • Nov 2 2011: I do agree you all say that, and you also know that it isn’t always teachers’ fault. What would you say about a home-work that is copied from a site? It is easy nowadays to do any homework or to write a thesis or an essay, all you do, is going to Google and find what you need and this doesn’t help you to know a thing. I am not against you because it is easy to do and move on because you got a lot of subject to study.

      We used to go to library to get a lot of books to read in order to write an essay. who does it nowadays? (maybe only a few) What we have now is, RICH ANSWERS and POOR QUESTIONS. thanks to search machines.

      And many teachers aren’t trained the way you expect them to be. They know the subject; this means they can teach that it more than enough for government to hire them. Some of them are simply doing their job to get some salary, and some of them are really into teaching.
      Now, I can recommend you to read some materials of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). It will help you to know how human’s brain functions and once you know it you will know how to use your brain to learn. As you have noticed already the NLP is all about the HOW.
      When I ask a teacher: “Can you teach a student how to learn what you want to teach them?” Unfortunately they don’t have the answer, because they are not trained so. I teach teachers how to teach and students how to learn; introducing them NLP techniques for education.
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        Nov 2 2011: Do you have a web site?

        Tried to get you on Facebook but there were several with your name. Which one is you? You can find me on Facebook too. There's only one of me:-)
        • Nov 3 2011: Hi Carima, ... Sorry to say, but I haven't got an website yet. I am looking forward to get one. I use facebook as well, if you want to contact me, please feel free to do so, and don't hesitate.
      • Nov 4 2011: Thanks a lot Edwin.. am reading abt NLP now.. You are a good teacher =) You are right, its not teachers mistake - to be honest its my own mistake. i haven't asked these questions " How" "Why".. to myself..
        i studied in an ordinary school in India, which is over whelmed by its population , government striving to provide education to all > in this case - only aim of a student is to do something which makes her to get herself( n her family) well in society - with this attitude, the tendency of asking questioned was almost nil. it depends on various factor like school, country, economy, family, society, environment, etc - but no matter how big the factors are, if AN INDIVIDUAL DETERMINES, HE CAN CHANGE ANYTHING FOR BETTER =) Questions create the Change indeed =)
        atleast i asked these questions now in my masters(yeah, too late :P), and found the answer - "my purpose" (better late than never =)
        @ Daniel Reeves: Am sorry my post is perhaps not relevant to ur question. just wanted to reply and thank a good teacher =)
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      Nov 2 2011: Fortunately, my school taught us a great deal of everything, including how to study thanks to the bilingual system.
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      Nov 2 2011: Same here. France
    • Nov 2 2011: Same here in Canada.
    • Nov 4 2011: Maybe that's just something you have to do as you grow up. We should strve for it in school, but no one can turn the light bulb (in your head) on for you.
      • Nov 4 2011: offcourse, bulb is on now =) nxt aim is to light everywhere on everyone =)
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    Nov 2 2011: One thing that i wish I learned in school was that it was alright to fail at things. It is in failure that we do our greatest learning and I really wish I learned that earlier on in my life then I did. I always wanted to be the top or at least get good grades in English, Math and Science to make my parents proud but unfortunately was always a B student which seemed like a failure to me. I didn't learn that by failing or not doing as well as the smartest kids I had other gifts that they didn't have. Such as leadership skills, creativity and listening skills that are all important in todays world but of course are not taught as valuable skills in school or were not when I was in school.

    So I wish I learned that failure is ok. and not the end of the world when I was in school. We can see that many of Ted speakers and leaders all failed at sometime in their life maybe even in school.

    Hope that makes sense.

    • Nov 2 2011: I wholly agree with you Matthew. Not only do I wish I was given the, 'OK' to fail or make a mistake (over-achiever and an A/B student), but I would have liked for that to be a teacher's motto. Too much is stressed on the 'end game' as opposed to the learning process, which can be an exciting, self-realization journey for every student. Much of our individual learning processes get interrupted by the 'rushing through' of a new concept in class or ignored because teachers have to concentrate on preparing students for the State exams so they (teachers) can keep their jobs. Teachers would have a guaranteed 9-12hr day, if they had to make sure each of there students were grasping a new Math, Science, Language or Arts subject.
      I heard that not succeeding is only failure, if you don't try again. I've also heard that if you don't succeed the first, second, third...etc. time, you know at least three (etcetera) ways how something doesn't work.
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        Nov 2 2011: Thanks Loretta for sharing your thoughts, I like your last thought about learning from what doesn't work. It might be the more uncomfortable way to learn but you definitely get to know what works and what doesn't..

