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.
  • 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.

    Matt
    • 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: 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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    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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        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.
  • 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.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M
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      Nov 4 2011: Excellent contribution emm !!

      "Focus education on the building of character to deal more kindly with one another"
  • Nov 3 2011: Emotional intelligence and people skills rank right up there with critical thinking skills.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nov 2 2011: Goal setting, time management and emotional intellegance!
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish they taught me not just to repeat the lessons as they wanted me to, but to think on my own accord. The faster you learn it, the better you can face every little challenge of everyday life and be fine.
  • Nov 2 2011: School is far too focused on learning, with not nearly enough doing.
  • Dec 1 2011: What if your teacher had stated before a class that one thing you would be taught that day was going to be a lie. But you would not be warned which fact.
    Maybe there would be group discussion to try and deduce which was the lie, maybe the final exam will be to demonstrate why the information is false.

    I may not be explaining this well. But growing up (pre-internet era) there were these trusted controlled sources of information right: textbooks, experts, national newspapers, authorities, compendia...
    You went to school, sat attentively in class and you absorbed and hopefully came out the wiser!
    With the explosion of information and opinions and sources in this century, that trained instinct of passive obedience suddenly feels dangerous vulnerability.

    If I wish anything, that critical thinking and (healthy) skepticism had been a larger part of my syllabi.
  • Nov 27 2011: i think a lot of these very valid comments here just highlight what Ken Robinson is saying, school for people who are older now (like us) wasn't teaching us what we needed in terms of educating us to survive in a changing society - and it is even more so for children coming into the system right now. As he said it was designed for an Industrial Society and taugh things important to THAT society, it is very much different now and will be more so in the future - how many children have to be downtrodden and marginilized or medicated because they dont fit the mold and will never fit the mold because they are exposed to more and more things that children in the past never were and have a totally different view on life ? i have to say i think Ken Robinson is the way forward :-)
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      Nov 29 2011: I agree. Do you have any ideas for experts that can make a "Ken Robinson" kind of difference? What lessons would you recommend they teach that would move our education system from one that favors an industrial society?
      • Nov 30 2011: Jordan, i wish i was informed enough on this subject to give you an answer, its an area i have never really thought about until i stumbelled on Ken Robinson a few weeks ago and what he was saying has really made me think about it in a different light. Some of the things the guys here have been saying could be agreed by the vast majority of us i think. I was looking into Finlands outstanding education system and results and intend to learn a lot more about this and about the attitude of those in authority there, to work off a model that has already proven itself is far easier than designing the whole model. As for how we change a whole education system that has been set in stone for a long time i have no idea, I'm sure someone somewhere must be trying to make an impact with this and i do intend to make it my business to find out :-)
        Personally i would have liked to have lessons that were purely to talk about whatever you wanted to know about, wether it be a concerning current event or family issues or anything that could then be followed up by the teacher with answers to ours, as teenagers, real concerns and worries. i think it would be an idea to have these today also, education should be applicable to the area and the times, it should be about learning and growing not just about learning parrot fashion although we all agree there are certain areas that are essential. The reasons i was given as a kid is that its the way it is because it prepares you for work when your older, so it prepares you to go and do something you loath everyday to make money - not the best reference :-)
    • Nov 30 2011: I have to say it is small world.So many places in the world will face the same problem is that inflexible education system. Students just followed what the teacher told and didn't think too much about their own desire.Here,students are taught many goals to reach and do not know what to do in society and confused to find a job to feed themselves then their family.
      People learn a lot from school then lost a lot from school.Whatever,there is still someone has his own thinking and reach his woderfull life.Finally, what is right and what is wrong,who can tell.
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    Nov 27 2011: I actually started a petition to make personal finance a high school requirement so that high schoolers understand investments, credit cards, credit scores and other financial things they will experience in real life which I wished I had learned in high school.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/put-personal-finance-as-a-high-school-requirement

    Also I wish I was taught to question authority and that I can make a difference in my goverment
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    Nov 27 2011: I WISH I WAS TAUGHT TO FIND ( democratically) WHAT I COULD DO GOOD AT, AND EVENTUALLY TURN IT INTO MY PROFESSION...
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    Nov 22 2011: I wish we had learned life skills.
    • Nov 23 2011: Super wish! Hope soon we will be able to change education technique and be able to explain the skills better to our kids.
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    Nov 11 2011: The value of failure... all the emphasis was on success and mastery -- none on the lessons of defeat.
    • Nov 14 2011: A child does not learn failure. The adult tells the child, he/she failed. I have a real problem, with the word failure. A child, takes soo much to heart and mind. The word "failure", is a big mistake. We must show our kids, a lesson learned, is the way to go!! :)
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      Nov 14 2011: Don't miss JK Rawling: the fringe benefits of failure. Harvard Commnecement Address 2008.
  • Nov 10 2011: As a University Student in my first year, this question is extremely relevant to me. Throughout high school I found it hard to become motivated while studying the typical courses of sciences, humanities, history, and math. I realize that they are all important, perhaps some than others, but whats missing from the current education system is the practice of creativity and innovation. It doesn't need to be a dedicated class, but perhaps more courses offered that could allow for creativity to play a large role in the coursework, or more arts to be offered in schools. In my experience students are much more likely to produce good work, and perhaps most importantly be motivated and inspired to do so if they have the capacity to be creative within it.

    I believe that school should incorporate more creativity into the classroom. Like Sir Ken has said in his TED talks, creativity and innovation is what will lead us through the problems the world is facing today, and it has become an extremely undervalued personality trait that is becoming increasingly more important in todays rapidly changing world.
  • Nov 6 2011: How about the truth? Accurate events in our history for example. My high school American history class skipped over the slaughtering of the Native Americans entirely. I guess they didn't want to bring up such a sensitive topic. Not to mention the teacher went on to convince us that nuking Japan was necessary. Since when so teenagers need propaganda in school to form an opinion for themselves? What happened to perspective? And language? I read some comments here about people wanting to mandate exchange programs in schools so that we travel or learn about the world and "real life" but what about the mandatory learning of Spanish so that we can communicate with a large part of our minority in this country? "Real life" is subject to the individual. Being interested in educating yourself and wanting the best for your future because you want to be an active and positive participant on the planet was practically non existent in my school or university. That starts with us. After learning so much as and adult about world history and literature I feet like I was really missing out on interesting and real topics as a young person. I don't think there needs to be anything else added to fancy up the American education system but perhaps just simplifying it by teaching what we need to know.
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      Nov 15 2011: Also, the 1692 Salem "witch" executions (24) are cast as "trials."

      Also, Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays are taught, excluding "Divinity School Address," wherein he claims Jesus was simply a man with an idea: humans should be virtuous.
    • Nov 15 2011: Hi and oh melissa, I was striving for truth in high school. (never got it) I knew it was wrong. I am in school, these humans, are teaching me wrong? Hmm, it makes one think? I am out of school now. I still question, the educational system! Stick to your opinions!! Do not give in. Your teachers have an agenda. BUT, there are a few teachers, that have your back!:) (does that make sense?) :)
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I had learned that just because it's in a textbook or newspaper doesn't mean it's the only truth. I wish someone had told me that sometimes the companies who publish have an agenda that might wander from the truth a bit.
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    Nov 3 2011: real history.

    that is, history without kings and conquests. the history of people, how they lived, how and what they produced, how they resolved conflicts, how they preserved food, how they cured illnesses, what were their main problems, what were their living standard, what tools and technology they used.
    • Nov 3 2011: Standards of living...it would be interesting to do an entire study on different civilization's way of living...it would benefit psychological studies greatly. Not that it hasn't been done and isn't, still, being done. It should be more common in our studies.
  • Nov 3 2011: As I reflect back on my own schooling and how I personally interact with my students now, I wish that schools had been more dynamic in their roles. I wish they had taught children to question, to be critical in their roles as consumers of knowledge, interacting with it in a way that they became the modifiers and constructors of the information learned instead of being passive imbibers. I wish even today there was a greater opportunity to convert classrooms into laboratories where the seeds of thought could be manipulated especially in an age where technology has exploded opening doors to infinite possibilities. I would never want to learn botany just by looking at the diagrams of leaves and flowers in a book anymore; rather I would like to spend the time in a rainforest observing in real time, acting the scientist and observer arriving at conclusions through personal engagement under a mentor who provoked you to think and own your knowledge.
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      Nov 3 2011: You've echoed my ideas but yes... I agree with you.
      • Nov 3 2011: Dear Balaji:Thank you. Yes, I realize we are on a siimilar wavelength of thought on this issue. I was pleased to read your comment on this issue. I believe there are more like us who feel this way. Perhaps they do not mention it. I wish they would.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes! We should teach students to be "consumers of experience", not just consumers.
  • Nov 3 2011: More opportunities to explore passions. Also - how to work in a group—as opposed to putting kids in groups and expecting that to somehow teach us to know how to effectively deal with someone who does not contribute his fair share, or takes over and doesn't let other people share responsibilities...and how to not be one of those people. How to have difficult conversations. Productive conflict management. More passion about learning and more people skills (actually taught). Much less memorization. More critical thinking... Those teachers who did teach any of these skills are the ones I remember and keep in touch with and whose teaching ultimately had the biggest impact on me as a learner and a person.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish more time had been spent on trying to identify our passion, our gifts. Instead we were just cattle forced into a cookie-cutter education. Imagine the society we could have if more time were spent on finding our passion, giving us the tools to fulfill it and connecting us with the resources to start on that path...
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish they had taught me

    1. how to learn things
    2. to keep an open mind
    3. have a mind that can approach and find solutions to real problems
    4. To understand the basics of things, and importantly know how to apply them

    I wish they had not merely teach things for the sake of marks.
    • Nov 3 2011: Thank you for this. I've been attending a conference in Indianapolis about how to improve student learning and what you said was the most poignant take-away for me. Students need to learn how to learn and think critically and creatively. I'm going back to my classroom with a different perspective.
      • Nov 3 2011: Also, to find what they are passionate about and let them explore it. I just saw from your profile that you teach English. I think languages are good to promote thinking as well, they already do that with all the great literary works. It also makes for good discussions and bringing out new ideas and inspiring kids. As Sir Ken Robinson said, let it be organic and let the children find what they are capable of. Let teachers be good farmers and give them the right conditions.
        • Nov 3 2011: I like the farmer analogy. That's a new one for me :)
  • Nov 2 2011: Money management. It took me so long to learn the hard way how to deal with money after college. Money was not discussed in my family other than the fact that we didn't have much. Even though I spend my high school and college years achieving in honors classes, never once in any class did we discuss basic money management skills (balancing a checkbook, creating a budget, building a savings, gaining interest, investing in CDs, stocks, bonds, etc.) Instead in college I was immediately sucked into an irresistible credit card offer, and life spiraled financially for the next five years. It is irresponsible as educators to ignore a basic, essential life skill and then expect our students to become fiscally responsible citizens.
    • Nov 2 2011: I am right there with ya! Think about how much better off the next generation would be if we taught them money management!
    • Nov 2 2011: I agree. The basics of living are seldom taught in the race for marks. As Sir Ken Robinson pointed out, we are but mere products produced to a cater to an industrial world as workforce.
  • Nov 2 2011: I think everyone in this thread should get together and design a new school:) It'd be awesome
    • Nov 2 2011: Many people have! I am one of thousands of parents who are now teaching their children. It's legal in California and many other states to design whatever you deem appropriate. I'm gathering ideas right now...
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    Nov 2 2011: How to think. Meaning how to critically evaluate ideas, determine the main streams of thought on a subject, and how it applies to my current situation. With the aim of being able to see an issue from many perspectives, and determine which path i truly choose, not just follow blindly.
  • Nov 2 2011: Safe sex and sexual health, as it applies to me. As a lesbian, all I was taught in sex ed is that I don't exist.
  • Nov 2 2011: It is a great question and despite the good answers, it's not like anything's going to change.
    I agree with Ken Robinson- schools kill our creativity but that's the way it's meant to be.. It's easier to rule uneducated and ignorant people, rather than people in search of truth and justice..
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned that it is ok to fail, even in a dramatic and catastrophic fashion.

    I think we focus too much on succeeding and so we fail to take risks that seem like they might impede success. As a result, our lives become more and more mundane. Sure, we don't fail, but I also think we don't learn and we don't advance.

    If I could change modern education in any way, it would be to let kids explore, experiment, fail, learn from failure, and grow because of all of it.
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    Nov 2 2011: I would have loved to have classes of how to behave in society, how to be a mama later (not to complicated things - the basics), how to be a good friend, all the things that we really need in this world. instead we have learned a lot of very unnecessary figures, facts!
    I believe in giving confidence to the child, in giving him the chance to realize his potentials, whichever they are.
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    Nov 2 2011: how to cope with failure ...
  • Nov 2 2011: Time management
  • Nov 2 2011: Simply how to study. Somehow, I managed to pull off a 3.6 GPA in high school and 3.2 in college without ever learning how to tackle a text. I guess enough was spoon-fed to me in class. However, now that I'm an adult and fully engaged in self-education, I'm struggling to master the basic skills.
    • Nov 4 2011: Agreed... I was in a similar boat. I naturally excelled throughout primary and secondary school, and then struggled to keep up with the huge increase in volume of material in college. I pulled out an A average in highschool, B to B+ in college. I always thought I knew how to study, and it took me until well after college to realize I was "reading" not "studying."
  • Nov 2 2011: that it's ok to fail. that 100% isn't nirvana.
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    Dec 1 2011: Skills useful to know in extreme emergency situations, like how to clean water for one's consumption post a natural disaster or how to give someone first aid CPR.
  • Dec 1 2011: How to manage finances.
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    Nov 30 2011: if there was one thing i could have learned in school would be the art to dream. To learn how to be conciously aware in the sub-concious state. If we can harness our subconcious through realization, self determination, and connective thought i believe with sub-concious awareness we can provide a better outcome for the future of both ourselves and our childrens childrens. Perhaps we could learn more than wat the surface of waking life has to offer. If there is something we as human beings can share is we dream whether we remember or not. Some of the greatest inventions or train of thoughts come from being in a dream-like state; wat if that could happen simotaniously with the education of dream awareness? or concious awareness in the subconcious state of mind?
  • Nov 30 2011: In today's world of go, go, go, people not only school students need to be thought how to listen. Hearing - one of our 5 senses. we can all hear, but how many of us listen?
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    Nov 27 2011: I wish I had learned the importance of our brain in school. I think in every kind of school, the lessons should start with a brief history of mankind and what we did since our existence.
  • Nov 23 2011: The truth :))
  • Nov 22 2011: an interest in learning. Making classes more applicable to real life, not just learn because the school said so. The first class that truly made me want to learn was a sales class in my senior year of college. Talk about wasted school years!
  • Nov 17 2011: That I didn't have to go to college to be successful.
  • Nov 17 2011: Emotional Intelligence: how to connect in a positive way with others, how to know myself, be healthy and therefore be empowered to move towards my potential. This was not modelled very well for me in my family, and school could have really helped, but role-modelling there was a bit thin as well. We could do so much to help our young people be healthy and be connected with their own spirits and with others around them.
  • Nov 15 2011: I grew up thinking math was for ''math people ". it wasn't till my 30's I realized that I was never taught correctly and told I didn't try hard enough. The way we generally teach mathematics is also flawed, leaving gaps in students knowledge ( see Salman Khan talk: http://youtu.be/gM95HHI4gLk )
  • Nov 14 2011: I wish I had learned self-confidence. Our schools need to focus on helping children develop positive images of themselves. It is crucial for every person to learn a sense of self worth and we can't expect families to instill it in their children because the simple truth is that most parents have their own agendas. They want their kids to be the star athlete or the beauty pageant queen (or whatever they weren't able to achieve in their youth) and this pressure forces children to relinquish their unique abilities that they are born with and become molded to whatever society demands of them. Classes that teach self-confidence will help decrease depression and suicide in this country.
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    Nov 13 2011: Schools should teach Emotional intelligence: it' the best skill out there for being successful in the world
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      Nov 14 2011: I like "emotional intelligence" better than my standard term "psycholgoical maturity," learned from H. A. Overstreet.
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    Nov 12 2011: The importance of getting it wrong!
    I see others have already said this, but it cannot be emphasized enough how failures are conductive to successes.
    • Nov 14 2011: Yes! (but) should it be labeled as " failures?" How about, lesson learned? If a human tells a child, he or she failed, that alone is crushing to a child. Children only fail, when they have adults, to show them how to fail. (does that make sense?) It comes down to, adults versus, a child. The children are losing. With respect.
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        Nov 14 2011: I actually think that the only way to make the word "failure" less scary, is to make it part of everyday life, something to be expected every now and again. If a child learns to accept that failure happens to everyone, and that it is perfectly possible to live it down, then there would be no reason to feel so frantic about it. If I have heard the story correctly, Thomas Alva Edison used the words "failed attempts" about all the earlier versions of the lightbulb, but also pointed out that each of these failures taught him something, and that is how they became learning opportunities, and then lessons learned.
        • Nov 15 2011: Hi Elrin, good point. I like your quote of "failed attempts". My thinking, is adults have to be careful in telling a child, they failed. It must come with an example, like yours! There are so many humans out there, that will not, take the time to explain "failure".. Does that make sense? Respect to ya!!
  • Nov 10 2011: At ten years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up and, foolishly perhaps, expected my schooling to support my ambition to be a chef, a writer or a photographer ...preferably, all three. Fast forward six years and, by the end of secondary education, my greatest aspiration was to get a job at Marks and Spencer because I deemed it slightly more upmarket than the local supermarkets. As for my childhood dreams, they were well and truly laid to rest and my folly redirected to run-of-the-mill pursuits. So, at school, I wished I had learned how to trust my instincts, believe in myself and acknowledge and appreciate my talents. Instead, somewhere along the line, I fostered the belief that I was stupid; a belief so deep-rooted that a Masters from one of the top universities in the world couldn't shift it. State education in the UK, from what I gather, is designed to churn out people devoid of any high-falutin ideas of making it big in this world and to make you feel incredibly foolish for even entertaining the thought that your talents have any worth. Me?...bitter?...er, yeah.
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      Nov 13 2011: This is so true! I spent 10 years or more "unlearning" what schools really taught.
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      Nov 14 2011: " I wished I had learned how to trust my instincts, believe in myself and acknowledge and appreciate my talents." I second that.

      Please see my post at about 3:30 PM, Nov 14.
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    Nov 10 2011: How important education is.
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      Nov 14 2011: More important than education is learning Learning is in your hands and always was.

      Not to be challenging but rather to share a quest.
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    Nov 8 2011: I wish I had learned how to think and act like an entrepreneur from an early age. Schools teach their students how to become employees or managers. They rarely if ever teach how to become an owner of a major company.
    • Nov 8 2011: Good point. But I think the logic behind it is to give the mass a general notion that they need to be useful to society and that there are "Right Jobs" for everyone. I would imagine it acts as a blanket to give reassurance to the general public that their physiological needs will be met.

      I had a similar experience right before I left high school when our guidance counsellor asked what we wanted to be in the future - My response : Entrepreneur Her Reply: Win a lottery
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    Nov 5 2011: Thanks everybody for your comments. I'm a teacher of history and social science and I'm really interested in this - what young peoples want to study, want to learn, and how ... And as a teacher I have to learn all the time : ) Thanks for everything what I could learn from you
  • Nov 4 2011: I may be the opposite of most people here (I'm reading a lot of "wish I learned how to learn not what) in that I wish school had taught me anything practical/useful for operating in real life, such as:

    - How to build a resume and get a job
    - How to manage money, credit and budget effectively
    - How to take out a loan and not get screwed
    - How to legally start a small business

    The "learning how to learn" bit is nice but that kind gets us a lot of very smart, interesting and unemployed people. Sound familiar?
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      Nov 14 2011: Dear Nate, no offense but please let me reformulate:
      - How to build a career in order to have a resumee and get a proper job
      - How to manage money, period
      - How not to get screwed
      - How to read and understand laws
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    Nov 4 2011: The likelyhood of salvaging the education system as it stands today in the first world is almost 0....
    The point of ultimate complexity has well and trully passed, the system is now being over run with teachers that are simply wishing to climb the ladder. As far as the childeren they are supposed to be teaching, they will simply become statistics.....The school systems are now set up to keep the truth away from the public so as not to draw attack, failing kids are given teachers aids in order to read and write for the pupil.......kids are no longer able to leave school before they are 17 in order to make the unemployment rate appier smaller..
    There are huge problems on the horrizon
  • Nov 4 2011: Why do we have schools? Is it to impart what the earlier generation knows to the next? Is it for this generation to make progress independent of the past? The raison D'etre of schooling needs to be cleared up first and then the rest will follow. Let's ask the right question...
    If it prepares us for the world we need to learn "Teamwork" Critical thinking" and :loving to learn"
    If it is to explore our unique talents and reach the highest potential , then we need trained personnel to ferret ourt what we do best and nurture it..
    What is an individuals role in society ? Do we have to contribute to it or we live for ourself?
  • Nov 3 2011: Critical thinking. On all kinds of levels. And the importance of logic and sound data vs. unfounded opinion or biased "analysis." Really helps you formulate your own conclusions, 'cause even professors can be wrong (which was a shock to me when I learned that). Certainly helps you assess what politicians or marketers or coworkers etc. are professing. It's ALWAYS useful. It's basically self-reliance.

    And a lack of fear of saying "I don't know." SO huge and helpful in learning and communication, but amazingly uncommon. I'm there now, but it took a while. =) And basic to science. People who say this get lots of points from me, right off the bat re: credibility and probability of success in figuring things out.
  • Nov 3 2011: Different languages (Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Marathi, Konkani); Musical Instruments (Guitar, Keyboards/Piano, Drums); Lost-Survival Techniques/skills; Left-brain and Right Brain Thinking and as Ethan Crane mentioned: pleasures of creativity.
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish my school had taken languages more seriously, as they do in mainland Europe and Scandinavia. The schools there regard their role as making students pretty much fluent in English, French, German etc by the time they leave. This is not seen as tricky or intense, just what they do; and it works. For us languages were a bit of a joke - a way to make it as a tourist when visiting our neighbours. We'd giggle over learning how to order sausage and chips or asking for a return ticket to Marseilles. I would like to have come away with decent Latin and French and good Spanish.
    • Nov 3 2011: I agree. Parents should introduce their children from infancy to multiple languages...spoken in the home.
    • Nov 3 2011: Absolutely! I was so impressed with the ease and fluency of the Scandanavians and Eastern Europeans in their speaking multiple languages when I visited both places this past summer. I took a 1-hour boat tour through Copenhagen and the tour guide delivered his spiel in 3 different languages (Danish, English & German) effortlessly! Anna, if you are from the U.S., you are right -- languages are an embarrassing joke...that goes like this:
      What do you call a person who speaks 3 or more languages? = Multilingual
      What do you call a person who speaks 2 languages? = Billingual
      What do you call a person who speaks 1 language? = American!
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish there had been more emphasis on how to produce our own food, as individuals and communities (and the importance of community itself). We are faced with huge challenges in this area over the coming years, relying heavily on an unsustainable and vulnerable food system, and we are ill prepared. Those in education right now will be faced with the worst of it.

    School has a tendency to separate children from the rest of their community - I came out having to find ways to get integrated into my local community, rather than already feeling part of it, so more opportunities to integrate would have been really valuable, as strong communities are key to all areas of wellbeing and prosperity.

    Great question, brilliant answers!
    • Nov 3 2011: Both of your points are also invaluable, and should be added to the education cannon.
      Thinking about it, sadly, community college is its own oxymoron.
      On a similar note, community college needs alterations made too.
      Your answer was quite brilliant too. :)
  • Nov 3 2011: Funny enough, I've given this exact subject some thought, myself, as of recent. I have a slew of examples as to futility of our education system in the United States, but for the purpose of answering this question promptly...

    The one example that exemplifies my answer, in particular, is this, just think of the many times we encounter American History alone, in our American education. Basically, every other year. That tells you enough right there but, think about this, not many people could get very far, and at all too quickly, on Jeopardy: American History Edition, either.

    Our industrialized society thus, we should take a more practical approach to education and not merely reduce our studies to the crappy Cliff's Notes (half-assed and all too vague, barren versions) of textbooks, but instead, in short, learn all about being the American adult; utilizing all learning methods.

    We need be learning about automobiles, the computer sciences, how to buy a car, how to haggle, how to survive the wilderness (from hunting, to keeping warm, about animals to be on the lookout for, poisons v.s. venom, how to make fire, rope, plants, etc., etc.), how to buy a house, what is a mortgage, what is equity, all about banks, our monetary system (for as long as we continue to play into the illusion), how to hustle (I know, it hurts and is unfortunate but...,), what insurance is thoroughly , what a democratic capitalistic, >cough, cough< theocratic-fascist, er...uh, World Government is, what corporations are and mean for all of us (no, really...), all about medical insurance, our entire debunked medical health and mental health system (in relation to government and big business), all about CPR, first-aid, how to defend oneself, how to increase cognitive comprehension, and how to subsist on very little money and resources. In short? How to come into the 'real world' with a fighting chance, not just to subsist one's whole life, but to gain a lasting foothold.

    Bloated answer, I know...
  • Nov 3 2011: 1) Critical Thiking - I wish schools emphasized critical thinking as it is essential for cultural progress and primes young minds to challenge the status quo.

    2) Outdoor and Survival Skills - This may seem a bit extreme, but I think most members of civilized society (myself included) live sheltered lives, without knowledge of how to use a compass and a map, or what to do in case the car stalls in the middle of nowhere. If taught, such skills would possibly instill some appreciation for comforts of civilization and instill some human humility.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes, I totally agree with both these points. I might add critical inquiry to your idea as well. Students shouldn't be expected to be sponges soaking up whatever the "authority figure" in the front of the classroom is saying. They should be taught to ask the all-important question: How do you know?

      As for the outdoor and/or survival skills, I think these things are of equal importance with the "basic life skills" mentioned by others in this conversation. I, thankfully, had a resourceful father who taught me about auto mechanics, compass & map reading, building fires from next to nothing and a bit of self-defense against stangers (in particular, strange men). Again, thankfully, I only had to use or demonstrate those skills while camping with my friends or family, and once in college when I had a flat tire in the dead of winter and had to change it myself because NONE of the boys at the dorm knew how!
  • Nov 3 2011: I Wish school had taught me a course on public speaking or prepared me to speak in public forums
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      Nov 3 2011: Interesting point... never thought about it since I never had fear of speaking in public, or extempore oratory.
    • Nov 3 2011: Interesting that your school system did not provide or REQUIRE this. When I was in college in America, it was required! You could not graduate until you passed the basic level "Public Speaking" course! Also, in high school there was a course that was required called "Speech", which was more like drama and doing skits with your friends, but nonetheless, we were required to pass this public performance class before we would be allowed to graduate.
  • Nov 3 2011: 1) Sustainable living — probably the most important value to inculcate our children with.

    2) Critical thinking / philosophy and the foundation of self-esteem — In my humble opinion the two most useful tools a healthy individual can be offered. I don't see how any society can afford not to provide them to the new generations.

    3 )The "Theory" of Evolution — I recall having ecology classes when I was 12 or so and although we did plenty of fun and instructive things (such as collecting leaves and learning the differences between the different species of trees/insects/birds), we were never introduced to the big E. It is SUCH a fundamental yet simple concept, and they kept it hidden all away from our young grasping minds. A shame! Children are so smart, I have no doubt they'd soak it up like it's nothing.
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      Nov 3 2011: I find it funny that you think teaching Evolution is important, because as I know it, in some states people want to make it optional or teach the theory of evolution as one of the alternative theories to creation! While we can list what we wish we were taught in schools, one of the key things is to ensure our children get to learn certain things in life and are not forced to learn about creation because they are learning in a particular state or county. Evolution is the most widely accepted theory across the world and I can't believe that some politicians actually want it removed from the curriculum...
  • Nov 3 2011: What it takes to be happy, according to science. As far as I know, this includes things like exercise, healthy living, positive relationships, feelings of attribution with a higher cause, and helping others. But let me tell you, if someone had laid it all out for me before I started, I would have thought long and hard about what exactly I was trying to achieve in the rest of my education.

    People should know that money (beyond a point), ownership status symbols and productivity are not highly correlated with happiness. I don't know why the data isn't taught.

    There should be a mandatory course in first-year undergrad on how to be happy.
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish school taught me how to organize, plan and perform effectively. I learned how to get things done by reading "getting things done" by David Allen. Life would be much easier if I learned it when I was a student.
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I had been offered a course on 'Office Politics'. The Art of War could have been required reading. More importantly, I wish I had taken a class on comparative religions and the importance of compassion. Again, something I had to learn as an adult.
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    Nov 3 2011: I actually wish I'd been taught less. The French curriculum is ridiculously overloaded. Ironically, if I had been taught less, I'd probably remember more.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes, quality vs. quantity. What are students "racing" toward? Grades, test taking skills or real
      understanding? We must drastically rethink how and why we learn?
  • Nov 2 2011: How to evaluate research
    How to dance
    Child Development
    The Bible in Art /Literature /Music
    History of Ideas
    Last, but not least, how to work in groups with different people and in different roles
  • Nov 2 2011: I missed a final to go see my sister just days before she died of cancer. I learned that some things are more important than school.
  • Nov 2 2011: personal communication skills , resilience & coping skills , time management
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    Nov 2 2011: Study for yourself,not for others :)
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    Nov 2 2011: To be me.
  • Nov 2 2011: Every aspect of personal communication, particularly how to disagree and argue effectively and peacefully.
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    Nov 2 2011: How to be myself.
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    Nov 2 2011: I think they should teach students how to think individually,how to express themselves and most importantly help them learn more about themselves, their talents and point them into that direction .Because most students today arent aware of this ,so they are more likely to choose the wrong field of study in university which will just lead to more unhappy citizens who are not satisfied with their jobs and who are afraid to share their own opinions.
  • Nov 2 2011: I went to high school in the 1960's. We learned about personal financial management, how to apply for a job, how to write well and speak in front of a group. We didn't have advanced placement class. It was a Consolidated High School with a student population of 250 in rural Kansas. We learned English, math, history, science, languages, physical education, social studies, economics and home economics/shop (what they would call "life skills" now - how to prepare meals, clean up, sew on a button, etc.). I graduated in a class of 88 the majority of whom went on to be very successful in their chosen professions, whether farming or University teaching or dentistry. We didn't have frills, but we had good sound basics. We went to college for the rest. I wish students today had what WE had in 1964.
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    Nov 2 2011: the power of breath and voice and the influence on how they can help to deal with real-life-challenges such as death, divorce, self-confidence, health, inner joy, peace, creative power etc And how much impact you have on your own flow of life with these two gifts from the very start of each life: breath and voice..
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    Nov 2 2011: Interesting question and something that's been dwelling on my mind lately. 3 things I missed in school: 1. Ethics & Integrity - how to form a value foundation and being able to reflect on yourself and others as it's an onging process. 2. Art of conversation (rethorics) - how to in the best manner utilize your language skills, have a fruitful conversation by being able to lift out right kind of argumentation in the right way. 3. Individual organisation skills - how to organiize yourself and prioritize --> to avoid stress..which should be a topic waaay far away from the normal child in school, but oh so evidently approaching at some point in life..
  • Nov 2 2011: -the knowledge that once your body is done maturing physically, it's needs are not the same as when in puberty (such as meals, nutrition and the aging process.)
    -comprehensive sexual education that is more than just "don't do it." not things like "this is the missionary position" more like "look, we know that at some point you're likely going to have sex so here are the risks, here's how to protect yourself and here are some good tips to keep yourself and your partner safe."
    -personal finance (how to make and adhere to a budget, how to avoid credit card scams, how to best save and what the real risk of the stock market actually is)
    -how tolerance and compassion are NOT signs of weakness.
    -how to fight and how to win/lose with dignity and honour.

    and i think this is more pointed at the education systems than the classes but a ZERO-TOLERANCE attitude towards issues such as bullying... and instead of suspensions (which are more often than not considered "vacations") make mandatory community service required to be completed for them to pass the grade their in and make the community service appropriate to the crime they're caught doing. (such as with bullying, make it such that they have to do sit-ins at suicide outreach programs or with vandalism, cleaning up graffiti... and littering being parks cleanup duty or assisting the school janitor. and in cases of being caught doing or dealing drugs, volunteering at a methadone clinic or other drug-outreach program that shows them that drug abuse can be a very serious and damaging thing.)
    • Nov 2 2011: A little off topic but the punishments are poetically perfect.
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    Nov 2 2011: I would start by quoting Mark Twain here: 'I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.' Is it not so true?

    The most important things in life one has to learn via experience, personal approach to someone, trial and error, failure and success, by being patient and listening to grandparents,....

    I would like to put one more quote here, which may seem to oppose the first one, but not necessarily. John Wooden said in his last speech for TED: 'No written word nor spoken plea, can teach our youth what they should be. Nor all the books on all the shelves, is what the teachers are themselves.'

    But again, we are getting into personal experience rather than learning from the books. It does not need to be a teacher. It can be any 'hero of today,' the only condition is that there is something to learn from the person.

    If I had to name one thing I wish I learned at school it would not be how much is 2+2, nor how many verses there are in a sonnet, but it would have been to be myself, to do what I love, to have a passionate life.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wouldn't change a thing. Not even the things I was taught and later found out weren't true.
    I didn't learn how to drive a car before I actually had been granted my drivers license. School gives some basic tools, as it should. The more we try to push into the class room, the less time there will be for these tools to be used.
    The value of integrity, self awareness, nature, money, health... That's a parent's responsibility. And yet even a the neglected child can find a way out, remain curious and determined to learn about the good in life.
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      Nov 2 2011: Hehe We had those in front of the class mini expose and speeches and you are quite right, it is really usefull later in life. The only problem was, like too many things in school, not explaining the how and why but sticking you in front of the class. I still can remember how traumatized the few days before were ;)
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      Nov 2 2011: Malene, I appreciate your philosophy here, but I do not find it very practical. It leaves schooling as a rather inert action that lacks reflection and alignment to the realities that face us. Including that parents have less time than ever with their children (due to economic pressures and work).

      However, if your proposal is that schools should only be in session for a few hours a day and for a more limited age range (say 5-13) so that the basics (that would be a fun conversation--what are the basics?) can be learned and mastered to the point that children have more time to be involved in their communities and activities meaningful to them, then that would be a different story.

      Lastly, it is a myth that generally speaking "Even the most neglected child can find a way out..." That's true in rare circumstances, but generally its not even close to true. We are seeing the largest increases in substance abuse and personality disorders than ever before because of neglect and abuse. Generational poverty and disease are higher than ever before.
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        Nov 2 2011: Hi Adam,
        Taking it from the bottom. Please quote me properly. What I wrote (typos and all) was: "And yet even a the neglected child can find a way out". I didn't say "the most", I believe there is a difference. My point is, you can blame school and parents for all the stuff you've missed out on - but when you do get to the point where you are able to identify "what's missing", you'll be smart enough to fill out the blanks yourself.

        There is no philosophy to this, it's common sense. And time really isn't an excuse for not teaching your kids about values - they learn by watching and listening. Placing that responsibility on the schools will however make it an excuse.
        • Nov 2 2011: I used to think that it was possible for a person to pull themselves out of that situation too. I used to think it was common sense. Then I found out that I had been blessed with a lot more supportive people and role models surrounding me than many people in less fortunate positions. I know where you are coming from, but at the same time your reality is very different than those who don't have constant reminders that accomplishing their goals is possible. It's a beautiful thought that everyone has the same socioeconomic opportunity to accomplish great things, but the real situation in many impoverished neighborhoods is that they feel trapped in this cycle. This is why Adam stated that a neglected child finding his/her way out is a "rare circumstance". You can listen to hip hop and get a sense of what trappin is all about and the role models that they had to look up to.
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          Nov 2 2011: Malene,

          Sorry about the misquote! There is a difference, and I think it highlights a need to qualify what you mean by neglect as there is a whole range. As for philosophy vs. common sense, I don't agree. I haven't found that to be true working with kids and adults that come from challenging backgrounds.

          Again sorry for the misquote, and thanks for having the conversation!
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        Nov 3 2011: It's rather frustrating to see how a comment written in hope and celebration of the human mind is being dragged down to be made for the weakest of society.

        I am well aware that children have challenges - some more than others. My dad was a drunk, I slept on a sofa throughout my childhood and I didn't have a sense of self from I was about 11 till I was 26.
        Could the school have taught me anything as 'basic' stuff, that would have helped me?

        They taught me how to read, and I started reading books about an adopted girl who couldn't trust her adoptive parents, or the world, and it helped me understand my own world.

        They taught me how to write, and I found a pen pall. They joy that once in a while *I* was getting mail, even if I didn't have a room or a desk or a bed is indescribable.

        They taught me math, which helped me understand, that there is a solution to everything - basically.

        History and culture, how people effect each other, how wars start and how they end. What society does to adjust to crisis situations.

        This is all basic stuff. What you do with it is your choice.

        You can tell people around you, that "basic stuff" isn't enough, and they will think it isn't enough. They won't start making use of what they *have* learned or the tools that they do have.

        I am certainly not blind. But a negative attitude, this victimisation of the ordinary pupil, is not helping the pupil. You are right, good role models are essential. These are the people who encourages you to do something with whatever you have. To make something of it. Good role models don't discourage.

        When I initially wrote that I wouldn't want anything changed, it's because "learning something" is essentially good enough. It is the act of having someone put something into my head that does the trick, much more than "what" I learn or "how" I learn it.

        Should we not take care of the weak? Yes! Certainly! But let's do it more seriously - and not just cramp it into the school.
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          Nov 3 2011: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

          Thanks for sharing more of your story and perspective. It is certainly helpful to understand you better.

          Perhaps another time I will respond more to your latest comment, but for now I'll give it a break as to not heighten your frustration.
        • Nov 3 2011: I cannot claim a rough upbringing, but have worked with 'disadvantaged' kids. Children, for the most part, will rise to expectations. I'm certainly not the first one to notice this. But we have to be willing to ask a lot of them! To let them fail. To give them hard tasks that will let them work hard and accomplish something difficult. Over and over, until accomplishment becomes second nature. The best schools - the highly awarded, private, expensive ones - challenge the pants off kids! It's what makes them good schools. Its because public schools demand so little, that private schools become attractive.

          So I agree with you about victimization not helping. Recently, I live somewhere where I'm surrounded by folks with their hands out. I listen on the buses and in the stores, and it's all about how to game the system. I live in a city of victims, many of whom have completely stopped trying to accomplish anything (at least as related to the generation of personal income). We can argue, in a big-picture sense, whether schools should turn out rote-trained workers or give us all wings to fly, but in the shorter term, lets just get a country full of people who can read, add and hold a job.

          But back to the classroom. It isn't enough that learning be challenging and engaging. Many kids also lack the necessary home training to get along with other people (in a classroom, on a bus, at the supermarket or in an eventual workplace). Compounding this, teachers have no recourse. So one bad kid totally distracts a classroom-full, and a few bad kids turn the room into a circus. Why did we stop demanding polite behavior, respect and (dare I say it) obedience? I see elementary-aged kids mouthing off like sailors - to their parents and teachers. Please, someone post here a good explanation of how failing to teach children how to behave is in anyway good for their psyche or well-being. How was it ever concluded that we were all supposed to coddle children, all the time?
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        Nov 14 2011: Completely agree to Burke's position. I only want to remind everyone that we have to go to school and be teached for long years. I am now 45 and I am mad because I realised that I've lost 17 year studying a lot of crap.... Time is passing, wheter we are children or grownups, it never comes back. If everyone has to go to school to accumulate 75% useless theoretical bullshit and has then to enter real life and learn (usually by fail and error) to cope to it, isn't it a huge waste of time? Time is the single resource we cannot gain or replace ...
        Malene, you wrote finance and health is a parent's responsability to teach. Are you that good at finance or health to take responsability to teach it to your children? How many of us are?
    • Nov 2 2011: "The value of integrity, self awareness, nature, money, health... That's a parent's responsibility." Here, here. I wish more parents took it upon themselves to lead by example. I see too much parenting-by-television accompanied by frustration that schools aren't doing enough!
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        Nov 3 2011: Melissa, I agree. It is accompanied, and I think that's the key word here.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish i was taught in a way that was not based on testing, but on how the world works without multiple choice questions. No one learns anything from multiple choice. People are either good at it or they aren't. Learning about real world issues and current events would have also been nice. For 8 years I was taught about American History...over and over again. And we could never make it to the World Wars because we took so much time on the Revolution.

    I just wish that school was based on things other than the textbook that I had to buy. I wouldn't need to go to class because people taught out of the book. I did go to class, but sometimes i wondered why.
    And then we had a multiple choice test to "prove" how much we knew. Has anyone after school had to worry about the confusing phrasing of a multiple choice question that your future was based on? Very few I'm sure.