        I once met a women that said she like to do new things in a really spectacular way because if what she is trying is a success it will be really spectacular but if she fails she thought the failure should be just as spectacular. I thought it was a courageous way of doing things.
    • Nov 2 2011: You are so, so right.

      I would have liked to be trained more on perseverance than success.

      There is more in life than school.
  • Nov 3 2011: 1. That how and what you think builds your personality.
    2. You should think critically and creatively not skeptically and randomly.
    3. That intuition is just as good as deliberate and analytical thinking.
    4. That science and the arts are not just two different fields, but two cooperating fields.
    5. Education is not just about getting money. The same goes with getting a job.
    6. That awareness to local and international events actually gives you a view that the world is only one big system with billions of people working together and not just for himself.
    7. Every decision you make actually makes makes you who you are.
    8. School is not industry. Grades don't necessarily predict success.
    9. Event math problems have multiple solutions, more so with real life problems.
    10. I'm not the only person on earth and thus my belief system isn't the only right one. There are dozens and keeping an open mind actually helps you learn.
    11. The key to life is flow not control. (as I see it)
    12. The brain has two hemispheres, use them both, and don't suppress your emotions. It's wiser to understand them.

    And that my friends is just a part of my reflection paper. LOL.
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    Nov 2 2011: On a comic note, http://theoatmeal.com/comics/senior_year.

    But seriously, I think the lesson I wish we all had learned is something on the lines of "really achieving your childhood dreams" as Randy Pausch put it or "how to live before you die" by Steve Jobs.

    I see a lot of my old colleagues unsatisfied with what they are doing and what they are studying because they made their choice based on what rankings and the economy and their friends and parents and teachers and the media said and forgot to listen to the most important actor of all - themselves.

    So all in all, the lesson I wish everyone learns and understands before leaving highschool is "do what you love to do".
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    Nov 2 2011: - rhetoric
    - psychology
    - social dynamics
    - self improvement
    - personal finances
    - economics
    - time management
    • Nov 2 2011: Personal finances with concentration on how those credit cards can eat you alive if you aren't careful!! I could count, add subtract, multiply and divide...I took Algebra for goodness sake, but I couldn't make change when I graduated high school and got my first job! A class with real life situations about household budgeting, spending, the value of saving for immediate and long term goals and how to do it...That would have been PRICELESS!!
    • Nov 2 2011: Personal finances that also tell you about how banking works - like the fact that it doesn't matter if you deposit a check at 8am and write one at noon, they'll debit the check you wrote before they credit your deposit.

      Also: how to read fine print, the fact that anyone can negotiate any contract (including that credit card contract with your bank), how to compare prices on things, alternatives to buying stuff (our school was all about consumer culture) and just how big a financial burden kids are. Then I might have appreciated my parents a little more!
      • Nov 2 2011: It is true, in a consumer economy and culture we should know better the value of money.

        Know better what we are working for. It is a must to know how to plan our financial life, savings, kids, retirement...

        They tell us just what to learn to get a good job, work for others and consume irrationally.
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    Nov 2 2011: I really wish I'd learned more about finances in school. Math is great, but it's irrelevant to my immediate life in a tangible way for me. Finances are relevant to everyone no matter what's going on in life. I know a lot of people that lack financial literary and I think it contributes to our current economic status, and widening its gaps at an accelerated pace that could be on track to being irreversible.

    Soo...I wish my school had taught me more about financial literacy.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned [how] to "fail."
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      Nov 2 2011: The 'everyone deserves a trophy' mindset in the modern public school systems is a great detriment to this accord. Excellence should be distinguished from failure, and one promoted while the latter admonished. The fragility of a child's momentary emotion is not as valuable as the long term damage of the 'A for effort' mentality. Of course tact and discretion should be applied accordingly, but a blue ribbon for participation is quite confusing to me.
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      Nov 2 2011: This is something I struggled with a lot as a young adult. Thanks to my awesome mentors I'm growing out of it. I know that school contributed to my fear of failure and risks!
  • Nov 27 2011: I wish they had taught me life skills in school. I remember being angry when I graduated from high school because real life after high school did not resemble the last 13 years I had experienced. I wish I were taught life principles and how important they would be in coping with life. I wish I were taught how to handle money and what to do with it when I did have money. I wish I had been taught about male-female relationships and what was a good relationship and what was not a good relationship. Why was I not taught about self esteem and how important that is to a girl. I wish someone told me that the friends in high school would no longer be in my life. It was a traumatic shift for me. My parents had a moderate income and we had enough food and 'things' but no one told me that when I got on my own I would not have those things...ie TV, stereo, home, furniture, etc. I felt so sheltered. I felt I was tricked. How was it that I was not prepared for real life? Perhaps the class could be called "REAL LIFE AFTER GRADUATION". Or something like that.
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      Nov 27 2011: I totally AGREE, I mean schools should atleast make things a little realistic...
    • Nov 29 2011: Sadly, I think this is a parenting issue. There are limits to what formal education can teach you. I'm sorry it was traumatic for you. Perhaps you can prepare your own children better for the real world some day and not expect the school system to do it....
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    Nov 10 2011: That I was being brainwashed
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      Nov 14 2011: For me, the worst was that I was born in sin. Oh for a little Thomas Paine to help me get through that.
    • Nov 15 2011: Right On!! Excellent comment brian!!
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I had been given more opportunities to learn about myself and what I am passionate about through experiential, interpersonal, and reflective processes. Then the support to go deeper into those passions.

    I wish I had been given real chances to create work that mattered--to me, to my community, to the planet.
  • Nov 2 2011: Mindfulness and meditation
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    Nov 2 2011: The art of positive thinking, why money isn't everything and how image doesn't mean anything - no matter how much the high street wants you to believe otherwise. However these probably aren't practical subjects.
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      Nov 2 2011: Geoff I agree that a positive mentality is vital, but let us not forget that we are forging the nations future here. If we built an entire society along these guidelines that money isn't everything and image means nothing, it could have a drastic affect.
      I think what needs to be encouraged is not a devaluation of the goal of having material wealth, but an emphasize on how other things in life have great value, such as family, togetherness, humanism, and charity.
      It is possible to enrich the quality of a person by invigorating these values, without negative reinforcement toward 'getting rich.'
      • Nov 2 2011: You're damn right it could have a drastic affect!! An entire nation of emotionally balanced young people, seeking nothing than to further advance the welfare and happiness of those around them..
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          Nov 3 2011: Morison, wouldn't that be terrible. Can you imagine?!
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        Nov 3 2011: While I see your point Timothy, I disagree somewhat. We both agree that positive thinking would be beneficial. However money isn't everything, and I'm not sure that you are arguing otherwise but I can't see an attitude such as this having a drastically negative effect on our planet as a whole (not just the nation). If we were the only nation to adopt such an attitude about money then I can see where you are coming from with that point.
        In response to your view on image, it is at least very often misleading. OK, maybe there is something to be said for image however I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
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          Nov 3 2011: This is only an argument of negative reinforcement vs. positive reinforcement. a similar example would be the argument about self image in advertisement. Many people feel that magazines of beautiful women give young ladies image association issues by making them feel that they need to starve themselves to be attractive.
          In retaliation to this form of thinking 'big is beautiful' has become somewhat of a catch slogan amongst those that are essentially promoting a lifestyle that devalues fitness and healthy eating. This is not a successful attitude.

          In the same perspective, why attack the idea that having money and being financially successful 'isn't everything?' That sort of negativity towards people who make goals of financial freedom and achieve them has no positive support. INSTEAD we can simply encourage the proper values of unity and togetherness.
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          Nov 4 2011: I am sorry that i am not speak eglish as my mother tongue,so i cannot express my perspective correctly.But actually,i agree with you.
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        Nov 3 2011: I absolutely agree with you.Maybe we can feel that money is not that necessary in our life after our various exprience,but we cannot instill this idea by schooling.People should realise this idea in person.If told him directly, he would think money is nothing instead of not regard money as crucial.
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          Nov 4 2011: Right I think there has been some confusion here. I never intended to "attack" the idea that money isn't everything. Does the statement "money isn't everything" really sound like "negativity" to you? I'm just repeating something that anyone who has lived life until old age will more than likely tell you anyway. If you disagree with that statement then we certainly have very different views about life and what we hope to achieve throughout its duration. However I'm still not sure you do disagree, or whether you thought I was attacking the idea of having monetary life goals.