    I liked the idea of school, but I feel like what I got out of it was experience and some random knowledge, but now I am trying to make it in the "real world" and I feel like I know very little....and tuition keeps rising.
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    Nov 2 2011: Critical thinking (fallacy recognition) and its corollary, persuasive, technically argumentative writing.
  • Nov 2 2011: Emotional maturity. I believe that generally speaking there is a lot of unnecessary shame involved in education and the education system (the shame of being wrong, the shame of being different, the shame of expressing your real feelings, and the list goes on). I know this is a product of society but i feel that the education system has amplified the problem. And thus it seems to me that school is the perfect place to treat this monumental problem at its very root. You might have seen this but if you haven't I encourageyou to do so, it's a documentary called "children full of life" about a japanese 4th grade teacher and his method:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=armP8TfS9Is
  • Nov 2 2011: To be brave in the face of opposition.
  • Nov 2 2011: I would like to have been taught that there is more value to my independent study than there is to a formal education.
  • Nov 2 2011: School doesn't teach you :
    - How to learn by yourself / be autonomous
    - How to be creative
    - How to know yourself
    - How to become a leader
    - At your own pace
    - How to deal with the fact that most of it is useless in life
  • Nov 2 2011: How to think for myself.
  • Nov 2 2011: I agree with "Pradee". I wish I'd learned how to learn. And that idea encompasses a lot. Learning -- true learning -- is a creative act because it's an act of exploration and interaction with ideas. I was an excellent student because I was an excellent memorizer. But I never was encouraged to put ideas together and come up with new concepts -- or new questions. And certainly, in grade school and high school, was never encouraged to ask questions. I was in college before I was encouraged to explore and to think for myself. Ironic that we train students for 12 years to not think for themselves and then we begin to grade them on how well they can do what they've been trained not to do.

    I remember hearing high school teachers admonish their students, "It's not going to be like this in college! You'll be responsible in college for learning the material on your own!" So if the high school teachers KNOW this, why don't they teach the students to do just that....to prepare them for college? Sadly, what I've seen happen is the inverse. College professors dumb down their expectations of students because they are getting these 18-year-old kids who don't know how to learn.
  • Nov 2 2011: Understanding careers - skills and what do VCs do, specific branches of medicine, technology, trades (electrcial, plumbing) - I think a real world perspective of the broad consortium would enable children and adults to be more cognizant and excited about their choices. There is a tendency to only know what our friends or their parents know or do - that limit - does limit creativity and passion.
  • Nov 2 2011: Definitely financial literacy. Checkbooks, bank accounts, credit scores, mortgages, loans, interest, buying a car, etc. School doesn't seems to teach you what you are actually going to use as an adult. Knowing about wars that happened 1000 years ago is fine, but knowing how to buy a house or manage money now is more important. Of course, these days they may do that - they didn't when I went to high school, but that was many moons ago :o)
  • Nov 2 2011: I went to a top art school after high school. There's a lot of things I feel I missed, but the first is to be confident.
  • Nov 2 2011: Emotional intelligence.
  • Nov 2 2011: A course geared towards credit would be fantastic. I feel that if people knew more about credit, how it's earned, how ratings are derived and what they mean - the world wouldn't be in as much of a financial mess as it is.
  • Nov 2 2011: I would have liked to have learned entrepreneurial skills.. How a person can start their own business, the processes that some have followed, what amount of dedication and work it takes, the freedom and hardships that come with being your own boss, what kind of attitude is needed, what kind of funding is out there, how to research it, how to pull together a team, and all other kinds of leadership skills they seem to leave out in school.

    Currently working on starting a few things up, I find it important to always encourage my children to do their own thing.. "If they don't teach it in school, Google it, you might want to learn more about it and I will be more than willing to offer all the knowledge I have if you just ask," and "Don't dream of working for someone...dream of starting your own company and work WITH people" These are things I tell my 6 and 8 year old on a daily basis. I want to help them to find their passion and develop it as I wish someone had done with me at a much younger age. While I'm learning now, what an amazing gift we can give to our kids by starting them out young!
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned how to generate knowledge and think critically, not just had knowledge transfered from the teacher to me.
  • Nov 2 2011: I have taught middle school, high school and community college, as well as presented classes and workshops outside of school to kids at risk, women in recovery and adults just looking for creative and life enhancement. What I have always felt is most missing is a curriculum dedicated to teaching skills for managing stress, self-soothing, and using what is known of the brain and nervous system - and child and adolescent development - to create healthy self-awareness and coping strategies that can last a lifetime. I've taught these techniques to young people - some with the hardest shells - and they amaze me with their openness, and their ability to learn and expand when given the chance. I would give anything to see such a curriculum put in place and put together in a powerful and effective way. Imagine the pain and stress we might have saved ourselves if someone had introduced these ideas and practices to us early on...
  • Nov 2 2011: Being female I wish I'd been encouraged to take metal and wood shop in high school. I now find myself wanting to do projects in metal or wood and have no experience using the proper power tools, or knowledge of the basic rules of safety when using them.
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      Nov 2 2011: I agree Kellee! I definitely find myself as a young adult wanting to take on projects that allow me to use my hands. I want to build things in my free time and really get to understand wood. I wish there had been a class for this in my schools.
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      Nov 2 2011: Quid pro quo. I wish I had been taught how to cook.
      • Nov 3 2011: Yeah, but at least you guys, as adults, can go out and find cooking classes. I've yet to find a welding class or woodworking class I can attend at a learning annex.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned more about life and the things to come. How life would take you on a wild an unexpected journey. When it gets too tough, you realize its not the end. If someone reaches rock bottom there is no where to go but up. If they taught this in early high school, it could possibly help reduce suicides, addiction and depression...
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    Nov 2 2011: Agreed with many - there were a few nods to financial literacy, but they were minuscule units within larger civics instruction and did nothing to provide education about the importance of money, credit, and budgeting. Financial literacy should be its own course in high school or earlier and should have more than one level.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I would have learned more about how to think critically. I never really had any of my beliefs challenged or learned how to intellectually defend myself until college. This is an important skill that everyone needs to be able to use. One of the intents of education is to make people capable of being a civic person, and the only way this can happen is if students are taught how to think rationally and logically.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to live in the real world.
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      Nov 2 2011: This statement is so simple in structure yet complex in meaning.

      I often wondered in my first couple years of adulthood why I was encountering so many things I hadn't been taught in school. Somehow though we still learn them. I am of the belief they are left out because those lessons are meant to be taught in our twenties. Learning doesn't stop when you get your first diploma.
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    Nov 2 2011: Two things: a truer account of history - something akin to Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States."
    And studies around the concept of interconnectivity - specifically humanities intricate connection to the natural world.
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    Nov 2 2011: I have two great regrets from my early schooling. First, I didn't learn to think of the study of history as an adventure into the human story, with all its universals and variations. Because I thought of it as a package of names, dates, places, and events to memorize and forget, I took only one history course after age 16, leaving such rich terrain unexplored.My second regret is that I didn't learn how to tinker in an engineering sense with components that could be combined to make some sort of unit that can do things. I have a well developed imagination and analytical faculties, thanks to my schooling and early dispositions, but no serious mechanical instincts or facility.
  • Nov 2 2011: Our schools (russian) spend all math lessons to learn continuous math (trigonometry, differentials, integrals). But later (when I became a developer) I understood that I need more discrete math. So I wish I'd learn set Theory, combinatorics, graph Theory, etc.
    And I agree with Pradee Happy - nobody tell you how to learn, I mean method to start think. They say "just think"
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    Dec 2 2011: i wish i would have learned that it's not what you know, but how you use it that matters. teachers are often so distracted by cramming facts into children's heads to prepare them for standardized exams that they forget the aim of education should be preparation for LIFE, not just the next level of schooling.

    but perhaps our concept of what education is has become so skewed that we have lost sight of this original intent. the definition of "education" (according to my mac's dictionary) is "the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, esp. at a school or university." whereas the term "an education" is defined as "an enlightening experience."

    my hope is that schooling for the next generation will be less "education" and more of "an education."
  • Dec 1 2011: I wish I had learned fuzzy logic. and fuzzy set theory. I think standard binary logic (true false) and standard set theory is close minded and is too far from the human way of thinking. All in life is fuzzy and the ability to recognize it and not be afraid of it opens to many beautiful discoveries. I read a book about this. It was developed by a guy in Russia and the theory now has many applications in robotics, industry, and houshold appliances and electronics.
  • Nov 30 2011: I would like to have been learned on public speach and presentation even to perform.
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    Nov 30 2011: I really wish I had had the chance to do basic construction skills at school instead of home economics. I have always wanted to be able to fix things myself and life skills should include self sufficiency in all areas. Yes we can teach innovative learning in schools and ensure that children learn to be social networkers in this digital literacy world but hey how about being able to build your own home, an eco friendly home at that!
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    Nov 30 2011: Profession itself doesnt bring money it is your performance that brings money.
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    Nov 29 2011: That I am of value as myself, and not as a reflection of the grades and diplomas. No one thought that this is important and it occurred to me rather late that the latter were just a measure of how well you complied.
    As a note, I grew up in a communist country, where religious matters were not discussed, where many books and debates were tabu and, essentially, the individual did not matter.
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    Nov 27 2011: That hard work does not always yield good results.
  • Nov 27 2011: schools should teach pupils how to think for themselves
  • Nov 23 2011: Programming hands down, I would have loved to get into that at a younger age.
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    Nov 22 2011: I wish a had learned to figure out how to reveal my skills and how to use them , nowadays school only gives us the things they want to teach us also makes us become shy and scared people. It needs a hard work to find out our profession ,what we enjoy and what we are good at , if school would orientate us about it , most of those people were happy about what they do in thier lives today.
  • Nov 22 2011: In school we are all trying to find ourselves.
    What are we good at? What do I like to do? What motivates me? What angers me? Is everyone else like me? Does everyone else think like me?

    The answers to those questions I believe can be answered with the help of the Myers Briggs personality type testing.
    Had I known then in school what I only found out at age 45 would have made a big difference.

    My Myers Briggs Personality type is ENFP
    Had I known then that I love people and I am interested in helping people then I could have chosen a field that I would be a natural fit for..
    Teaching, Mentoring, Coaching, Counsellor.

    Life is about meaningful contributions to life, to living, to loving and to learning.
    Knowing yourself early and following your nature lets you contribute in a meaningful way.

    It is the Win/Win.
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    Nov 22 2011: i wish i had learn something that would focus in being creative, a class where there is no specific things to do, like a free class where you create your on methods to teach yourself the things you want to learn.
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    Nov 21 2011: Skepticism (and rational/critical thinking)
    And some decent philosophy
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    Nov 21 2011: Jordan,

    The one thing I wish I'd learned in school was how intrinsically and intellectually stimulating it is to follow my curiosity.

    Only later, through following my curiosity and experiencing the thrill of learning it led to did this become clear.

    And, though you don't ask, I'd add:

    The one thing I learned is school that I remain grateful for learning is to: Question Authority.

    A near-foriegn language-level lesson for white upper middle-class suburban students like me, to absorb. In a year-long leadership development intensive our teacher encouraged us to embrace by looking beyond superficial cultural and institutional norms.

    It turned a light-bulb on for me. That there is always more behind the most assertively voiced authorities--from the social norms of my peers to the rhetoric of national and international politicians.

    Another adviser, years later offered and amendment to this that I now use: Question Everything.

    And, I've added on to his lesson my own: here is almost always a converse and myriad hidden minorities that sense(s), but is reluctant to speak of their concerns.

    Often students, in their "uninformed" naiveté, can sense, see and state this before others do.

    So, I've learned to not only question authority, but to embrace my intrinsic curiosity that asks simple questions like: What's going on? Where did it start? Where does this lead? Who is involved?

    And my favorite Q: Why? Which is usually the hardest to answer.

    Andrea
  • Nov 17 2011: Mathematics
  • Nov 17 2011: How to be/remain/become happy
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      Nov 18 2011: then I suppose u wanted to learn impossiblities
      • Nov 22 2011: I don't think so...I feel, that happiness and internal balance is much more important than just knowledge. Knowledge is a tool which helps us to acquire the others. I feel that the main goal of school was to teach us how to learn things without however taking care of how to create happy people.

        I don't think that it's impossible when you care about people and not about productivity
  • Nov 17 2011: there are loads of thing that i would like to learn ... but the one thing that i wish the most would be realisation that learning actually takes outside books by experiencing things yourself rather than reading books, learning takes place when you talk to different people, dare to walk on unknown paths and discover things which no one else did. when this process happens trust me you will never forget what you learnt . I would like teachers to help students realize this much earlier in their life.
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    Nov 17 2011: absolutely music. i really enjoy the music.but my voice drive me crazy. i need a teacher to tell me how to sing a song in a right way,so that i can sing the song to express my feeling .
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      Nov 17 2011: me too . music ,yeah,it is . especialy the folk music and country music..
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    Nov 15 2011: That life is very different to a classroom, that the best ideas come to mind outside of classrooms, meeting rooms and offices...
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    Nov 15 2011: social justice and esteem based values that are not always passed on in the family unit and community - so that children may learn how to protect themselves or seek protection from abuse of others in power positions.
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    Nov 15 2011: "something"
  • Nov 15 2011: I'm a student and I think we need learn courtesy to our friends, parents, teachers etc. Many students including me sometimes seem impolite but we didn't realize. Teachers just scolded us abruptly. Of course, Not all of them did this. Anyway, we should learn and think seriously our manners.
  • Nov 15 2011: Practicality!!!!!
  • Nov 15 2011: That sense of logic as in what makes logical line of thinking for one isn't the same for everyone. As an engineering grad, I had struggled with this notion for years and at times was offended as I mistook this difference in sense of logic in people of different background as questioning my intelligence when they would either ignore or not bother to understand the clear logic.
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    Nov 15 2011: In school we learn about discipline. Most important lesson that i learnt in school is the lesson of humanity. School is the only place where one can see that all humans are equal.
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    Nov 15 2011: personal development.
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    Nov 14 2011: COMMUNICATION.
    All means of communication.
    Where to get it, how to exploit it, how to sort it out, how to make your own mind, how to listen, when to speak, who to ask, what to read, how to teach, how to learn ......
    The ability to communicate properly is a beautiful way to solve every problem one might have.
  • Nov 14 2011: I wish i would have realised the value of EDUCATION.
  • Nov 14 2011: I would like a subject in school that really prepares you for life. Not jobs, money or future. One that teachs you about love, marriage and the responsability of bringing a new life to this world. That prepares you for the difficult moments of life and to enjoy the best ones. That open the teenagers mind at the exact time they need to not regreat when they are adults what they did, even though some one told them. A subject that teach you to add and not to break apart. A subject of life that that prepares you to be a person to be proud of, not only a successful business guy.
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      Nov 14 2011: For example, the human brain does not have the physical parts it needs for judgment until 25 years of growth--age 25. Therefore, the teenager should be very self-protective as he/she explores the unknown and independence.

      If we had known this 20 years ago, our son might be alive.
  • Nov 14 2011: I also think philosophy should be taught throughout grade school and high school so that children can learn to think for themselves and question the world around them.
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      Nov 14 2011: Not to diminish Bailey's thought, I would add ethics.
  • Nov 10 2011: I read through a lot of the earlier comments here and was surprised what many people expected schools to teach them. Althought some teachers may have personal motivation to teach compassion, morals, creativity, social skills, and the like to their students, those topics are normally not part of the curriculum beyond kindergarten. Those are things that are usually learned from family and friends. And the implication of most of the comments are that these things were learned outside of school, perhaps after secondary school or college, so perhaps they were learned at the appropriate time. Not everything has to be learned as a child.

    There is a common refrain that begins "If I knew then what I know now..." I would finish that by saying, "I would have missed an adventure."

    There aren't too many things that can't be learned at any time. Languages are easier to learn as a child and some sports are better learned before bodies become too fragile. Lessons that would have steered away from criminal activity can't be learned after the crime. But the people who are now saying that they wished they had leared someting in school are probably the same ones who, ten years from now, will be saying, "I wish I'd done that ten years ago."

    One thing I learned from a poem that I read in high school has served me well through my life. It's from the "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters in a poem called "Fiddler Jones." The poem ends:

    "I ended up with a broken fiddle—
    And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
    And not a single regret. "

    "No regrets." is not a philosophy that denies the past. It is a philosophy that looks forward. Don't do things that you would later regret. Don't miss out on something that you'd wish you'd done. And when you look back on what you learned or didn't learn in school, instead of regrets, just remember all of the amazing things that you learned when you weren't being taught.
  • Nov 10 2011: That life and experiencing the world will teach you more than any class ever will. And just because you want to be or do something doesn't mean that you can actually become that profession or do ________. It actually takes hard work and perseverance!
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    Nov 10 2011: That i would know the way to connect social and human spheres and studies, to technological spheres and studies. More focus on the philosophy of science and not just on the technical side itself. How to use technology in order to review, explorer, inspect and change social policies.
  • Nov 10 2011: To tell Truth to myself.
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      Nov 14 2011: For about 15 years, I have been saying and writing with confidence, "I don't know," when confronted with one of the profound unknowns. Just yesterday, my freind Cleve Wright asserted that when that is so, anything else is contradictory--to add, "But I think . . . ," ruins "I don't know." Maybe so.

      It has been a struggle, and I often say, "I have no knew thoughts: I just have not found the old ones or a contermporary who pointed me to them.

      I'm 68 and just today was reading for the first time Plato's "Charmides," about self-control or restraint. Here's a quotation attributed to Socrates:

      "Then the wise or temperate man, and he only, will know himself, and be able to examine what he knows or does not know, and to see what others know and think that they know and do really know; and what they do not know, and fancy that they know, when they do not. No other person will be able to do this. And this is wisdom and temperance and self-knowledge—for a man to know what he knows, and what he does not know."

      The idea of not persuading yourself to think what you do not think was expressed by Socrates or Plato 2400 years ago.

      But you have said it so elegantly: tell Truth to myself.
  • Nov 9 2011: I wish we would had learned in school to really use our brains and limbs too, to learn to think and practice and not reproduce or learn by heart all the theory. And what happened to "learning from your mistakes"? School punishes the students who make even 1 mistake instead of offering them a chance to reevaluate. We are human beings and we are not perfect and will never be, school should stop treating people like robots.
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      Nov 14 2011: I know exactly what you mean and probably this effects some more than other. I hate to observe daily that the teachers of my 12 year daughter expect her to memorise things they teach in a miserable way. For this people beeing a human recorder is most important, I can't see anything related to creativity, to human relations, holistic perceptance, setting priorities, aso. I truly believe that this system is damaging my childs life and future instead of contributing to its quality. I thought this a problem we have to face because living in Romania, but by reading this and other posts related to education, I got the feeling that most systems are rotten and outdated. In fact, we should enforce education tailored to meet the f u t u r e needs of our children, by forward thinking, in contradiction to this one which is struggling to react to present issues.
  • Nov 8 2011: I wished we learned that how to survive the politics embedded in the office. All our lives we are taught to speak our minds and express ourselves and back it up with facts data and statistics for optimal solution. But when it comes down to it (especially in South East Asia) it's all about who you know, and how well you can butter up top-level management.

    Theory and practical life is no longer at harmony and it's really a shame that the brightest bulb can be extinguished in a moments notice if one chooses to hold your belief/ground and not to follow the crowd.
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    Nov 8 2011: Wish they had presented James Allen's "As A Man Thinketh" and the concept that everything in life is a result of one's states of consciousness.
  • Nov 7 2011: There are many things you can teach yourself, riding a bike, maths, languages... what school provides is a perfect environment for learning group processes. I would have wanted to learn to be more empathic, more able to "read" other people, qualities that are of immmense importance, but are rarely taught or trained on a systematic level in school.
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    Nov 7 2011: life skills (social responsibility, budgeting, diet etc.) some of which are now being introduced into the UK curriculum... and to question everything without fear or loathing
  • Nov 6 2011: How to think for myself.
  • Nov 6 2011: All students need to learn how to ask their own questions, not just respond to teacher questions.

    We learned from parents in one low-income community that they were not participating in their children's education because "we don't even know what to ask." They named a huge obstacle not only to effective participation but also to learning itself. Eventually, we figured out how to teach this very sophisticated skill that had not been deliberately taught in school. It turns out to be a foundational skill and a transformational one. When we've taught it to high school drop-outs, they often say "Why didn't I learn this in high school? Indeed. Children often come into school adept at asking questions but leave 13 years later with a much atrophied question-asking muscle.
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    Nov 6 2011: Empathy. The ability of knowing people desires and hopes. Sometimes you meet people able to really understand you, and capable of encouraging you to do something you thought you couldn´t.. I wish i could help people on that way.
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      Nov 14 2011: EMpathy is what should be taught to any teachers first. Teaching without empathy is like driving with your eyes closed - it usually harms somebody ....
  • Nov 5 2011: I wish I had learned about good food and cooking
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    Nov 5 2011: I MISS BEING ABLE TO LEARN ABOUT MY FREEDOM.
    I would have wanted to attend a school more like this instead of spending so much of twelve years of my childhood and youth locked up in fear or boredom:

    I imagine a school that is attatched to a garden with high walls that creates an outdoor schoolroom.Trees, plants and small huts create interest and solace. Also a glass ‘conservatory’ where some lectures are held. Various animals like cats and dogs roam free. Good swings and the likes.

    Indoors the rooms have large fireplaces placed so that everyone can see and help keep the fires burning on cold days. Anybody can fetch firewood from a shed in the garden.
    Simple, great food and drink is prepared in a kitchen inside the school. The pupils fetch what they want from the kitchen in a basket and choose for themselves where they eat their ‘picnic’.
    Lecture, carpentry, mechanics, textile, art and gymnastics rooms have silent glass sliding doors.

    Pupils are encouraged to attend the different lectures in the different rooms when and for as long as they are interested. They are free to arrive and leave whenever they gain or loose interest in different activities. And free to roam the garden or study by themselves or sleep in their own tiny personal ‘shelter’ with shelves, a desk and a cot.

    In one room there is always an ‘adviser’ that can help pupils with any questions or problems they have. The adviser, for example, arranges personal appointments with the different lecturers so that the pupils might get further explanations to help their various lines of interest.

    I think this kind of school would allow more for each different inividual to follow their own pace, heart and mind.
  • Nov 5 2011: How to find my talents, and more importantly, my passions.
  • Nov 4 2011: To have learned that's education itself is a journey and not something to get through to get to the next step in life. This would have put a lot more perspective on learning. Maybe it takes age and experience to be able to realize this. As an educator, I see that the few students that learn for the sake of learning are much happier in their studies, less stressed if they fail and seem more prepared for what life offers.
  • Nov 4 2011: I could probably come up with quite a few things - hard to rank them though:

    - Financial literacy/economics. Econ was available in college, but having had no exposure to finance early on, I had no inkling of what it was about and why I'd want to learn about personal finance.

    - Mechanical repair/building trades. Our middle & high-school system exposed us, just barely, to working with your hands in "shop." That meant, in my case, following explicit instructions to craft a (poorly constructed) tool tray/key holder. It would have been a lot handier to have someone show me how to change a tire and the oil in a car, how to wire an outlet, how to patch drywall and hang a picture, how to use a drill, a dremmel tool, etc.

    - Information systems. I grew learning the DOS/Win OS through self-exploration, trial & error. The equipment available in school was laughably dated, slow and user-unfriendly, and there were barely any classes using them. Essentially, the computers were used as electronic versions of textbooks - doing math problems in the computer instead of on paper. By high school some kids who were very self-driven got into some mentored programming classes, but it wasn't mainstream and I didn't take advantage of it. In college the only computer instruction had to do with programming and computer science, not IT or applications. To this day most of my knowledge and skill is self-taught and picked up randomly along the way.
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    Nov 4 2011: I see a lot of posts here asking for schools to teach interpersonal skills. Is it fair to expect schools to teach interpersonal skills, managing relationships, etc.? To an extent, nobody knows that and everyone is learning. In fact, life itself (and life even at school) is a perfect playground to learn about all this precisely by making mistakes. Perhaps we're expecting too much from school if we're hoping they will teach that in classrooms, and perhaps we're already learning about it, in the very same classrooms (and outside them) simply by virtue of living. Just a thought...
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    Nov 4 2011: Dear Daniel,

    There are already many fabulous comments to your excellent thought provoking question but still I will weigh in with my own.
    I feel that the school system, here in Suriname, really does disserve to a person. I am not taking into account a few private schools that may have an extended curriculum. The things that really matter in life are definitely not taught in school.
    What is totally left out are things like:
    -Relationships: that your life is made up of them - parents, siblings, friends, co workers, bosses, politicians, teachers, spouses, children and so on. About their importance, their maintenance.
    -How to be a compassionate human being and doing so while being aware of the society and environment you live in and that we are all connected (now there is only focus on IQ, not EQ);
    -How to do for a living what you love to do not what you think or are told will get you money or power quickly ((the focus here is to get into Med school (only 30 are allowed each year), all other studies are treated as inferior));
    -How to explore and find what you love to do by realizing that there is a cornucopia of possible jobs/activities that you could choose from (as the wide variety in backgrounds of the brilliant TED speakers show) and that no job is inferior to the other;
    -How to deal with money (how to earn it, how and why to save some, spend some, give some);
    How to deal with death (in general but specifically your own and your family’s, how and why to care for elderly and ill people as part of the cycle of life).
    And maybe later on: -How to raise children (if you choose to have them) and how to be a good parent (it is taken for granted that you just know this);

    Regards,
    Astra
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    Nov 4 2011: Inter-personal Relationships and How people think and learn. I feel if we understood ourselves... human nature better, we would be able to not only learn better, but be able to interact better with others. Imagine the strides our society could make in peace and technology if we were taught how to be part of a bigger picture.
  • Nov 3 2011: !
    It would serve every human being if everyone from early age learned about how people function as a hole and, how to behave to make every other person feel the best they can. As love is the core of human existence, and as known, the greatest power of all, it should be part of a lesson.

    The lesson I would like to learn would be: "THE INTERACTIVE BEING"
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    Nov 3 2011: I would have profited by learning more about how to be strategic. I think chess might have helped me learn to approach entrenched and self interested opposition from another direction than head on! By the time I 'get it' that some people already know and don't care, they have seen me coming.
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    Nov 3 2011: Morality, the difference between right and wrong, and the best human way of improving my decision making skills.
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      Nov 4 2011: Emmanuel, I propose an argument of semantics, in that I believe you mean to say ethics rather than morality. I don't feel that morality has any place in public education. For an institution to decide what is right or wrong based on their standards and influence others to believe or adhere to those standards is appropriate for places such as boarding schools or military academies, but not for public institutions.

      The difference being that ethics are ingrained in our DNA- we know that it is right to love, and wrong to kill. However, the Catholic Church would say that the use of prophylactics is immoral, a concept which is debatable by others. Moral standards as taught in public schools today are frequently the rage of debate such as the pledge of allegiance, religion, uniforms and appearance, and sexual education as discussed by Letitia Falk, above.

      If you would agree that ethics rather, should have more emphasize, I would rally with you Emmanuel.

      In the words of Charlie Chaplin, from the film 'The Great Dictator,'
      "We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another."

      We are born knowing what is right and what is wrong. I believe we need not learn these skills, but rather study and practice them.
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        Nov 4 2011: Using your definitions, what I would have wanted then was this: the use of an objective and scientific study of ethics including its applications and explanations through the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and the arts. Then, through that kind of study of ethics, I would have wanted/expected that my school teach it so well that at least the moderate-hard moral lessons of life would have been as easy to learn as it was to learn reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. The end goal being that I could gauge my morality and moral decision making skills against an objectively determined standard and improve my morality by studying the standards and its growth process. That's what I would have wanted in school, hardcore reading, writing, and 'rithmetic about "ethics".
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          Nov 5 2011: I understand now Emmanuel. I believe that the course you are describing is taught at the university level because of the complexities of such a topic. Certain elements of ethics can be found in other aspects of education such as business ethics but not with the level of implementation you are discussing.
          I think your wish of using organized ethical education as a measure of comparison to improve the standard of conduct in all other aspects of living, is a good idea.
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          Nov 14 2011: Emmanuel and Timothy, I have studied your topic for fifteen years and have this comment.

          Ethics is a difficult and worthy course.

          Beyond that, you are better off reading the classic thinkers' records and excercising your own judgment. The problem with formal education is at least threefold: 1) universites present the information in the most expensive way possible, 2) each professor has his agenda, and 3) no one wants to evaluate. However, you are very capable of evaluating on your own.

          The best avenue is self-study.for example, starting with Wikipedia's article on philodophy then consulting the "External Links" they provide.
      • Nov 4 2011: We don't know that it is wrong to kill. It happens all the time. People do it for sport. We do it as part of business - for example the pharmaceutical and asbestos industries.

        Right and wrong is always context specific. While we can have ideals about how the world should be and how everyone should behave, evaluating what is right or wrong is not always straight forward. In many cases, the best you can hope for is that your actions have not harmed or contributed to harm based on the information you have at hand.

        For instance, I only buy free range eggs. I would never knowingly support a battery hen operation. After buying a particular brand for 12 months I saw a documentary on TV that reported the brand I used were deceptive and had been labeling battery hen eggs as free range eggs. So all the time I thought I had been doing the right thing, I was unknowingly supporting something I am opposed to.

        In my mind there is no doubt that buying battery hen eggs is wrong. But the majority of people in Australia seem to not share my view. Even my sister doesn't share my view. She always buys battery hen eggs and the majority of the eggs on the supermarket shelves are battery hen eggs. Yet I "know" buying battery hen eggs is "wrong".

        Taking it a step further. If someone picks some eggs from the supermarket shelf that are labelled as free range, but they are one of the ones that the documentary showed as not being free range, is it right or wrong to let that person know? I am grateful that I know so that I can now avoid these brands masquerading as free range. But this doesn't mean that others want to know. Some people actually get upset when advised the eggs they are putting in their trolley are not free range eggs. They would prefer to think they are buying free range than know they are not so they can choose an alternative.

        I am grateful the education I received helped me to evaluate the reasons I consider something to be right or wrong.
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          Nov 5 2011: It seems like you are suggesting that because we may not be able to achieve a 100% certainty on a right-wrong issue, that we shouldn't bother studying it. We don't have 100% verifiable truths in anything. Some would argue mathematics, or computer science, or philosophy, and arguably those truths are 100% but we still don't have all of those.

          If there are context specific answers to questions of values, morality, or right and wrong, should we not try and find the contexts? Define the contexts? Simulate moral/ethical/right-wrong situations where we can verify applied contexts before implementing them?

          You buy free range eggs, and I buy the middle brand between cheap & organic, if I have to make a call then I pick organic. Are either of us wrong? Are either of us right? Can't we write it down somewhere that the manner in which we buy eggs should be at least environmentally conscious and necessarily concerned with what he/she can afford?

          The question really is: Are there times where we can know for sure or with reasonable certainty whether something is wrong? I think that question has a lot of merit and could definitely score a curriculum starting from kindergarden through 12th grade. Maybe it's a good idea to tell kids not to be bullies during their 1st grade ethics class?
      • Nov 5 2011: No, I don't mean that we shouldn't study it. In fact, I think the opposite. I think we should constantly be evaluating our actions and how they define us. But we can't say "killing is wrong" or "informing people is right". We must always do our best to be conscious of the context.

        The last line of my previous post - that "I am grateful the education I received help me to evaluate the reasons I consider something to be right or wrong" is about that. I don't think it is possible to define every single context completely - which is much of the reason our legal system has so many failures - so people must be responsible for evaluating each situation as they find it. At school I spent six months studying aborigines and slavery, and rather than being specifically about history, our teacher took us through discussions to help us evaluate how we felt about the ethics of slavery and how people are treated.

        With the free range eggs conversation, my objection to battery hens is in the treatment of the animals and nothing to do with environment. So again, we have a difference as to the perception of what is right and wrong. Some people believe it is economically responsible to do what is best for the economy and that delivers the greater good, while others believe there is no excuse for the cruelty of battery hen farming or harming the environment.

        I would love to enforce my view of right and wrong on everybody because, of course, I feel my morals are correct and right. But so does everybody else, including those who disagree with me.

        I agree kids shouldn't bully but I think it should go deeper than that. I think there should be discussion around why it isn't right to bully. What are the consequences? How would you feel if you were bullied? And while you and I might think it is wrong to bully, there are fathers out there who like to see their sons "being a man". It is known that psychopaths are very successful in the work place - success through bullying.
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          Nov 5 2011: I'm not sure what you mean by enforcing your views. I don't pretend to tell people what decision to make when faced with one. What I am saying is that it is entirely possible to improve a person's decision making capacity, in terms of the difference between right and wrong. We may not reach 100% accuracy, we may pick the "wrong" thing every once in a while, but surely we can get better at it?

          Maybe it is possible to taxonomize decision making contexts. For example, a person kills a man in a shop. Sure, circumstances could arise where we would permit that kind of killing but generally speaking wouldn't we frown on shooting people in shops. Could we say the same for a decapitation by samurai sword in a shop? Could we say that it is the same as telling a seven year old child that he cannot be the president because he is a minority?

          Should that kind of declaration to a child be in the same category as the shooter and the samurai? Why? Why not? When could it be possible that saying that to a child would equate to murder? Could it ever? Is that even a good question? Would understanding the degrees of relativity between these contexts make conversations easier and more productive?

          The very questions you are discussing about bullying, could be had in a classroom. What I don't understand is why everyone is afraid to use the words right-wrong in these quasi-relative contexts. Wouldn't it be possible to take those bully questions and turn them into questions about history or the social sciences? Couldn't we analyze historical movements in terms of rightness-wrongness?

          There will always be people who choose the wrong things, that's the nature of choice. It wouldn't be a decision if you couldn't choose otherwise. But is it really impossible to say that we can't teach one another to make better right-wrong choices? Can't we do that from a young age? If doing that could improve our chances of survival then isn't school the best place for it?
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          Nov 5 2011: Yes Julie! We can definitely say when something is right or wrong! Ethics are defined in human beings as right and wrong. It is wrong to rape. Every single human being on earth (except sociopaths and psychopaths, which suffer medical illnesses) know that it is wrong to rape another human being. This is unethical behavior. Even in what societies there have been where rape is an acceptable moral practice through perversion and justification, it could be argued that some level of mental awareness at the act being conducted against another human is wrong, which is why the women in these societies have sought help.

          What you are discussing about free range chickens is a moral issue that you practice. This is something YOU feel is wrong. That does not mean that everyone knows it is wrong. And even still, if you made more people aware of these things, they may begin to adopt your morals.

          The concept that one child does not know it is wrong to bully another, is fallacy. To inflict pain, humiliation, or sadness on another human being is unethical, and this is written in our DNA. The influence that you discuss about a father wanting his son to 'be a man' is a perversion of the natural way. If you had a hard discussion with that father and asked him if he knew it was wrong for his son to intimidate another colleague to do his work for him, he would know on some level that this is true, whether he admitted it or not.
      • Nov 5 2011: I should have clarified my statement about enforcing my view of right and wrong on others. I am not suggesting you are trying to enforce your view of right and wrong on anyone else. That was a reference to the idea of teaching children about absolute rights and wrongs. Who decides what is "right" and what is "wrong"? It is a well accepted tenet in psychology that generally people do what they think is "right", even though their logic will be confusing to others. A man who beats his wife generally has the belief that she deserved it and that he was right to do so. Rapists have many reasons for believing they are entitled. Hitler believed firmly in the rightness of his actions.

        There is what is called a "Background of Obviousness" and this varies incredibly between cultures and this is where a lot of "right" and "wrong" comes from. It also varies between groups within societies. So while one group will have one set of absolutes regarding what is right and what is wrong, another group will see things differently. For most people, their beliefs about right and wrong appear to be obvious, and they find it baffling that others can't see it. I don't know that there are any universally accepted "rights" and "wrongs". You may call it "perversion" when someone does not see it the same way as you, but that does not change the reality that there are whole societies on our planet that believe there are instances where rape is not only justified, but appropriate.

        When it comes to ethics, I think we should encourage children to think, discuss and evaluate, so that when new ethical dilemmas arise, they have a toolkit they have practiced and can apply to the same situation.

        There is a Ted Talk on oxytocin (sp?) and how it impacts ethical behavior. Worth a watch.
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          Nov 6 2011: Julie I think we are saying a lot of the same things in different ways.

          The concept of the background of obviousness is the same thing I was discussing about the societies that accept rape in Africa. However, within these societies, the women have reached out to the outer world for help. Here we see that through the societal acceptance and justification, we see that the more basic instinct of what is wrong prevails.

          I believe that all human beings are born with a basic natural instinct for what is right or wrong, and everything else is an adjustment from that point, with a limitless number of factors and influences answering the question 'Do I, or do I not?'

          On your last point of teaching children to think, discuss, and evaluate. I couldn't agree more. If I understand correctly you are proposing we encourage them to develop their own opinion based on their natural feeling toward the situation- and not simply on what someone else has told them. If we could truly isolate this idea, we might learn a thing or two about the development of human sexuality.

          I have watched the talk on oxytocin also, I thought it was interesting. I personally fear the application of that type of study though, in regards to potential medicines. I get anxiety if I take too much cough syrup haha.
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        Nov 6 2011: Neither ethics nor morals are written in DNA. Morality is relative to one's neurology, culture, peer-groups, and countless other influential circumstances.

        Furthermore, bullying is a generally natural and harmless form of social learning for children who are at a fundemental age of development. It usually becomes problematic with the interference of adults who don't understand or remember the emotional and mental climate of being young. Im not saying bullying is good or ought to be left uncorrected, but that it should not have priority over other health issues. Children are actually quite resistant and adaptable, and I would rather see parents guiding their children than trusting school personel to see to their childrens emotional well-being.

        I observed that you and Emmannuel both were rather agrumentative toward Julie and did not seem to listen to what she was saying. Demonstrating "confirmation bias"
        "If you had a hard discussion with that father and asked him if he knew it was wrong for his son to intimidate another colleague to do his work for him, he would know on some level that this is true, whether he admitted it or not. "
        This is called anecdotal evidence and it is pretty much useless to everyone in the scientific community. Like Julie said, it is the human condition to validate our actions deep within by way of seemingly logical reasoning. Humans have an incredible ability to justify just about anything.
        So, while you say the fictional father probably knows he's in the "wrong", chances are he has in some complex way justified his actions and those of his son to himself. To continue on an anecdotal path: he probably would feel actual guilt only if someone he respected were to chastise him, or if he were to be ostracized by his peer group. Human opinion is complex and leveled and affected (again) by many aspects in circumstance.

        In layman's termsAllow me to lose some of my grace - Some people... just...dont want their kids to be pussies. =/
        ---
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          Nov 6 2011: Sam you stated your personality is partially a product of genetic heritage from your parents, so you support the idea of hereditary behaviorism.

          We are all born with certain basic awarenesses that are necessary for our complex interactions to ensure our survival as a species. Wanton killing or maiming of one another would interfere with this, therefore, no one needs to teach us on a societal level that harming each other is wrong- we are born with that knowledge.

          Sam you said "Furthermore, bullying is a generally natural and harmless form of social learning for children who are at a fundamental age of development."

          The First Lady, Michelle Obama, might disagree. The platform of her "Let's Move" campaign targets the real harm caused by bullying, in specific.

          Richard Gale, an australian boy, bullied a larger classmate for quite a while. Eventually the larger classmate picked him up off the ground and slammed him into the pavement. This event which was filmed by another classmate and posted to youtube.com spurred a high level of awareness discussion worldwide for the dangers of bullying.

          And I am confused by the rest of what you discuss. I referenced an anecdote by Julie, which you cited as anecdotal evidence, (and useless at that) and then followed it with anecdotal evidence.
          "So, while you say the fictional father probably knows he's in the 'wrong,' chances are he has in some complex way justified his actions and those of his son to himself."

          Interesting how that works.
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          Nov 6 2011: I didn't mean to say that we needed a class to create "wimps", nor does the topic relate solely to bullying. Things like standing up for yourself, standing up for others, understanding your ideas and emotions and the difference between the two. All of that information is priceless to a human life. Now, whether the child chooses to be a bully or not to stand up for himself is a different issue. The idea is to give them enough information, tailored to their age, so that they can make the best decision a 7 year old can make.

          It doesn't matter to the nature of the class what decision the child makes for himself. We won't ever be able to give a 100% answer to something that involves choice because that would make it not be a choice. If there was only one right answer to a question then it isn't a "choice". That is the whole point of right & wrong, to make the right choice, and to do that you need information. Why not teach that information school?

          If a child is presented with information about "bullying" and he at least somewhat understands what it means to be a bully or not be one then he is in a better position to make the decision. I expect that more often than not children will understand and decide not to be bullies or will stand up for themselves or will have better emotional control, etc. Whether the parent does or does not want the child to be a "wimp" is actually completely irrelevant because the child is the one making the decision and the school is only providing information.

          If the parent has a problem with a decision the child makes, that is his issue to take up with their child. I would imagine that the father would present the child with more information or bully the child into being like daddy. However, either of those cases is completely off topic and irrelevant. What we're talking about is providing children with solid decision making skills and information in school, not how their parents will react to the curriculum.
        • Nov 8 2011: Neither ethics nor morals are written in DNA. Morality is relative to one's neurology, culture, peer-groups, and countless other influential circumstances - well said Sam.
    • Nov 9 2011: Teach people to recognize and develop the process by which they decide whether things are 'right' or 'wrong.' It would be progress even if children were taught that such processes exist, so that they could return to the idea on their own. The first I heard of the study of ethics or was introduced to any ethical decision-making tools was grad school. Why not kindergarten?
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish I had learned "how much fun learning can be". Unfortunately I literally went to the old school of thought - where knowledge was beaten into you as a reluctant participant.
  • Nov 3 2011: how to keep learning out of school
    • Nov 4 2011: Hi , in this day and age, that is the perfect post!
      How ever , school and education is a must. Too bad, that this world, has lost that idea.
      Respect to Ya Janice. :) :)
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish I had learned how to distinguish between credible media and media designed to sway opinions and appeal to base human insecurities and desires. "Media Literacy" might be the disciplinary tag or course title, but a skeptical, analytical approach to the sea of media surrounding children ought to be woven in to all curricula, beginning in pre-school.