          To conclude, I absolutely agree with what you previously said:
          "I think what needs to be encouraged is not a devaluation of the goal of having material wealth, but an emphasize on how other things in life have great value, such as family, togetherness, humanism, and charity."
      • Nov 4 2011: There is a huge gulf between the exec who dreams of nothing but the next dollar, and someone living an ascetic life in the woods. Maybe we could hope to teach an appreciation for what money is: a tool. Like all tools, it's put to use to accomplish things (like, food every day and a warm bed). It allows you to save, to protect yourself from troubles over time. In putting down single-mindedness, lets not pretend that money isn't damn useful, especially when there's none around...

        I wonder if a lot of people now think that w live in a zero-sum economy, that somehow, by doing with less, they enhance someone else's ability to have more. Perhaps we should teach economics. Whether you're a Keynesian or a laizze-faire-ist or think it's all bunk, it would be something if we could have a more knowledgeable citizenry in the discussion of national and world economic policies.
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    Nov 29 2011: I wish I learned that failure is okay.
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    . . 100+

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    Nov 9 2011: Piano + I wish that school systems would evolve globally to include a three-year requirement of mandatory exchange-student-semesters in other countries.This way children would get a lot of essential life skills and become the global citizens that they need to be to function constructively in the emerging world.
    A really amazing side effect would happen, spontaneous world peace!!
    • Nov 10 2011: I absolutely love the idea of a mandatory exchange program. Not only would it force students to learn other languages and be immersed in other cultures, but as a result they would become global citizens, more aware of different ways of life and cultures, and create lasting relationships between different countries of the world. Travel is never a bad thing.
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        . . 100+

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        Nov 10 2011: Thank you very much Eric - Our world is yearning for a swirl !!
        I know that few families have participated in international exchange programs before. High school students spending a year abroad, enriches not only the lives of that student but families in both countries.We have all the tools to do it now, airplanes, computers, internet connections, etc. We just need this to be everyone's experience and right away within one generation, the transformation can happen. Everyone would enjoy the tremendous wealth of connectivity, humanity and global vantage point that only a few have had the privilege of so far.
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    Nov 5 2011: I wish they had taught us to survive in the big bad world out there.. I wish they had made us ready, mentally, to face the difficulties later on in life. More emphasis on soft skills, practical-learning, self-development and self-education rather than just textbook-to-test based education.

    I wish they had taught us to solve life's equations rather than algebra's.
  • Kay Neo