    The number of commercials that children are subjected to is frightening, but it's more than advertising. It's editorial and advocacy viewpoints masked by glittering self-interest, false role models, and phony testimonials.

    I'm a 30-year classroom veteran, and can tell you that most parents believe children are getting value-neutral facts and skills from their textbooks and instructional materials. What they worry about is a teacher trying to influence their child. That worry is misplaced--what all children need is a set of tools that helps them determine from whose viewpoint media originates, and what's in it for them.
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I had been shown how to find satisfaction in the creative things I do for myself, rather than being made to think that only by finding a career will I find life satisfaction. Which has turned out to be very much not true. Much more focus on the pleasures of creativity.
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    Nov 3 2011: Basic life skills... paying rent, taxes, self employment, budgeting. managing your independence.
    I found myself out on my own when I had not long turned 16 and I did not have a clue how to look after myself let alone get myself to college or into full time employment. This disadvantage slowed my progress to getting onto a career path and becoming self dependant by at least 10 years.
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish it had been brought home to me from the beginning that I am of above average intelligence and have some unique high level aptitudes. As it was it was a long hard road to find out. It many ways it changes everything.
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I'd been taught how to handle money sensibly, what it meant to defer earnings to cover future expenses, and how investments really work - i.e. they can lose you money. I also wish I'd been given opportunities to explore subjects I was interested in and ignore those I wasn't.
    • Nov 3 2011: I think that for most, learning how to budget comes quick...you have to pay for what you have to pay for, and if the funds are insufficient, you find a higher paying job and/or a second job and so forth or the car doesn't get fixed, you go hungry, or the roof disappears,etc. Self-discipline is an essential need.
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        Nov 3 2011: This model for self discipline has too many dependencies to the individual's surrounding circumstances to be of any use. It's like saying if your unhappy cheer up... Life is not as black and white as that my friend .
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      Nov 3 2011: I totally agree with you Leonie. David, although budgeting may come quick to some, it did not come quick to me. I also don't think it's as easy as you paint it. Finding the time for that second job doesn't always work out. Why not get the skills beforehand? What's wrong with learning some tricks first?
  • Nov 3 2011: financial education and emotional intelligence education should be mandatory in public schooling.
  • Nov 3 2011: Inspiration and the freedom to think and explore my creativity rather than to receive training to "fit in" to the system to be a productive, efficient, and obedient work drone.
  • Nov 3 2011: I'd say Passion.

    I grew up in an education system that gloried in Bankers, Architects, Engineers and Doctors. If you desired or even hinted on anything outside this box, you shunned and quite literally lectured out of it.
  • Nov 3 2011: No good deed goes unpunished.
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish schools taught the art of questioning and critical examination. Most schools teach everything as a set of facts. But I wish they teach skills that can be mastered to learn anything possible in a logical way. If they had taught us the art of asking useful, and pointed questions, I'd have enjoyed school a lot more, and most of us would be doing more useful things today than blindly doing things we're told to do.
  • Nov 3 2011: Human relations for everyday living.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes, more knowledge concerning human relations for everyday living would be very helpful, especially on how to respect other people, how to treat other people, relationships between the sexes, and how to properly raise children. The world would be a much better place if people were more informed on these matters. Of course, the primary place to learn about such things is the home, but there should also be some attention devoted to them in school.
      • Nov 3 2011: I think when Drama is taught properly, it covers a lot of these basic human relations skills.
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish that the focus of my early education was on asking questions and not simply on producing answers. Being able to question myself and what is around me is my most valued skill. I believe it has made me a better person. I wish that I could have learned it when I was younger. Teaching the young to value answers --correct answers-- stifles creativity and teaches rigidity, i.e. non-malleability. Learning one's own ignorance is a wonderful gift, but we teach children that they must know the right answer, the answers of the elders, or else be punished. How silly...
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I'd been taught that what I think matters.
  • Nov 3 2011: It's the budget in many districts that prevent aides to teachers with classroom sizes larger than 20. It's ridiculous. Daycare businesses have to have one adult caretaker to every three children in their establishment, last I looked, but yet we inundate teachers with 15 or more children in one room or trailer and expect them to be effective educators. I agree class sizes should be a hell of a lot smaller, say 15 - 20max. and lets get some teacher's aides in there to help with classroom management, help groups for those students who are needing the extra attention and support, and who can get some of this daily paperwork off the teacher's backs so they can concentrate on developing lessons and carving out 'getting to know you' time with their students. Also, if we let students be more proactive in their schooling, they will feel empowered to excel rather than sit and be spoon fed.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had a Current Events course at my school, none of my friends like that sort of thing so it is hard to find a decent chat at my school about these things. I chat with my teachers though, but its not the same.
  • Nov 2 2011: That "different" isn't necessarily "bad."
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    Nov 2 2011: Mandarin.
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      Nov 2 2011: Yes. I strongly agree.
    • Nov 2 2011: 5-10 years later your answer might be Tamil or Bahasa Indonesia.

      I do agree that it's easier to learn Mandarin while you were young (it's my first language) because it's a lot harder to memorize the 5000 + Chinese characters years after you have been trained to process languages in 26 characters.
  • Nov 2 2011: Investing and money management. How to budget and invest like the rich.
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    Nov 2 2011: Finances.
  • Nov 2 2011: ahaha....School teaches you to do what others tell you, more than to think for yourself and activate your own guidance and personal passion and sense of empowerment. My list would be way too long. I wish SCHOOL had Schooled me less and gave me more freedom and opportunity to pursue my own interests and learn real life skills. I wish school was more meaningful, applicable, fun and flexible.... instead of something you are forced to do. I don't believe we'd be struggling in this country as much, and we'd be happier. Supposedly USA doesn't rank high on the happiness list, and only some of us know how to truly think for ourselves....how convenient for government and big business:)

    I've learned way more outside of school, school felt like an obligatory waste of time mostly once I hit Jr. High.....good things did come out of school, but damn it was serious disappointment for an intelligent, creative, independent-minded person such as myself. I left halfway through sophomore year and did independent study so I could take classes that interested me at the local Community College and have the freedom to organize my own day.

    I appreciate the thread....I wish school had asked us what we wanted to learn in school!
    • Nov 2 2011: I hear ya, and I wish school would have helped students to see what they are good at instead of having us all do the exact same thing. Wouldn't it have been nice to know what each of us was best at? Then we might know what kind of career to pursue and what to do next.
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    Nov 2 2011: Being creative. All time when I was in school, I was asked to byheart the subject instead of understanding it and picturising it and enjoying it. I am very good in picturising anything but coudlnt put in exact terms given in the book when I took exams. I used to describe or put what I learnt in a creative way which was not appreciated and hence resulted in low grades and was marked as dull/average student.
  • Nov 2 2011: Looking back, and having raised 3 young adults, I truly believe philosophy is missing from most school curricula. I wish it was fundamental to our learning, and not some kind of afterthought tacked onto curricula as an elective.
  • Nov 2 2011: I would like to have had a class that taught about normal people who achieved financial success through delayed gratification, with emphasis on not using credit for anything except college education, a house, medical expenses, and starting a business.
  • Nov 2 2011: Today school hands you a 300 year old skeleton of a fish, rather than teaching you how to fish.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to make a budget, balance a checkbook, and understand the implications of credit.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish my education had been 80% developing skills, and 20% acquiring knowledge. It seemed like it was this way up until 3 grade, and then school turns into 5% developing skills and 95% acquiring knowledge. Knowledge is useless with skills to apply it towards. I think why you learn so much information and then forget two days later is because the knowledge does not apply to any skills you have and does not fit in to what you value in life (What people value in life is there own choice, and I don't think it can be standardized).

    I don't think school kills creativity. I think you develop a better idea of what is possible and what you can achieve with your skills, and realized your old dreams seem impossible with the skills and abilities you have. Or they are downright impossible and/or stupid, so you don't care to think about them anymore.

    I.e. I just read a story I wrote in first grade about a squirrel fighting a bear with a light saber. I don't think I've lost that creativity, I just think creating those stories is a waste of time and has no further applications beyond having fun for awhile.

    When you're a kid, creativity is "easy" because you don't care about whether what you're creating has any importance or real world application. When you get older creativity is "hard" because you're struggling to create something meaningful to the world.

    If schools developed your skills, such as reading faster and with better comprehension, writing fluidly and clearly, using tools to design and build things, drawing accurately, etc. You would find you have a much greater capacity to create something meaningful for the world. I don't think learning impressionist painters or reading Catcher and the Rye rewards anyone beyond the handful students out of 30-40 who get enjoyment out of it.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish teachers cared about me learning/understanding the stuff and not so much just memorizing history, geography, etc.
  • Nov 2 2011: Music. I wish I had learned singing, music theory, and any kind of instrument. But in an education system that was focused on memorizing, and also on learning something "serious" and useful, there was no opportunity. So even though I had a deep inclination to music, nobody paid attention.

    Unfortunately, with music, if you are not born in a musicians family, chances are that your interest to music will not be taken seriously and be supported. I guess, the same goes for arts.
  • Nov 2 2011: Elementary school during the early 60s. I wish I had known that I was as smart as I am; that my behavior was a response to boredom, being "different" and out of synch with the other kids. Instead of "not working to her potential" and "always moving and talking" I wish I'd been recognized, challenged and nurtured as someone who just perceived things differently and independently. I wish I'd learned to appreciate who I was.
    • Nov 2 2011: Sadly gifted ed is hard to find these days. I was one of those students as well. Good news is you don't outgrow giftedness. It's not a childhood thing, but a lifelong one. Check out some of the work by James T. Webb on adult gifted. It helps even now.

      Oh, and if you have children in the future they may also be gifted. Be sure to find them education early that includes social and emotional needs.
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    Nov 2 2011: Oh, same here in Australia... heheh! I wish my schooling had been based on INQUIRY. I am recently trained as a school teacher, and universities now encourage this as a learning method. Let the children formulate their own questions, and then help them find the answers.
    The schools have not really caught up, however, and still tend to treat children as 'empty vessels' that need to be filled with testable knowledge. It is much more fun for all concerned if learning is an adventure rather than a chore!
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    Nov 2 2011: I feel our elementary was relying too much on just remembering things, when I for example learn better by understanding how everything works, and why. Especially in mathematics, chemistry and physic, they asked us to memorize all kinds of formulas but never explained deeply why they work like they do, what real life applications they have.

    Otherwise I can't complain. I found Ken Robinson's talk interesting, but then again he focused on UK and US. In our averige Finnish small village school there was enough drama courses, art education, music and in many classes they encouraged independent research type of works and group works. There was even some dancing, basics of waltz and Finnish tango.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish personal finance and responsible fiscal planning had been taught in school. It was never even a discussion in any classroom. I also found that I learned to effectively gauge what it was the teacher wanted, so I made good grades, but until I went to college, I never learned to actually think nor appreciate the intrinsic value of my own thoughts and opinions.
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    Nov 2 2011: How to draft a contract.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to deal with broken family's and the relationships that life throws at us.
    • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had been assigned a "foster parent" to even ask once in a while if I did my homework! Kids with no parental support complete fall through the cracks in schools.
  • Nov 2 2011: 1. I wish I had learnt a practical step by step guide as how to apply and go through university, what to expect etc, as well as a practical guide as to how you go about getting a job in a specific field.
    2. I wish I had learnt how to network properly.
    3. I wish I had studied more of the arts and sports (unfortunately the school I went to did not offer much in this area)
  • Nov 2 2011: Hi there, I went to school in Hungary. I wish I had learnt more music, to play the violin. Also what it means to have children and how to handle them etc. And how to cook.
    They did teach me the this and that but somehow I always got the how from it. (have phd in maths)
    I did on the other hand learn how to learn, so I am indeed learning all this plus more. Started the violin at age 30 and did a grade 8 after just 7 years.
    In fact I love learning.
    Love,
    Eva
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    Nov 2 2011: I would have also liked to learn US history from a foreign perspective.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I'd learned how to keep house as taught by FlyLady.net!
  • Nov 2 2011: That the school itself, the society I was entering and the world economic system behind are all built on fear, that this fear is now so endemic, ruthless, automated and unjust as to threaten mankind's very existence, and that there will always be those who, rather than looking for alternatvies, are conceited enough to think they can get it under control.
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    Nov 2 2011: If anything, schools should teach you to think for yourself, and not be dependent on someone else for answers.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I had been taught how to learn. I have my own children in school now and it strikes me that schools just dish out information and the children are left to their own devices as to how they remember it.

    Evolution - properly with nothing left out.
    Game theory

    EDIT: Try to be a little better each day. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
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    Nov 2 2011: Everyday tasks (how to write a check, how to change a tire, how to cook a proper meal, etc.)
  • Nov 2 2011: That cognitive intelligence isn't everything. That people can be really bright and really stupid at the same time. That cognitively brilliant people can also be lunatics. That "ordinary people" often possess skills and talents much more useful than mine. (Don't call me if you need your carburetor fixed.) That social and emotional intelligence are not necessarily related to book intelligence. Don't think you're so smart just because you're smart. Understanding these things earlier might have saved me some heartache and made life more fun.
  • Nov 2 2011: The importance of being financially responsible.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to work with your emotions - applied emotional intelligence. I think being emotionally illiterate is what's holding more people back than lack of knowledge.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish teachers at school had been teaching common sense and generally teach children to question whatever they are told and taught as opposed to telling them to just learn and repeat without thinking. I see people everywhere i go unable to think for themselves, happy doing whatever they are told is good as opposed to being themselves and doing what they like without caring about who thinks what of them.
    • Nov 2 2011: That would have been nice to have a teacher realize that formal education could be reciprocal -- that his/her students could also teach them to be better teachers simply by listening to their students question EVERYTHING!
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        Nov 2 2011: Having a real rapport with the students and listThis is however difficult when schools keep adding more and more students to each class ever year, it's like they purposely do this to stop real conversation and ideas exchanging from taking place.
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    Nov 2 2011: If only we all learned more about morality and how life is precious, learn more about love. Then probably, this world will be a better place, without loads of murderer around. We all can learn to respect life more and others.
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    Nov 2 2011: Trust your instinct and realize adults can be wrong.
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    Nov 2 2011: i wish i had the opportunity to think and learn globally. understanding more about modern society across the world. especially another language, like chinese or korean, not the typical european and classical languages...
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    Nov 2 2011: That emotional intelligence is as important as traditional math, science, social studies, or arts and humanities.
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    Nov 2 2011: ... that adults are seekers, too.
  • Nov 2 2011: Basic finances - the true cost of credit, benefits of extra payments, how to fill in a basic tax return. A grounding in budgetting!
  • Nov 2 2011: That technical knowledge is not terribly important and can be acquired if needed. What's important is to have a clear, orderly mind with enough general knowledge to be able to use concept to reach your goal. But what's REALLY important is to have the willpower to implement it and the skills to communicate on it. The best theories in the world remain only theories if people don't actually put them into practice and manage to win people's support for them.

    Most Schools don't never try to put people in situations where they will have to implement an idea; teaching the art of persuasion has all but disappeared from most programs. We emphasize too much acquiring technical knowledge, and we forget entirely about nurturing natural inclinations, intuition, passion, and effective communication. We create technical clones that can be easily sized up by companies and ignore what individuals less constrained by the "mold" would bring to the mix. In doing so, we deprive ourselves of a wealth of action and innovation. And we hold back the vast majority of the population. What a waste...
  • Nov 2 2011: The Truth.
  • Nov 2 2011: I agree wholeheartedly with some of the other members below ... financial literacy. After some very immature years of indiscrimate spending and not saving, my husband and I lament often on how we wish we didn't have to play catch-up so aggressively now. There is a great show on Canadian tv called "Til Debt do Us Part" that could have helped so in our youth since learning to budget and plan was not in our curriculum or vocabulary as young adults. With all we hear on the economic woes worldwide, the public school system will hopefully add a more practical economics program that helps youth learn young how they can effectively use credit, budget, and save to suit their future needs and dreams.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned how to stand up to bullying and people (at home and in school) constantly putting me down and criticizing me, so that I could have followed a life path that I really wanted to.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to be an entrepreneur. Being able to take your ideas and make money and a living would remove our dependance on getting a job.
    How to manage finances- college is a mine field full of credit card companies trying to sign you up for a credit card without explaining the consequences of using it. I think I got my first credit card because they were offering a free shirt for signing up. It was laundry day, a clean shirt is worth a lot more on Laundry day...
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    Nov 2 2011: Great question!
    I wish I had learned better communication skills earlier in my life - both written and verbal.

    It's taken some time to realize this on my own:
    Intelligence and academic knowledge do not ensure success.
    Effective communication is what separates the geeks from the millionaires,
    the bookkeepers from the CFOs,
    the great thinkers from the famous thinkers.
    Good communication skills can almost guarantee success, no matter what field you choose.

    When anyone asks my greatest strength and my greatest weakness, I site my communication skills in both categories. It's the one thing that's helped me get this far, and it's the one thing I need to improve upon the most.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned how to deal with fear, envy and loneliness... with my negative feelings... They all came and surprised me... it took a long time for me to figure out how to knock them dead... am still working on some!
  • Nov 2 2011: Critical and Lateral Thinking: Let me explain:
    We learn how to regurgitate information, but we rarely get taught techniques for applying this knowledge in new and creative ways. Stepping outside of ourselves and seeing the situation for what it is when we are not a part of it. Archimedes talked about levers when he said: "I can move the moon, I just need a place to stand". The process of seeking and finding such a place to stand should be taught in schools.
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    Nov 2 2011: That school doesn't matter. One assignment or exam doesn't mean anything - it's how you accumulate and understand things in a larger sense. You can always go look up what planck's constant is, but remembering what you use it for is the most important part.
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    Nov 2 2011: Public speaking. It's true that so much more can be taught to kids about life, health, the world, managing their finances, getting a job - but the thing that can be the biggest shock when you start a job is that you're expected to speak in front of groups. Even piping up in front of a 5 person meeting of semi-strangers can cause real distress. I'm sure you could get more experience and insight while at school that could help.
  • Nov 2 2011: personal finance!! i created an account just to post this because i feel very strongly about this subject. my lack of financial education as a youngster still haunts me to this day.
  • Nov 2 2011: A deeper understanding of Sexual Education is necessary. Specifically, the understanding of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, etc is often ignored for whatever reason. It exists in reality therefore it should be learned and discussed.
  • Nov 2 2011: I am still in school, so there is still the possibility of learning the things that I would find most helpful.

    I would like to learn more about how money works. I understand the outlook that the teachers, intentionally or not, give to the students of 'get a safe, secure job with benefits and a good retirement plan'. But it seems that recent events have changed the economic structure so that this no longer leads to survival, let alone prosperity. Our family has been fortunate enough to stumble across some sources of education that do address these issues by describing bits and pieces of policy and world events, but there are many events left unaddressed, and the facts and viewpoints are always given in a biased fashion.

    I think that the US could benefit very strongly from having a stronger financial and economic education and understanding of how business is conducted. This knowledge would certainly help prevent further mistakes, such as mass-reliance on jobs for income and the various problems of defaulting on different types of loans. This is what I wish would be taught in school.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I was encouraged and given the opportunity to participate in technical and design projects. Being a girl, It was never expected of me to stretch my knowledge further in innovative fields and now I find that I'm learning things that I could have learned at 17.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned math in the context of global economics and also graphic design and computer programming. I use math every day now and it took me until adulthood to explore it's creative potential. If that had been opened to me at the age of around 11 or 12 I think I'd have greater versatility. I also wish I'd been exposed to conversational foreign language workshops as a child in a fun and social way.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish that I had learned in school how to figure out what I wanted to "do" for my work/career; to have some education on what sorts of things are out there, or at least how to find out about them myself. I also wish that I had learned, in school, how to study, how to make the most of my time there. Too much is assumed about kids!
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned to think critically and analytically, and actually did things, not just absorb information. There should have been more art,science experiments, life skills, field trips (to conservations, zoos, art museums), a class garden, room for critical thinking in history and English...not this is what it is, you do not get to experience it firsthand, but you better remember it, or you fail.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish we'd learned about how wide the possibilities are for future careers - in creative sectors and the arts especially. I'm only just realising through looking at other people's past stories... that life is really what you make it! The possibilities are endless!
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    Nov 2 2011: There's something I wish I HADN'T learned in school, and that's how to divert myself when bored. I was in a class with a very wide ability range and the teacher couldn't set the standard and variety of work needed to keep all the pupils interested. There wasn't much opportunity to do something challenging or absorbing when you finished the set work. As a result I developed habits like reading books that didn't particularly interest me, doing routine exercises in subjects I already knew perfectly well. In short, in the absence of opportunities to do something worthwhile, I learned the habit of doing things to make time pass. Years later, I catch myself doing things that pass the time and divert my mind rather than working on what really interests me. With easy access to the internet, I wish I had never learned that habit!
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      Nov 17 2011: I wonder if there is an expert in avoiding boredom. Not traditional boredom, but the kind that comes from lack of stimulation in a controlled environment. Does that make sense?
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        Nov 17 2011: It makes a lot of sense. We often tend to expect a bit of boredom at work and trade that off against salary or the unboring times. For kids at school I think it's different. They have to be there and the tradeoffs are so far in the future as to be unreal. Sometimes they are unreal.

        If you go back 100 years, kids sat in rows and got bored. The difference was that they actually had more variety in that, if they were not good academically they were channelled into practical subjects, having the opportunity to develop very different skillsets. Out of school, there was space for a children's world, even in towns, which meant space for activity.

        We're losing all that. We don't seem to value the practical skills any more, unless they are accompanied by a paper degree, so the non-academic kids have few opportunities to feel a sense of worth. We're closing down and overcontrolling access to open spaces so kids don't have the chance to develop motor skills and burn off energy. The road to adulthood is paved with rules and boredom for a lot of kids. They don't get much opportunity to take on responsibilities either, so they don't get much chance to learn how to balance freedom with respect for people and circumstances.

        There are some experts in dealing with this, but they're probably not where you might expect to find experts. There are people who foster troubled children and help them learn self discipline through sports and outdoor life and looking after animals - it's a practical expertise.

        I don't think an acedemic examination of single aspects of childhood and schooling will help much, the need is for a look at the whole environment. And that would open up another can of worms in that it would start to question the living environments being developed for the majority of the population in first world countries - theme parks, shopping malls, sedentary jobs, on tap sedentary recreation.....
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    Nov 2 2011: A lot of what I "learned" in school were facts- read the books, memorize it, recapitulate it. What wasn't taught very often (though I was lucky to have a few exceptional teachers), was how to question the "facts" that are shoved at us, down to questioning the very textbook and pictures we were using. How do we interpret what we know? How do we critically think about and make distinctions between objective claims and bias feelings? How do we proceed with the facts we have and the questions we want to answer? Critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, objectivity, this is what needs to be taught more in schools, at all levels.
  • Nov 2 2011: @Sabin Muntean,

    I agree. I was lucky enough to come from a family which always encouraged me to do what I loved, rather than doing something because I would find myself in good economic standing.

    I also wish that schools would teach people that it's okay to not know what you want to do at 17 or 18. I'm from the UK and there's a massive emphasis placed on progressing from school to college/university in strict linear fashion. I can't believe that those entering full time education at the age of 18 really know what they want from life, how can they when they haven't had a chance to experience life before making such a huge commitment?
  • Nov 2 2011: Absolutely must agree with Matt Scanlon below. Financial literacy including investing and budgeting should be one of the essential courses in High School. Additionally aspects of that class should address business ownership.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned web design/development. Having those two skills could expedite the implementation of all my ideas!
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned about algorithms in school ! They build a logical mind !
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned a musical instrument (piano & guitar) and a bunch of foreign languages (German and Chinese).
  • Nov 2 2011: The public education system NEEDS to involve philosophy. I also believe that compulsory four year physical education is needed, and I don't mean gym classes that involve little more than dodgeball and floor hockey.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned that there is no shame in not knowing something. It seems so simple, but took me 30 years to learn it.
  • Dec 2 2011: Less theory, more application.
  • Dec 2 2011: - "how to debate well" would be nice
    - "there's more than just a few small ways to see things" (A, B, C, D, F, success, failure, right, wrong, e, f, g, r, 2.3, 9.u, oitjds, etc.)
    - "How to really learn & know something"
    - I wish I could've learned that I was important.
  • Dec 2 2011: It didn't exist yet at the time, but 3D printing. Here's a technology that might revolutionize how our industry works, decentralize and scale down production and give thousands of inventors with a good idea a fast way to make a prototype. Imagine a million schoolchildren every year, challenged to come up with the best idea for a small invention or 3D artwork. That would be so amazing.
  • Dec 2 2011: i wish i had learned the language of the calculus.
  • Dec 1 2011: how to create ideas. just from few days ago I started to think about this. some days I just wake up and my days pass by; and another I'm proactive, original, with good ideas. if at school our teachers had driven us to create simples ideas since the begining of our lives as a challenge, maybe we could be innovating our dayly life.
  • Dec 1 2011: If there is one thing that I can say that I wish I had learned, I would have to say that would be truth. Why do they teach children in school that Columbus discovered America when he discovered North America? If they had spent less time teaching me the lies and then the truth, they could have taught me other information.
    • Dec 2 2011: yes the thing you learn from school is not really true you have to find out more and more after that so what did you want from school is to know that you don't know a thing.
  • Dec 1 2011: some soft skills like interpersonal skills .you know especially in China , Students learn more active and positive things in school .But it is pity ,once we leave school ,we find the world is not like teacher tought us .and people are so complex , so guilty .theremore the interperosnal skills can protect us agaist the harm from social activity .
    • Dec 2 2011: agree, so what wrong with our teacher, the answer is they stop learning and so are their students.
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    Si Xie

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    Dec 1 2011: Something that can actually apply to our reality and help those people who need it. Not just a semester of volunteering class and just do the service in regular time, but something that can solve the problem essentially.
  • Dec 1 2011: i wished they had taught more the significance of values over money making capacity.
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    Dec 1 2011: Old artisan skills - I wish that there was still lessons on carpentry, wood working, metal working, metal casting, joinery and anything that is hands on, physical but creative. I love to work with my hands and it is very difficult to find the time to learn how to make beautiful dove tailing in furniture. Rather than buying a new wardrobe from IKEA it would be incredible (not to mention more sustainable) to be able to restore furniture of build things from scratch. Even things such as blacksmithing and tanning have all been lost due to the industrial process that have replaced them. Most people know the different between a nice piece of handmade anything and something that has been produced by a machine. Imagine if you could create this yourself. It is an entire form of tactile creativity that has been lost. This is why I wish I had learned such things.
    • Dec 1 2011: Ben, if you are in the states, you should go to some battle reenactments in the summers. Most, if not all of the trades you speak of are alive and well there, and many of those people have year-round businesses related to their tents at the battles.

      This year at the Missinnewa battle of 1812 reenactment I spent 40 mins in a fur and leather tannery tend looking at all of the hides they had. Beautiful stuff. They made belts of people upon request. There was also a old-style gunsmith restoring and building real period muskets. Very cool stuff, and everyone was "using their hands".
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        Dec 1 2011: Thanks for the suggestion but I am a little south and east of the states in Australia. But if I even do get over there I will have to check it out.
  • Dec 1 2011: I wish they taught us how to fight. I'm sure everyone is going to flame me for this, but the fact remains that I got my ass handed to me every single day in school for not being Italian like everyone else. It was always at least 10 on 1, and I know that there are techniques (i.e. krav maga) for handling these situations. But ultimately, no matter how bad I was beaten, I got suspended for defending myself. I perceive this as criminal (at worst) and downright cruel at best.

    I am now in my late twenties, in college for the second time, and have failed remedial math for the third time, or will this semester. The tutors have no patience for me because I simply never learned math. Everything I learned in life I learned on my own, by doing. You generally don't "do" math in everyday life so yeah, I guess you could say that I didn't learn much. I've presented sales forecasts at business meetings, but that's about the extent of it. Besides, what in god's name is this X^2/(((((-(-((((1x)))))))))))) garbage all about??? I can't possibly foresee a use for that nonsensical garbage in real life unless I were an architect or something, which I will of course never be.

    /Don't ever raise your kids in NYC.
    //Why do they send cops to school on D.A.R.E. day to show kids suitcases full of drugs? That was the week that EVERYONE started using marijuana. Had they simply never talked about it, that stuff would have come at a much later date instead of 6th grade.
  • Dec 1 2011: I would have to agree with more emphasis on the arts. I would have loved to have had the option to learn more about creative writing. I don't necessarily mean poetry, but in fiction. Add o that learning the skills and knowledge to take that writing from the mind to the bookstores. The arts, in all forms were virtually ignored where I attended high school, leaving out a great deal of the dreaming that many others have echoed here. It is one thing to teach a particular skill, but students need to learn how to market those skills once they leave the classroom.
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    Nov 30 2011: I wish I was taugh to keep my creative side alive... to be able to keep my dreams alive.
    Schools don't do that anymore...
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    Nov 30 2011: I would have liked to have been taught the skills needed, and be given the motivation to find things out for myself - if you've got that then what else needs to be taught?
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    Tara O

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    Nov 30 2011: That history, the subject I so enjoyed, is just a collection of stories and never the real truth. There is no denying that we get told what they want us to know rather than what we should know. It's understandable I guess, because if we want to tell our history to the facts, then we have to have every single person tell it from their perspective and well that's gonna get messy and not sound in sync (people have different experiences).
    History has become a collection of myths to me rather than actual facts - not sure whether that matters thoug. Would I act any different if it was all based on truth? I doubt it.
  • Nov 30 2011: What ever is it, did we feel a need to said it out loud of what we had learnt from our life and i really mean it. Then there is a teacher and if we have some listener they are student, and the place you speak is school. That what happening very long long time ago. School give you what you want to know and understanding not competitive or winning over the other people but won over yourself.
  • Nov 30 2011: The dream,as a student,is to create an electronic product by myself or a team(hardly build in my school).But I failed to do it even though I always thought about it due to sorts of excuse.Most university students there are trying their best to pass the exams or play computer games(or do boring things) and I didn't find anybody to be the same type person like me.So dream is just a dream, I didn't achieve it until now to go to work and keep guilty why I didn't accomplish it.
  • Nov 30 2011: One thing I always hated as a student and that my students now hate vociferously is the dreaded group project. And I think that is because we handle the issue of grades badly in this country. Our education system is based upon competition instead of progress. The problem with this dread of group projects is that life is a group project. In marriage and family, in communities and places of employment, we depend upon each other and are impacted by each other. We preach independence without teaching us how to be productively interdependent. We teach competition and fail at teaching appropriate cooperation. Life is a group project.
  • Nov 30 2011: To learn ? No that's not it ... Maybe that competing, crushing your mates is OK, and parroting what the teacher said is OK. Collaborating is bad, and contributing is bad. Do not even try to be creative..
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    Nov 30 2011: I think it's very important to emphasize the importance of creative classes like dance, art, photography and others. I also think that creativity needs to be valued and fostered in the more traditional classes like math and English as well. I'm about to graduate high school and the one thing I wish I had done more of in my classes was generate my own ideas and creative solutions. I recognize that there are certain standards that must be met and striking a good balance between freedom and structure is difficult, but I think curriculum should be written in ways that allow for more student interaction and more creative problem solving.
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    Nov 30 2011: I wish I would have paid attention in my high school Spanish Class. I wish I would have learned Spanish while I was in school.
  • Nov 29 2011: I wish high school taught me more communication skills. I learned how to speak by getting involved with organizations but schools don't necessarily require or promote that. I wish I was more encouraged to do Speech and Debate or I had an option to take a public speaking class. Right now I'm taking a public speaking class in college -- I thought I was pretty good but it turns out I'm terrible. I shake, I stutter, I freeze up, and sometimes my leg shakes violently. It's nerve wracking but also thrilling that I'm learning something useful and I realize how useful public speaking really is. Communication is ALWAYS important and being able to converse, share, and create new ideas should be something that is done on a daily basis. I am thankful that because of TED and watching so many inspirational speeches and committing time to practicing my own speeches, I'm getting better and one day I'll be able to give my own TEDTalk :]
  • Nov 29 2011: That why we still not far away from Industrial Society, instead of running away why are we learn from them and used them to be our benefit of human being. School is all around not a place or building it is a heart needed to learn and learn to understand us.And us mean everything which we can see and not see
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    Nov 29 2011: Cooking
  • Nov 28 2011: learn about 'Life' and our home 'Earth'
  • Nov 28 2011: I wish I learned how to control jealousy.
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    Nov 28 2011: A lot of people live with a chasm between their "tribes" religious tradition and the ecological realities of our planet. I think the the contents of "A Manifesto for Earth" (www.ecospherics.net) is, as educational resource, inspiration and world view, as good as it gets. It would be great to have it taught in every school.
  • Nov 25 2011: Basic mathematical principles
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    Nov 25 2011: I wish I had learned to communicate well at an early age. Good communication the universal solvent for all education,, work and social growth.

    I wish I had learned to take full responsibility for that which I do and that which I failed to do. That understanding would have propelled me to the certainty that I am capable of achieving everything I might imagine. That's a nice feeling.
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    Nov 24 2011: I wish FB and other social networking had been around when I was in school in order to hold on to important, formative relationships as years have passed, allowing for further discussion and a lifetime of shared growth and realization. I also wish I'd had access to venues like TED Conversations which connect us to diverse ideas and new views outside of our daily life.

    Otherwise, I feel I learned everything necessary in school -- and more -- thanks to parents who helped me see wonder in the everyday and recognized that class time should be relished and expanded upon. I sought out faculty, administrators and outside mentors with knowledge and expertise on topics of interest. Consequentially, I was set on a course of life-long learning.

    Class hasn't ever been dismissed for me. I've just graduated from one "reality" classroom to the next and continued to strive for high marks (lately, a passing grade would be fine).
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    Nov 24 2011: How to 1st recognize 2nd unlearn, uncontaminate myself from all that family and society and tradition and culture imposed (by subtle manipulation or by my own mirroring) on my personality creating my habits, inclining, desires so that the original me, my original affinity can be found. It is possible that there is not such a thing yet I believe that there is and it acts behind the scenes. It is something like the true self yet is usually suppressed by the layers of the above mentioned cultural domestications.
  • Nov 24 2011: Engineering taught me the relevance of all of my formal education to real life. It shows how I can conceivably change the world. I think these technical classes(engineering, art, debate, etc.) are just as important if not even more important that traditional subjects (math, science, writing) because they are the classes that often brings out the passion and willingness to learn.
  • Nov 24 2011: oh there are so many thing.....but very important is that..
    i wish they would have taught us that life is full of struggle n we should never think that someone else can ever make our life better even our parents...
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    Nov 24 2011: pure business and stockholder matters
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    Nov 23 2011: less maths more sociology, economics, psychology and personal and social education. education should focus on relevant skills and ideas that need to be learnt
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    V Raj

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    Nov 23 2011: Oh there's a long list of things.. to start with how to beat a Bully then be bullied :-)
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    Nov 23 2011: To go to another school the one I went to was redneck and a dumping ground which held and holds me up even today!
    To answer your question physics I adore the subject.
  • Nov 23 2011: Perhaps it would have been nice to have learned how to learn, and HOW to use that knowledge to further learn.

    In school, we are taught to learn, not HOW to learn. Of course, discovering things like that can be important in our personal growth, but given the educational structure we are set in without much choice, it would feel like we were receiving an incomplete educational package were we not taught how to learn.

    It would also have been nice to have been taught the basic skills (or maybe further focus on them) that I imagine are part of the foundation of a successful life--personal organization, for example.
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    Nov 22 2011: I wish i had learnt the side effects of this love thing...
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    Nov 22 2011: Scoring high marks is of prime importance thats what I learnt.
  • Nov 22 2011: I wish I had learned financial intelligence so that I had known when I started working how to manage money and set financial goals. I wish I had known about the debt rap, how to avoid it and how to get out of debt befoe it became crippling. I did eventually learn the principles and develop the self-discipline but I feel I wasted 6 years of my life struggling to get out of debt when I could have been focusing on getting my book published instead.
  • Nov 22 2011: I wish they had and i wish they would teach how to survive life. ie how to be a person in the society you were born into and how it works, how other people can be different (never assume even when it seems obvious), how to manage emotions, how to be confident, self sufficient and take care of yourself inside, how to have relationships (in the playground and as an adult), what to do when relationships dont work out, how to manage stress, anxiety, mild depression, how to know when you need help (not just professional help, any kind of help) and how to get it, how to say goodbye.
  • Nov 22 2011: Something to do with emotions and social life, not to be taught into a structure but to be educated so we can develope our selves individually
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    Nov 21 2011: I will first agree with the previous commenter, Christophe, that learning "rational/critical thinking" is a key to a good education. The ability to distinguish clear thought from bunk should be absolutely basic, but is rarely taught effectively. That said, others have stressed the need to understand and communicate on an emotional level with our fellow humans, so finding the right combination of "rational/critical" and emotive communication is the difficulty.

    To add my own "what I wish I had learned": When we get out of "high school" (ca.18 yrs of age), we find that we quickly need to understand a number of everyday things about how our local world actually works: Finances, such as credit and debt, or the finances involved in marriage; legal obligations that ensue from marriage and having children; legal duties and rights of a homeowner; or the workings of the city infrastructure and utilities: water supply, sewers, city planning and a hundred other things that we are expected to react to in a complex democratic society need to be understood. Such everyday matters should be part of every youth's schooling.
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    Nov 21 2011: I wish that I had learned to be a teacher of basic elementary subjects, to younger students. Only when you try to teach do you experience your own limitations in the basics. And also being a tutor allows you to care about someone else's process, and thereby realize that your own education is a selfless act for improving the world...not merely a tool for some abstract academic future. So, I wish I had learned school...in school. Heheh.
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    Nov 20 2011: I would have liked to learn sex role in our life.There are lots of young people who are not aware of adolescent sex changes ,having sex etc. These lessons can make them conscious about sex life and prepare them to life. Sex instructions could be benefical.Thanks.
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      Nov 21 2011: I think this really is a neglected yet important point.
      My daughter once told me the same.
      A lot of hurt and misery could have been avoided if there had been given a good explanation about how things work.
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    Nov 19 2011: Trading different form of financial derivatives so then i won't struggle like how i am struggling now
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    Nov 19 2011: Reading this thread quickly, it appears to me that two schemes are emerging: one can be surmised as "how to be myself decently"; the other as "skills to cope with information and communication". Considering the dire times we live in, it comes as no surprise that we seek answers about our nature and ways to evolve. It's what I'd call the "inner need", whereas a desire to better deal with information and communication is conversely the "outer need". One we all feel in the vast continent of IT-driven civilization that is currently emerging as the wider notion of "networks"; and it's all the more true that we need tools to navigate those immaterial realms efficiently.

    Yet I don't think we can address those issues directly. Even if one could produce the perfect answers to happiness today, there's no telling those would work in 2050. Actually, it's the opposite: when problematics change, solutions must be adapted. A good brain does that.

    So what I would have liked school to teach me are very basic, simple, yet unbelievably powerful skills and knowledge in basic human nature, things that must've been more or less "true" in most human societies—so obvious, in fact, that no one bothers to make a class out of it. Basic human psychology is present all over the place—from literature to a friendly chat—but I would have liked to learn how to deal with emotions, stress, grief, communication, social keys through basic techniques and mindsets that I know only because I looked for them.

    We're all somehow crippled when it comes to living a sane life, until (and if) we learn a few key things, too often the rough way. We've made much progress on the physical side of education with sports, but what of the psychological side? Surely, we know how to train the brain, but we strangely focus on the intellect—son of IQ and Jeopardy. I'm not advocating to teach psychology per se but to use that knowledge to teach how to deal with that aspect of life. Starting at the age of 5 up to 25 or so.
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    Nov 19 2011: "Ability to facing our adulthood life", consider there will be so many "drama" in our adulthood period, lol. A kid must learn to face it earlier, that's for sure.

    And maybe, we must learn for, grateful, comparing to our flood of complain :)

    Regards,
    Andra
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    Nov 19 2011: strengthen the so called soft_competence,for example like your empathy , postive mentality and so on
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    Nov 19 2011: Ability.
  • Nov 19 2011: I want to learn drawing, while my parents won't think it's just a "relax", and my peers won't laugh at me behind my back.
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    Nov 19 2011: How to program. Something like C++, Java, SQL, something. I've determined in my professional life that most people have no clue about the capacity and capabilities of computers and technology. However everybody has a computer at their desk, but barely scratches the surface beyond powerpoint (i know, in know.. .just pretend i didnt use the P word). All that being said, if I could program, I would cut my workload by 25% by automating processes. I've already done this to some extent, as best I could. My boss just thinks I'm smart, but the secret is if you are the one guy who can "harness" technology, you're really just decreasing your workload. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king... etc, etc.... Now if I just knew how to do it better.
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    Nov 19 2011: how to enjoy life after completing school.....
    School life was awesome......
  • Nov 19 2011: That I should try, even if I fail.
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    Nov 18 2011: I wish I learned how not to need anyone emotionally...how not to get bored...how not to be depressed for a ling period of time...how not to take anything as seriously...
    most important of all how to go blank at will....
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    Nov 18 2011: If i got one shot.I wish I could change the way I learned my courses ,not a specific one.
    To be honest , school had killed my creativity more or less during my middle school,but my creativity comes back again now.
    I rethink what the hell the education is,and i got a conclusion. Educaion is a way leading to the paradise or the hell.
  • Nov 17 2011: I wish I was given more information about all the different career options out there, I just studied Engineering because that's what was popular and respected. But I suck at it.
    Also in India, at least when I was in school, we had limited quality options to get into other areas like Art, Culinary Skills, Law, Psychology or whatever else...
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    Nov 17 2011: How to talk to girls :)
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      Nov 18 2011: with "the game" by Neil Strauss as a textbook?...lol
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      Nov 18 2011: perhaps it ia not as tough as it seems...
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    Nov 17 2011: That learning isn't supposed to be a task. That learning is fun and exciting and amazing. Unlike Mark Twain, school interfered a lot with my learning.
  • Nov 17 2011: Some practical hands on training would have surely helped apart from the normal theory classes
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    Nov 17 2011: That you can definitely get education outside school.