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    Nov 3 2011: I wish they taught critical thinking skills. So many students come out of school thinking logical fallacies are valid arguments.
  • Nov 2 2011: A broader, more comprehensive world history. I didn't know what the Ottoman Empire was until after I'd graduated from college. I had no idea that Iran was once known as Persia. My 10th grade world history textbook spent exactly two pages on the history of India, but two chapters on the history of the UK.
    • Nov 2 2011: My husband and I shared a horror about the fact that we knew virtually nothing about any Asian country, despite being college graduates. We proceeded to read up on the fascinating history of the other side of the world and became a little angry at having been cheated out of some fascinating stuff when we were younger.
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      Nov 3 2011: Now aday, the textbook, at least in U.S., is becoming more diverse with its content. It spends a better portion of its content on eastern hemisphere although it still lacks a great portion of Asian, African, Latin and American history. I was told that the middle age was a dark age, and I assumed that it meant internationally, howeverm I found out that when the west was in the dark, the Islamic countries flourished in trade, science, math, and arts.It is a shame that we are not taught what they have discovered and how it influenced the rest of the world. I also believe that we lack in-depth learning when it comes to history. I think all high schools should really consider reinforcing students to take at least one elective on history each year.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish we were taught how to think critically and look beyond the limits the teacher or anyone else sets.
  • Nov 2 2011: Proper sex ed. I was told "the only safe sex is abstinence" and learned horror stories about STIs. I wish I had not been told that my body and sexuality were things to be ashamed of at such a young age. I think that learning about sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity from an objective point of view is so important!
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      Nov 2 2011: This is interesting, sex-ed is taught well before the age of consent. (Well it is in Europe) around 14 I think. It makes sense kids want to know where they come from. So perhaps there is a bias because of the age issue. Perhaps schools should re-visit sex-ed around 17 or so.
      • Nov 2 2011: Until recently I've lived in Canada, where the age of consent is 16, and sex ed is taught around 14-15. I can see why some people think if sex ed is taught before that age is an issue, but only as far as sexual acts between two people are concerned. I think teaching kids that it's not a bad thing to be attracted to someone that's the same sex as you, and that you won't go to hell for touching yourself (which many people start doing at a very young age), is a very important thing. To be perfectly honest too, not everyone waits until they're the age of consent before having sex, and at that age, many teens might not have the sense to worry about contraception and STIs.
    • Nov 2 2011: Wow...that would take changing/challenging so many social norms, cultural norms, religious dogma! Overcoming fear and ignorance would also be on the menu and oh, yeah...that would mean re-educating the whole population!!!
      All kidding aside...I sincerely couldn't agree with you more, Katie.
  • Nov 2 2011: How banks actually work and what happens with your account, as well as paying bills and general other ways of understanding how to keep money and utilities arranged properly.
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      Nov 2 2011: Banks don't work in the US... THAT'S FOR SURE!
      • Nov 2 2011: At least they aren't taking lessons from Greece! Do they have life lessons in the US curriculum?
  • Nov 2 2011: Personally, I wish I'd learned more about cultivating and nourishing creativity. So much of what's taught is based on traditional, narrow views of what success and making it look like. Teaching children to listen to their creative energies and teaching them how valuable their creativity is in all aspects of life, both personally and professionally, I think would make for happier adults.
    • Nov 3 2011: Carla – completely agree. The happiest adults I know are the ones who take their self-worth from anywhere but their work they must do to pay the bills. Children need to be shown much more how to point their creative energies towards the things they are interested in, and this usually has nothing to do with finding a job or making money.
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    Nov 15 2011: I would have loved to learn how to cook. It seems like something people should know how to do.
    • Nov 15 2011: Hi Max, did you take a basic home economic class? No worries, the basics are there, I suck at cooking! I have the basics, tho!! Soo, if you would have loved to learn how to cook. Then learn!! Yea and with respect to the love of the culinary!! :)
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        Nov 17 2011: I took 7 years of home economics but a good basic cookbook like the Joy of cooking will teach you everything you need to know. Bon appetite!
        • Nov 18 2011: Hi Debra! Who said that? "Bon appetite" ?? There was a chef, that made it famous? (brain freeze) :)
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        Nov 18 2011: Was it Julia Child?
        • Nov 18 2011: Yes and Thank You!! ( man, total brain freeze!) Cooking is wonderful! It also helps the soul. :)
  • Nov 13 2011: I would have liked to learn to sing without being shy. . .so. .I do believe that schools can kill creativity. . .learning should be exciting not a series of hoops to jump through
    • Nov 14 2011: Do you sing? Yes, schools kill your creativity. Sooo, do you sing? :) :)
      • Nov 14 2011: Only when I'm by myself . . .I have a very loud voice
        • Nov 15 2011: Hi Alleen, last time I heard, loud voices make good singers! I tried out for choir in Junior High. I was told, by a TEACHER, that I sounded like a child. (umm, I was) Soo, then I tried politics. Ran for class Secretary. A TEACHER told me, my hand writing was "sloppy" So schools and their employee's kill creativity! My gosh, hadn't thought of that, in years! I could have been a singing, politician!! I am not a big fan of school teachers. My apologies! I did not mean to rant. My question to you, do you love singing? Then sing!! :)
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      Nov 17 2011: Aileen, one of my twins almost died at birth and they told me he would probably be deaf. By a lovely sort of turn of events that I think of as a miracle, he is not. But I can never forget about how lucky I was then because he is practically tone deaf and he sings waaaaaaaay off key. He came to me once at about the age of 5 and asked if it were true that he could not sing as his siblings had told him. I asked him if he liked to sing. He said it was fun. Then I told him that no one had the right to make him stop feeling that joy. To this day he sings more than my others (and his twin actually has the voice of an angel) but no one makes me smile when I hear them more than he does. It is a good thing that guitars or flutes do not get to tell drums that they are not making music! Sing on! Sing on!
      • Dec 1 2011: That is beautiful. You are a wonderful mother!
        I am a 15+yr professional musician and I tell ya, people all throughout my life have tried to make me feel incredibly guilty about what I do (as if being too broke to pay bills isn't guilt-ridden enough). You are correct, no one has the right to do that. They should be teaching how to defend against this in school, but unfortunately most teachers are the perpetrators.
    • Dec 2 2011: just sing don't think of any thing, just sing by your heart of love don't care the eyes only do not disturb them.
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    Nov 4 2011: This video should be shown in every school in the world in the start of each school day.