    Positive psychology and financial system would help a lot, but if there is an opportunity to spend more time with real people in different field - a TED like society - that would be great.
  • Nov 17 2011: I majored in the Arts, which created problems, because arts education could at times seem like an oxymoron. Art creation should be free of judgement in my opinion. I took classes with Henry Wolf and it taught me that talent is something innate, not something that is born out of rigid rules. A lot of the most ground breaking designers of the 20th century were self-taught. So use guidelines, but don't stifle your instincts.
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    Nov 17 2011: Something that involved a handcrafting skill like welding or metals.
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    Nov 17 2011: that's a tricky question as most meaningful learning transpired out of school!
    Question: how to make in-school learning meaningful?
  • Nov 16 2011: Hi, I think -
    - Business mind of Educational Institution.
    - Trick and cunningness people use to tweak rules and law
    - (Don't take it negatively. It can help those who look for a world described in school books).
    - Understanding about human behavior and how to respond properly.
    - Uselessness of education in life without believe, vision, love and respect.
    - (People without education also do good in life )
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    Nov 16 2011: People never grow up. The people you think are idiots now.... are, and they're going to stay that way... they're not learning anything here. Leave as soon as you can, and get an entry level job at a company you can tolerate spending the rest of your life at, or create your own company.

    I had way too much faith in people, and institutions when I was in school, thank god i came .1 gpa away from spending 40 grand a year on an english degree, I'd be broke now. Also... Adults don't know what they're talking about, 80% of statistics are made up on the spot, and lots of the dumbest people in your class will grow up to be very successful teachers without really learning anything. : p
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      Nov 17 2011: YIKES David! You sound like you need a hug!
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        Nov 18 2011: It's funny, my bone to pick with higher education isn't even mine, so I actually don't get upset over the issue. I have 4 friends with bachelors degrees, 2 with masters degrees, and 2 working on a masters degree, and I make more money than all of them lifting boxes in a secure government warehouse.

        My predictions were kind of all right, and I'm pretty happy with my education and work right now. Have a nice small business on the side. I just wish I gave up on institutions a bit earlier, and got to work. It's kind of weird to say this, but even as a kid I always knew, "ya the e-conomy, and the knowledge economy... all going to blow up... but I have a feeling there's going to be slightly less work in that economy, than in, learning a trade".

        So, I got a little 2 year degree in comp networking as a hedge against poverty, and got to work, doing labor, old school... and it worked out great. I could probably move into management if I wanted to. If i sound a bit bitter, it's only because in the back of my mind I always thought "you're just being a cynical asshole, go to school"... I really didn't want to be proven right... but it turns out 50% of the population isn't going to be able to get a degree and avoid physical labor yet, most of us gotta get to work.
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          Nov 18 2011: I still think a big hug would do you good, David. You have made some choices you are happy with and have followed your own path. That is a pretty good place to be!
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          Nov 18 2011: Sounds to me like David made the right choice in terms of value. I don't think its a surprise to anyone anymore that labor can lead to a better paying job than higher education these days. The question is whether or not we feel like that's the way it should work... I notice bitterness on both sides: from talented students who feel like they made good choices and worked hard all for nothing when they can't get a job at the end of their degrees and from people like David who may have liked to have pursued education for its own sake and who wasted energy buying into the stereotype that they were inferior for choosing not to go that route.
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        Nov 20 2011: Actually... I would like to add one layer on top of that... I'm frustrated that people who pursued a higher education, are now frustrated, that they also have to do "real" work. I'm bothered by the culture of instant management, where people with MBA's and no idea how to run a business, take the jobs of people who've been with a company for 30 years, and then refuse to even learn the "grunt" work.

        I think we forgot to tell our graduates that they have to learn a functional job skill before people will pay them mange people who have functional job skills. Your education, whether formal, or independently gained, make you a better manager, after you learn to do the basics... but they don't give you the right to skip that step.

        No one who wants people to make them clothes, should be unwilling to do physical labor, at a place that makes clothes... and in America we've let a generation of grads get away, with basically being aristocrats. That's not going to work any longer. At the same time, we can't let the powerful anti intellectual sentiment stop us from valuing the concept of education as a whole as a tool for promoting creativity, and responsivity in leadership.
        • Nov 23 2011: One thing I hope you get to learn: pursuing higher education is more than just getting grades. It's also an experience. And had it not been for this experience, I doubt I would have much ambition or even care for that fact.

          That said, I still dislike sitting in class and listen as the professor drones on and on--essentially a (somewhat) interactive documentary.
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    Nov 16 2011: Esperanto could be learned in a few months. Then we need to correspond with people from all countries of the world...travel a years visiting them. The two billion people living with less than 2 dollars a day income will largely remain illiterate and out of reach of everyone who reads, listens and watches at TED.
  • Nov 15 2011: How to make money!!!
    Everyone teaches students technical things but does anyone teach them how to apply them to make money...
    I mean Entreprreneurship????
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      Nov 16 2011: What about less emphasis on making money and "succeeding" and more emphasis on compassion?

      I wish I was taught about compassion when I was at school...
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    Nov 15 2011: One year dedicated study of: how to choose friends in schools!
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    Nov 14 2011: Jordan, this is an awesome question. My response:

    "Phillip, regardless of any impression you may have acquired, your origins are sufficient and reliable, and your duty to yourself is to become informed then psychologically mature enough to contribute to humankind's well being and maturity. You were born to become great and we think you will achieve it on your own. We are here to help, so let us know when you perceive a way we can strengthen your self-development."

    Let me add that I think I received such support from my elementary school teachers at Staub School in Knoxville Tennessee. However, they had to be subtle. One of the experiences I recall is reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self Reliance," there.
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    Nov 14 2011: that human nature is fickle.
  • Nov 14 2011: More languages and more history.

    The former because it's an invaluable tool (sometime essential) to understand foreign cultures, thus broadening one's horizons and understanding / acceptance of those deemed 'different'.

    The latter because it's the single most important defining factor of what constitutes a 'wise' person.

    Mathematics, physics and sciences are also curricular I wish had been pummelled into me a little harder. Learning an instrument or deux would have been nice too...

    Ultimately, learning is a rich tapestry where the more you learn, the more you want to learn. One area of study leads into the next, and so on.
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    Nov 14 2011: I wish I had learned about spiritual knowledge in school, because by that we can understand better about our true selves and the meaning of life. I was lucky enough to have access to some spiritual knowledge right after I graduated from the university. Before that, I had a lot of painful experiences and suffered from health problems.

    After years of observation and learning, I've figured that the reason why this important piece is missing in our education system is that they don't want us to see the truth. The truth is that the system is lacking of unconditional love. They love us only if we become what they want us to be. Allowing the students to see that truth doesn't serve their purpose at all.

    What I mean by spiritual knowledge is more about Self-observation, Self-discovery, Self-correction, Self-balancing and Self-healing, etc. Since it will not be available in school any time soon, let's hope more and more parents will have the time and knowledge to demonstrate for their children.

    Love and Light,
    Sam
  • Nov 14 2011: my high school only offered spanish and french. i would have loved to learn japanese
    私の高校では唯一のスペイン語、フランス語提供。私は日本語を学ぶのが好きだったはず
    by the way i dont know the language so i had to use google translate
  • Nov 14 2011: that judging anyone based on the statistics of a certain group to which they belong and not on their personal actions is plain simple discrimination, and it should never be allowed in any model of nation that wanna call themselves civilized.
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      Nov 14 2011: To me, the most overlooked, oppressed minority is the non-religious, non-spiritual, yet open-minded population: those people who have placed their faith in the truth most of which is unknown.
  • Nov 13 2011: that the essence of attaining an education shld be to start up an own ofr collaborative business instead of coming out and expecting that a fat, juicy job wld be waiting or may come my way. to fish for myself either than to be fished for.
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    Nov 13 2011: How to make world better.
    I feel that at school, you only learn to prepare for yourself, work, study etc.
    But nothing about how to help other people, to make world better, to be more connected to each other.

    It is too much about yourself. I prefer collective, then individual.
  • Nov 13 2011: Always respect people.This is i hear most of the times.
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    Nov 13 2011: nonverbal and paraverbal communication science
  • Nov 13 2011: well if their is one thing i wish i 'd learned in school it'll be to learn how to involve my skills and creativity
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    Nov 13 2011: The importance of team building to achieve a mission and realizing how different skill sets can be
  • Nov 13 2011: I wish that early on I had learned the value of thinking for yourself and sometimes getting it wrong. Thinking does not always mean you get an A on the test.
  • Nov 13 2011: I wish I had learned that every person has something to contribute. Just recently I have accepted that being an introvert is a valuable trait. While extrovets may shine in the spotlight, it is the introvert behind the wings guiding the converstation. I have always thought that my tendency toward shyness was a weakness. Now I realize that it was a valuble mechanism that has shielded me from many catastrophes. I wish that I learned learned to recognize my own strengths in school.
  • Nov 13 2011: To beleive in myself
  • Nov 13 2011: how to be myself. my second grade/year 2/primer 2 report card said; has a good knowledge of nature for his age. I should have left then. Reports didn't improve over the next 13 years.
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    Nov 13 2011: Schools should teach three things from grade school on up. 1). How our government is structured and what our responsibilities are to its maintenance. 2). Finance. That is how money flows within our capitalistic system, basic financial instruments such as equity, debt and derivatives. 3). The art of verbal communication as this is the basis for all other endeavors

    What is noticeably missing here is math which I'm sure some will take issue with. I personally am fond of math and may agree that in the 21st century perhaps is should be a language equal to our verbal language but there are those who get it and those who don't. Those who get it seem to get it whether they emphasize it is school or not irrespective of age. It is far more important that people have communication skills so that whatever their talent is they will be able to engage their fellow humans and add cooperative value to our environment.
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    Nov 12 2011: how to stay in it. Not that I think that would have helped ;)
  • Nov 12 2011: I wished I had learned the drums earlier in school.
  • Nov 12 2011: I wished I have learned another language expect for English. Actuelly, I really want to learn Germany or Franch.
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    Nov 12 2011: Storyboarding and script writing - vital skills in an era of rich media
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    Nov 11 2011: Our Minds are at the root of our; thoughts, values, principles, opinions, biases, emotions, moods, words, and actions. If we learned about our minds, how they work, and how to make the best use of them. Then perhaps school would be a richer experience all round.
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    Nov 11 2011: In my point of view, the one thing I learn (currently do) is experience. Experience is teaching by profesors, teachers, parents, TV, books, movies, sciences, arts, conversations, discussions. To me, the other's experience told by medias or people helps us temporize the personn we are with our ideas and the perception of the world we have. It's all about confronting perceptions of I (as a personn) and the society (as an entity), this pass through listen others experience.

    This, is what we learned at school. We didn't learn history or sciences, we learned how the people's perceptions from those subjects allow them to comprehend the world in order to contribute to their own field.

    Think about the moment you're discovering a new area of knowledge or a new subject or topic, you may think "Well, yeah, I didn't thing that think that way..." A new point of view is emerging from others experiences. During all my curriculum I only paid attention to what kind of new experiences and perceptions a teacher (or whoever or whatever) brought me and how it changed the personn I am.

    Key-words : Experience & Perception
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    Nov 10 2011: How to use our intuition correctly.
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    Nov 10 2011: I wish someone told me that calculus is fundamental to motion graphics, and perhaps even art at large.
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    Nov 10 2011: I wish I had learned dancing, I feel people who can dance is very cool and they always fool of energy. But maybe it is not late if I learn it now:p
  • Nov 10 2011: I wish that, when I was a young teenager, I had a class where I was taught about influences and how humans potentially respond to them, and how to deal with others opinions. Its something every kid needs to be introduced to. It what parents try to warn you about, but I'm assuming it would be perceived differently if taught in a educational setting.
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      Nov 14 2011: People need opinion only when the truth is not known. As a consequence, another person's opinion should not be threatening.

      For example, if you think we should not invade Iraq, because it is a fundamental premise not to cross another country's border if you or an ally has not been attacked, the fact that the President proposes an invasion does not dissuade you, and you will boldly state your opposition.
      • Nov 15 2011: I suppose I mean that, growing up, teens have the tendency to become easily influenced by their peers while simultaneously questioning the world around them. It would have been beneficial to attend a class that simply helps teens deal with what it means to be a teenager while still trying to find their own voice during a time they are too old to claim too much irresponsibility and too young to claim total independence.

        It has become increasingly easier to view others' opinions and insights due to the existence of the internet, but its not always easy for younger individuals to decide which opinions to value and why, if they are still trying to shape their own opinions regarding the world they perceive. Understanding why and how people positively and negatively respond to each other might help people feel more confident during those awkward years and help them develop a better sense of self without feeling too insecure in trying to do so.
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          Nov 15 2011: Little that I know, let me say, early education should emphasize that human knoweldge is divided into three parts: understanding, art, and opinion. Understanding stems from definitions (the wavelength of light coming from most growing grasses is green), discoveries (the earth is like a globe), and preferences (I like chocolate). Art is almost endless in its scope, but includes writing (even some non-fiction), painting,sports, religion, etc. Peer pressure is an art form.

          Opinion is needed only in the absence of understanding. For example, should I follow recent advice to take one of my heart medicines in the evening? Based on the recent report from Spain, it seems I should, but I do not know what the future holds and therefore must act on my opinion.

          On the other hand, I have studied religion extensively and have reached this conclusion: regarding the major questions religion presents to me, I do not know and it is alright that I do not know. "I don't know is sufficient, and therefore, I need no opinions." It is not necessary for me to respond to religion.

          It is not necessary for me to be a sports fan or to involve myself in any amusement or entertainment that does not interest me.

          Concepts like these, better informed since I don't know much, should be taught to students and adults.
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        Nov 15 2011: My personal truth is that truth is personal - subjective to individual belief systems. If I state my personal truth - others who do not share that belief will refute my statements as opinions. This process of validation helps us to grow intellectually and experientially as after a truth has been formed - it is in our past, new experience and information will evolve our beliefs and our personal truth will morph accordingly - unless we are fixed and not open to learning. It may be that my personal truth is based on a complete lack of information and belief in which case having another's personal truth returned in objection can be part of the evolutionary process - at least give impetus to research and explore the ideas and structure around the belief held. This is where forming opinions can be useful. An opinion is a forming truth that we almost believe but we still lack enough 'validation'. By stating an opinion we gain greater understanding to legitimise the opinion or discard and form new.
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          Nov 15 2011: “If I state my personal truth - others who do not share that belief will refute my statements as opinions.” Key words include “truth,” “belief,” and “opinion.”

          Looking at Merriam-Webster online under “truth” there’s 1) b) : sincerity in action, character, and utterance and 2) a (1) : the state of being the case : FACT (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true.

          It seems to me you are using definitions 1) b) and 2) (3). Also, you seemed to equate “personal truth” and “belief.” Many people pursue this path, but being among the many does not assure personal satisfaction. I followed such a path for five decades, then discovered that my path conflicted with my spouse’s path, and relied on past personal doubts to effect change in me.

          Now, I recognize that I always had a policy against believing. I think each human should remain open-minded toward reality until he/she achieves understanding. For example, an atheist may say, “There is no god (supreme being), and my response is, “That is a leap of faith I cannot take.”
          The atheist: “Then you believe in a god?”
          Me: “No: I do not know if there is a god and think it is important for me to accept that I do not know.”
          The atheist: “Why?”
          Me: “To maintain my open-mindedness to whatever may control reality.”

          The atheist: “In my opinion, you believe in a higher power.”
          Me: “I hold no opinion: for all I know, chaos determines reality.”

          In my fourth decade, I experienced this challenge: Do you agree that Jesus died to redeem you of your sins?
          I responded, “I do not know, but God could have handled Pontius Pilot and the Rabbis and the people allowing Jesus to survive.”

          I try to avoid letting my lips contradict my mind and heart, but often fail.

          I appreciate your thoughts and hope to learn more (I was not aware of some usages of "truth.")
  • Nov 10 2011: Economics!!!
  • Nov 10 2011: I wish they had taught me that much of what we were learning would not be relevant or important to me for years, but that it was still worth learning. For example, when I.visited Paris after the age of 30, I wished I had listened during art class so that I would know more about the works of the Masters I was seeing in all the museums, and I certainly wished I had actually learned a bit more French during the 3 years I had "studied" it.
  • Nov 10 2011: animation
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    Nov 10 2011: I wish they would have taught everyone to chase their dreams with all of their will and most importantly... to live their life
  • Nov 9 2011: That it was OK to take a risk and make mistakes without the fear of ridicule. Oh, and Latin!
  • Nov 9 2011: FINANCIAL FUNCTIONS are something that MUST be taught in school. It is not a semi-abstract topic such as history, sociology, science, etc. that certainly do contribute to general knowledge or even specific industry or career-use. It is instead, an essential function that every single human living in any society must learn and utilize to function in day-to-day life.

    Aside from the obvious financial scandals in the global market in areas including real estate and the stock market, I believe that the greatest contributing factor to the financial downturn in the U.S. is a general ignorance of how the system works and what are responsible and effective practices. Even worse, is the mis-information that has been fed to the public via marketing and rumor as well as the lack of desire in many people to even learn about something that is so crucial to the quality of life.

    The U.S. has long been a place where anyone can come and work hard to achieve their dream, but even more today it is a place where in addition to working hard, we must think hard to learn what we need to know to hold on to that dream and not let it slip away.
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    Nov 9 2011: Intelligence is no substitute for social relationships and hard work.
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    Nov 9 2011: I wish I had learned about the topics that interest my early on. I really enjoy science but primary and secondary schools (Quebec's school system) doesn't tackle this topic until much later in the curriculum. This caused me to be a high school dropout. Now, at age 26, I'm slowly working my way to get my high school diploma in an attempt to get in university in Sociology. The work I have to do to get there is not interesting which means I am not motivated to go on. I'm not learning anything I enjoy. I know that these things are required for me to go to Uni but it all looks so far away and what I have to go though is so boring and uninteresting.
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    Nov 9 2011: Piano
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    Nov 8 2011: How to spell.
  • Nov 8 2011: I wish, I could have learned self control in my school days. It will be really great to have some classes on self control and time management.
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    Nov 8 2011: It would have been great if I had known why I had to go to school everyday.