    3:32 minutes a day, and our future will be glorious.

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      . . 100+

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      Nov 4 2011: Excellent contribution emm !!

      "Focus education on the building of character to deal more kindly with one another"
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        Nov 4 2011: Thank you (great quote, btw :)
  • Nov 3 2011: Emotional intelligence and people skills rank right up there with critical thinking skills.
    • Nov 3 2011: So true. If I may, I would add cultural intelligence to this list.
  • Nov 2 2011: 1) Understanding money, money management, stock market, growing wealth/assets.
    2) Relationship rights and responsibilities- what is a healthy or unhealthy relationship? how to have healthy relationships.
    3) Assertive skills, self confidence and self esteem. Knowing the difference between submissiveness, assertiveness and aggressiveness.
    4) stress management
    5) Media influence, capitalism, marx theory, consumerism.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I learned the way or was given an opportunity to realize early on how different discplines are intertwined and interconnected by the way of life, which would have encouraged me to seek my own definition of truth in an early adolescence. For instance, I wish I knew how or became interested to analyze the human behavior in different ancient civilizations from a perspective of physics or a math equation early on. This would have made me extremely interested in trying to understand universe in the perpective of an extremely religious person and an athiest, and how it is all interconnected in how we live our daily lives. I came upon this interest after I graduated college, and what a disappointment I felt for myself. I wish I knew a little sooner.
    • Nov 2 2011: Its never to late !
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        Nov 2 2011: I agree. That is why I am teaching my children the lesson I wish I had. As much as my students are learning, I am also learning with them. I feel as though I am given a second chance.
        • Nov 3 2011: I'm glad you are a teacher :)
        • Nov 3 2011: At times the teachers are helpless because of the system. I am glad you are a teacher and hope that you will teach them beyond the system.

          I feel teaching children the art of learning is the most important.
  • CS Tan

    • +4
    Nov 2 2011: I was educated in a Chinese school (small town in Malaysia) so it's quite a different experience compared to the "western" education that I have seen in Australia/UK for the last 15 years. However the common theme between the 2 system is "memorizing" rather than being creative. One of the earlier posters stated that the education system make us memorize the complicated mathematics/scientific formula but didn't emphasize on "how and why" to use it. I think it is a very crucial point because in the modern age there it's less important to memorize things (due to the advance technology) and more important to "understand" and apply it on everyday use. To put it simply, the current education system teach us that we live in a black and white world, and when get out to the real world everything is grey. 90% of the things we learned in school just went to waste because it's no longer relevant in the actual world.

    To answer the question, I wish I have learned to identify my own potential (and be myself) while I am in school. The soul searching should have started while I was 14 - 18, not when I am 30.
    • Nov 3 2011: I completely agree. We we forced to memorize and achieved good grades till secondary. We were supposed to follow and obey orders. We weren't allowed to voice out our opinion. We were not suppose to question what we were taught. After I completed my degree in one of the local Uni here, Mr. Wan (was my lecturer, he passed away last July) told me, we have to unlearn because we were cheated by the text books given to us especially on our history. Mr. Wan was a ITM diploma holder, bachelor from RISD and master from MIT. He shares a lot with us. After graduation, a few of my close friends questioned, "What the &%#$ are we doing? I'm not going to be an architect! " We come to a conclusion that our environment unintentionally force us to become a professional by cert. but lack in handling things on ground. However, Mr. Wan told me, it is never too late to start on anything. Maybe we could start by reading/observing with consciousness ...
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    Nov 2 2011: That authority needs to be questioned; rules need to be replaced; boundaries need to be redrawn; and that yesterday's thinking won't solves tomorrows challenges.

    Our schools all too often focus on conformity and containment, what is proper and what is past - not nearly enough on what we don't yet know - schools are too concrete.