    Also, learning how to solve problems keeping efficiency and sustainability as the top priority would have been ideal
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    Nov 8 2011: algebra.
  • Nov 7 2011: Think Like A DOCTOR ...About Learning .... And Have Patients .... The KEY ... To Never Stop Learning .... Make It FUN ... Then You WILL Enjoy Learning ...!!!
  • Nov 7 2011: Daniel ; Why Fish Don*t Carry Books , But Go In Schools ..? And Work Together ... !!! .. Bless You ...
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    Nov 5 2011: School is just like the cradle for bringing up elitists in the region. Its something, where you learn to stand, learn to explore, learn to deal with the people. I was grown up in Government Schools in my region. Where unfortunately the exposure to the environment and other people is much low as compared to Private schools and that definitely leads to lack of confidence when you enter college life. I got the exposure in college luckily, but i wish i would have got the same in my schooling :)
    • Nov 7 2011: Muhammad ; Excellant Answer ... !!! I Was Very Shy Growing Up .. But You Learn From Trial And Error ... Take Care !!!... :-)(-: Ying And Yang , Positive And Negative ...
  • Nov 5 2011: learn to live
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    Nov 5 2011: History of religions. School should be laic but in Italy, among other subjects, only 'Catholic religion' is taught one hour per week...
    • Nov 7 2011: Giusi : Hi , By Tradition , But You Still Have Free Will To Explore And Find Yourself After School .... Right ? ... Think Positive ... NO Matter What ... Bless You ...Bye
  • Nov 5 2011: Put simply..! How to think, find and remove blind spots in our thinking
  • Nov 5 2011: you are right Zuogeng. Getting good marks is not everything but school is your opportunity to learn. By learning I don't mean just the subjects in your curriculum. I mean learning about people and the lives they lead. Listen to your friends and the teachers who you like and you will learn many things about how people cope with the good things and the bad things in their lives. Learning how to survive in this world is the most important subject. So listen and learn. I wish I had listened more to the very wise old teachers I had.
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    Nov 5 2011: In china,in our school,mang students always want to get good marks but i don't think so,if it's usefull,I will be willing to learn, also,I want learn more to be here ,welome to make friends with me!
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    Nov 4 2011: What I wanted to do when I got out of school...
  • Nov 4 2011: That the point of school is not to get a good mark but to learn, and that learning doesn't finish when school does.
  • Nov 4 2011: I wish I'd been taught hands-on how to grow my own food, and how to use basic tools and do rudimentary repairs when things broke. Schools think parents will teach that and parents think schools will teach that and then nobody teaches it. (Indian education system)
    Oh, and sex ed as well. And understanding the opposite sex. Would have saved me from a whole lot of trouble and guilt complexes and confusion ;)
  • Nov 4 2011: I wish i'd learn more about nutrition, after all everybody eats
  • Nov 4 2011: I wish I'd learned how to cheat on exams effectively. That would have saved a lot of time.
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    Nov 4 2011: I would have liked to learn more about cognitive biases and applied psychology – the kind of stuff discussed at http://lesswrong.com/.
  • Nov 4 2011: I wish I had learned the Truth in School, instead of the propaganda selected by my Nation as the official story. The falsities that I was taught, and the truths which just were not mentioned have caused great damage to myself and my society. Now I must strive to make things right.
  • Nov 3 2011: Sociology, civics, and world politics
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    Nov 3 2011: Instinctive geometry. I am 36 and I just really discovered that ı can do this but how do I develop it? If anyone out there in the TED community knows Iwould be fascinated to learn!
  • Nov 3 2011: I think from all the comments so far it is clear that very few of us actually learned what we discovered we needed when we left school. The problem is, how does a cumbrous structure such as school, with all its regulations and structures and strictures, respond to the changing needs of society? As long as we have to have some kind of measure of suitability for jobs, college, university etc. we won't be teaching what people need in the real world, but what those entities want from school leavers.
    A lot of the things we wish we learned should really have been taught to us by our parents - the problem is, what if they were not able to teach us, or willing to teach us? My own parents lack of money management skills have been passed on to me and I have passed them, unfortunately, to my children. Quite a few people have spoken about sex ed, and this is certainly an area where parents fall far short, since it is just too embarrassing for most people to talk about this, especially with their children.
    I hold to the idea that books are the way to do it - have as many books on as many subjects as possible, teach kids to read and be ready to answer questions they come up with after whatever it is that they've read.
  • Nov 3 2011: I have started this answer about 20 times then I start to gripe about 100 differnt things. None of them matter that much. I wish I had learned how amazing this planet really is and that all of my actions have a consequence on everyone and everything around me. I think it took about 30 years to figure that one out.
  • Nov 3 2011: Dear Daniel: Thank you for posing a great reflective question. Often times, we find ourselves respond to your thoughts and actions in a robotic way without evaluating. This type of reflection forces us to step back and rethink or evaluate our patterns of thought and action be it in learning or creative thinking.
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    Nov 3 2011: It's hard to pinpoint one lesson not taught in school that I would have preferred to learn. There is so much to learn in order to be prepared for adult life, and I really think the school system does an admirable job given the constraints of time, money, and staffing.

    One thing I do wish I had more of in school (especially high school) is a study of the basic topics examining more controversies. Probably the most interesting and informative class I ever took in high school was a "Contemporary World Problems" class where we regularly read newspapers for source material and then examined controversial issues from multiple perspectives. The same could be done for history, psychology, and any number of social sciences to make the concepts really come alive for high schoolers and also sharpen their critical thinking skills.
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    Nov 3 2011: sleeping without anyone's attention !
  • Nov 3 2011: Dear Kristina: Thank you for your concurrence on this idea. Like I said before, there are many more of us who feel and think this way. It may be a good idea to present the view. Perhaps then we have a group that can share ways in which we can make this a reality in our specific fields of work by learning from each other.
  • Nov 3 2011: Dear Benoit :) thank you for your encouraging comment.
  • Nov 3 2011: Dear L.J.:). Thank you for your encouraging comment. I appreciate the vote of confidence.
  • Nov 3 2011: Basketball, just because my teacher told me I couldn't.
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    Nov 3 2011: This is a fantastic question!

    After leaving my parents home, and after experiencing tough financial times, I remember telling my dad, "I wish there had been a "how to budget" in high school." He kind of shrugged it off, saying it was my responsibility to figure it out. Of course my parents could have taught me, but they didn't, and when I was 16, I never thought to ask. If I had learned budgeting techniques at school, I'm sure I would have enjoyed my math classes a whole lot more. It may also have stopped me from making stupid decisions with my money in my early twenties.
  • Nov 3 2011: Am intereted in a discussion that defines the purpose of Education beyond the academic and degree achievement but rather the Education that aims to generates active citizens who, through meaningful and illuminating learning, can make a positive change and a difference in the world they live in.
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    Nov 3 2011: Creativity.
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    Nov 3 2011: Do you have an example of a "life lesson"? There is so much nonsense in the media any life lesson taught would just drown in any young person's mind...
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I had learned that home is supposed to be a safe place where we respect each other.
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    Nov 3 2011: Entrepreneurship. Just think about it - if more of us had the skills of starting/running a business, there would be a lot more jobs for those who don't. I didn't start learning entrepreneurship until my 40's. Prior to that, my paradigm was mostly about how to get a job, compete in the job market, and get the most out of the jobs that I had. It was all a game - a very self-limiting one in which I tried to make myself into some sort of interchangeable part, learning skill sets that I knew were marketable, and then painting the best picture I could of myself to win the approval of my employer.

    Now, as a business owner, I make the rules. I sink or swim based on the decisions I make. And, I get the satisfaction of knowing that there are somewhere around 2000 people out there that are benefiting from the product I invented. In many respects, I am grateful for the bad job market because of the kind of person it has forced me to become.
  • Nov 3 2011: One thing i wished my teachers had emphasized more is cultivating more emphathy and developing more compassion for others. More often than not, some schools tend to be caught up with the paper chase and are focused on acheiving good academic results. Competitive pressure rose. Some students become more driven by their own needs and behave in ways that would benefit themselves, especially when pressure is great. I think teachers can create more opportunties for students to explore the concept of emphathy, seeing the plight of the less fortunate and understanding their situations. Classrooms are a great source of developing these values because there are so many students and plenty of opportunties to practise a little kindness towards one another. I wish my teachers can teach me more about humanity, more about human suffering, more about the fact that humans have their own imperfections and how to accept these imperfections and also teaching us the values of forgiveness and mitigating vengenance...If we are not too overcome by feelings of anger, hatred and instead fill our hearts with more love, forgiveness and grace, we might be more at peace with ourselves....
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    Nov 3 2011: I would say the basic rules of being a professional... essentially gumption 101 and how to create a good mindset.
  • Nov 3 2011: 1. Encouragement to think critically and independently at a younger age.
    2. Practical experience in solving real life problems
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    Nov 3 2011: The power of Symbol, to open the heart to wonder, compassion, and contemplation.
  • Nov 3 2011: That women, in the 1960's, were not second class citizens. That would have made a big difference in my life.
  • Nov 3 2011: An emphasis on humanity and what it means to be human, compassion kindness and etc.
  • Nov 3 2011: Communication.
  • Nov 3 2011: Compassion
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish we had learned how to invest what we learned to earn and save.
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    Nov 3 2011: Science. Lots of it-from elementary through high school.

    Vocational Preparation courses that not only prepared you for careers but for the college process.

    I think we are in dire need of learning about how to cope with school pressures. Thank goodness there are some neat new programs that are starting to do Mental Health Information Outreach in schools + so that kids can gain better coping skills. With all they go through in school (that can relate to home issues as well), they certainly could use them.
  • Nov 3 2011: Personal finance! Unfortunately, we are never told how much financing college will cost or taught how to manage our money when we become adults. I think we would be better prepped for life if we were given more financial tools in high school.
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish that the school administration had prioritized 'learning' to 'studying'! I wish that I had learned early in my life that I compete only with myself, and "being kind is difficult than being clever". I grew up in Nepal, and I feel that all we did was go through the books with the intention of reaching the next bureaucratic level (Secondary, HIgher Secondary, Preparatory School). Loads of homework ensured that kids rarely had time to be playful and curios, and holidays were just another excuse to make students work on assignments. I, now, realize that allowing adequate time for imagination and indulgence in one's curiosities is the most important aspect of intellectual growth and, if I may exaggerate, a key to happy life.
  • Nov 3 2011: the attitude for learning.

    we had have that style 150 years ago. we have forgotten many years.
  • Nov 3 2011: That marks is not everything.
    That the most brilliant, the most creative and the most renown were not credited for their marks, but their ingenuity.
    That right is not always RIGHT, and wrong is not always WRONG.
    That being different is not WRONG.
    That thinking differently is OK.
    That what is RIGHT and what is WRONG is a matter or perspective, it depends on how you see it, when you see it and with whom you see it.
    And a lot more... isnt it obvious that the system is flawed ?

    "Am I or the others CRAZY ?" - Albert Einstein
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    Nov 3 2011: Well, I've mainly learned how to.... Learn!
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    Nov 3 2011: I wish I had learned these:

    * Emotional robustness. Everyone needs some eventually, some more often and to a greater extent than others. It's entirely possible to teach kids how to have more emotional skills, including robustness. I'm learning now, but the person who teaches me teaches kids as well. My life would have been 100% more enjoyable with this skill alone.

    * How to learn, or how to teach myself. Again, I know how to do this now, but I had to learn it through a combination of teaching myself and learning it at a university level. Personally, I could have been much more independent as a learner much earlier if I had this skill first.
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    Nov 3 2011: Hello Daniel. Thanks for making me to go back to my childhood memories in search for an answer to your question... I would say that, for me, the thing that was notably absent in school was the sense of a more humbling and adequate perspective. Every classroom felt like a self contained world, so the advanced kids with highest grades grew an exaggerated ego and the kids with the lowest scores would feel miserable and a failure. Bullies would feel they could walk on water while some the bullied felt this was one of the most difficult times of their lives.

    Maybe teachers could widen their students' perspective with more "out of the box" activities. It is very hard to relate a whiteboard lesson in history of ancient Rome to a kid's every day experience, but I imagine that organizing regular class visits to elderly people care centers, visits to poor neighborhood food centers, or any other environment where they can see and feel themselves as part of a bigger-than-a-classroom group would do wonders to reset the student's perspective.

    And I think that the awareness of a more global perspective would improve the chances of progress and cooperation once these students come out and participate more actively in the outside world

    I could not find your own response in the comments (maybe i didn't look deep enough?), what is that one thing for you, Daniel?

    cheers
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    Nov 3 2011: Easy! The Chinese Remainder Theorem of course...
  • Nov 3 2011: I wish I would have been taught yoga and meditation. I would teach students how to breath and "be."
  • Nov 3 2011: Well, I do have a daughter, and yes... she, too, is gifted. She attended a public school for gifted students and attends a great college with a pretty full scholarship. I have had the pleasure of three different careers; loved each one of them, but not as much as I love the one I currently have. I'm a fourth grade teacher. I try to teach all of my regular education students with methods that help them to shine and discover their strengths and build self-esteem. Now, they can appreciate who they are.
  • Nov 3 2011: It's not really what I wish I learned, but how things were taught. To this day I've been expected to accept almost all the information that has been presented to me as fact. Through 16 years of education I've only had one teacher challenge his class to challenge the voice of authority. Only one person told me to not accept everything I hear as truth, to identify bias, and to find "truth" on my own. Too many people have learned to simply regurgitate "facts" that simply aren't true.
  • Nov 3 2011: How to start a revolution
  • Nov 2 2011: That just because it's in a book, it isn't necessarily correct (and is often completely wrong).
  • Nov 2 2011: You will always be told that you are too young, too inexperienced, or too ignorant of the issues to make a real difference. Ignore them and do what you can no matter your age, knowledge or experience. You learn by doing so whether you are 8 or 80 get in there and do what you think needs to be done or ask others how to go about doing it.

    Also, Statistics.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes. I agree strongly! Too many adults are trapped in passivity.
  • Nov 2 2011: typing skills.
    • Nov 3 2011: Yes! I learned this in 7th grade and it's been one of the most useful things I ever learned in school.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to not panic when tested.
  • Nov 2 2011: how to handle people
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish i had learned how to spot a good teacher. Especially galling as was a student at Warwick when Ken Robinson was teaching there and had no idea that this amazing person was just a lecture theatre away.
  • Nov 2 2011: The one and ONLY thing I remember (and use) from high school Algebra is "how to find an unknown quantity". If A=B and B=C then A=C. 6 yards will yield 4 pieces, 4 yards will yield X; 6 divided by 4 = 4 divided by X; cross multiply and divide...6X = 16; X = 16 divided by 6; the answer is 2.5. No that's two things. You can see Math wasn't my forte.

    I use this formula in sewing and in cooking. I wish I had been taught how I could use everything else they force-fed me in all those laborious hours of instruction back in the day. I've forgotten almost everything except the literature and languages. Does that speak about me or about my schooling?
  • Nov 2 2011: I went to a segregated high school in the south and when I graduated from college all the help wanted ads were divided into male and female jobs. Current school curriculum has hopefully changed with the times. I am retired and in retrospect the skills I wish I had learned are twofold: 1) Skills for selling anything 2) Assertiveness.
  • Nov 2 2011: It's easy to say in hindsight what you wished you had learnt before now, but we also need to remember what it was like to be young, and that while you can insist to a young person that it's valuable for them to learn a particular thing, it needs to be interesting. Having said that, as one of the more mature students (by age at least) at my university, I notice a lack of confidence or participation from other students when it comes to group discussions in tutorials. I find this such a valuable experience, and I think the only opportunity to develop such skills in earlier education is through debate, which makes the idea of discourse sound competitive. I think there should be a youth oriented form of group discussion that teaches young people it's good to talk through ideas, even if they seem stupid, and not be discouraged by disagreements or criticisms. This may seem difficult to do, as classrooms have their own internal social politics that teachers can often be unaware of, but I think giving students a voice rather than preaching straight to them from a book can help build confidence and skills that will filter out into their social interactions as well, and teach that it's ok to have a different opinion, but to give each person the respect to have that opinion. I mostly think we'd end up with a higher number of great ideas.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I would learned more Sex. Sex should be taught more in the classroom. There should be more open discussions about it. I think kids would benefit tremendously from it.
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      Nov 2 2011: I agree and disagree at the same time. I think kids should be taught not to grow a distorted image of what "sex" is, but at the same time, their lack of mental and spiritual capacity to understand sex as we, adults, do may cause an outcome we do not intend. I guess the question here is rather how and what we should talk about when it comes to sex. I think the kids should hold the key to conduct the discussion, ofcourse under some what of a adult supervision, which I think you are proposing.
  • Nov 2 2011: After watching man vs wild it has come to my attention that making a fire maybe the most useful skill man can learn. Also teaching responsibility with fire and other hazards wouldn't hurt either (it might).
  • Nov 2 2011: I would have liked to learn Basic Accounting (Some Iranian schools teach accounting in high school) and Philosophy/Ethics in High School because I think every American needs to know about money and ethics before getting their first real job. If a class needed to be removed, I would take out Statistics class and leave that to the General Education requirements for College.
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    Nov 2 2011: Simple meditation techniques for relaxation and clear thinking.
  • Nov 2 2011: To not be afraid of failure, to face fear and learn that I can overcome it. Fear is the root cause of holding us back. And I wish they had provided opportunities to face it, to fail in a supportive environment, so you learn failure gives you the best lessons. Fear becomes this limit, a wall that holds us all back, and disempowers us. I wish they had programs like learning Muay 'Thai, which is the perfect blend of physical mental and spiritual...as a tool to achieve this. Or even rock climbing..What we learn at school is not as important as How we learn it... great question Daniel :)
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish i had learned at an early age that failure is not that BAD.
    I wish i had learned the meaning of success rather then aiming to top in the class
    I wish i had learned to handle difficult situation with ease rather then crying and running away
    ......
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I learned more about how to handle money in the real world; what the consequences were for each action, how to invest and how to look long term, what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to get started. Maybe in essence, I would have loved to know more about how to best leverage the freedoms of Capitalism to do social good, while still building a comfortable life. I wish I had learned these things beginning in elementary school, and have them reinforced throughout grade school, junior high, and high school, so that by the time college came around, it was more a matter of choosing a specific avenue to couple my foundational knowledge about money with, e.g. design, programming, etc. I feel that this way, more of us would get started on developing businesses that provide more positive global solutions sooner, with greater reach, compassion, and understanding of what we are capable of contributing and accomplishing.
    • Nov 2 2011: A big part of this is that they took the Church and the Spiritual out of school and have nothing to replace it with...my daughter wrote this on her fb this morining... If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion... The most important and impactful of things are really simple and come from a place of love.
  • Nov 2 2011: I would have liked to appreciate more diversity.

    We are educated all by the same standards, same classes, same teachers, evaluated by the same standards. Divided in groups by age and maybe by gender. It is difficult or impossible to take options different than mainstream.
    Uniformity is so huge, this concentration camp can even lead to intolerance toward difference. It take some years after high school to get rid of this stupid mindset.

    I would have preferred to be evaluated on perseverance rather than success.
    I would have preferred to have a better choice of what I would have to learn according to my own talent.

    In life there is no success to be like everyone else. You get more success by being yourself, and by being irreplaceable in something.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish school had been a place to develop ideas, discussing them with others and taking them into practive with the purpose of making changes, and making things better. Because when you are young and haven't been poisoned with the real world, some great ideas rise, but you might be too busy trying to learn and memorize other things that you will probably never use.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to be happy, how to think creatively.
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    Nov 2 2011: they should have thought us speed reading
  • Nov 2 2011: Lunches ran long (1 hour) and the day ended at 3:20 PM. The combined boredom I felt in each class and lack of motivation to be self driven left me with no desire to partake in extracurricular activities. When I graduated from high school, I felt as if I had spent my days lounging around and that I learned very little that was useful.
    When I began school at a public university, the amount of reading and work I had to do for the basics (which, looking back, were a piece of cake) seemed monumental and I had to re-learn how to think and how to study.
    My point is this: my job now (as a nurse) requires me to utilize decision-making skills and prioritization every day. If I'd have thought out what I was doing before I transferred schools, I may have ended up at an institution that held equal values as the private school I attended, and I may have retained the self motivation to excel in my assignments and studies to continue with my 4.0 avg. instead of slacking to the 3.36 I ended up with at the Bachelor's level.
    So, in short: I wish that, in school, they had taught me the decision-making process as well as how to prioritize.
  • Nov 2 2011: I went to school in the USA. When I was in a private high school, the day began at 8 AM, we studied every single class material every day for 50 min., with a 30-min. lunch, and the days ended what is considered early (at 2:50 PM). Lectures usually ran about 30 min. and left 20 min. to practice and questions, and homework was usually assigned every day regardless if you completed the in-class assignment or not. They placed an emphasis on reading, writing composition, and all sciences (surprisingly, given that it was a Catholic school): math, social studies, biology, physical science, chemistry, etc. In the curriculum, they required two years of language studies and two years of arts (any kind you wanted - from writing in the newspaper to drama to drawing/painting/sculpting. The days ended early enough that if you wished to take part in an extracurricular activity, which was encouraged, it would not be taxing on your body after a long day spent exercising your mind.
    Unfortunately, circumstances led me to transfer to another school. When I got there, I saw the "No Child Left Behind" Act in action, with "block" schedules (80-minute classes that alternated every day - so we'd have periods 1-4 M, W, F; and 5-8 Tu and Th, and the next week we'd begin with 5-8 and alternate in that fashion). We studied the same materials but lectures would run about 50 min. (too long for that age group, IMHO) with 20-30 min. of practice left after (which I don't believe was enough time for questions for the amount of material). HW was rarely assigned, and if it was it was hardly checked except for the "good" teachers (others would almost surely always just check-mark the paper if they saw that you answered all the questions). Because in-class work that was not complete within the class timeframe was usually assigned as HW anyway, students usually took advantage in "seeking help" from each other, which was in actuality an excuse to socialize. [Continued below]
  • Nov 2 2011: Matlab..!! and numerical methods in depth
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    Nov 2 2011: Listening.
    Making "meaning" from sounds (as I learned in one of the TED talks) and being able to apply this understanding to connect with the others.

    - the most basic skill which I shamefully admit that I lack..
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned that I was going to school for my own success -- not for parents, not for teachers, not out of obligation or expectation -- and that I would thank myself later for working really hard.
  • Nov 2 2011: High school senior in the U.S.
    For me, a Comedic Improv Drama class is the best thing I've ever taken, and I've taken it every year I could. It has really helped me with my interpersonal skills, shyness, and dealing with teenage drama and hormones and much much more. I just wish everybody took it, but I think it's the only class of it's kind in all of Florida.
    I would like if all classes had Improv, as well as every single thing here so far, like personal time/money/life management, postgraduation help, self improvement, ect.
  • Nov 2 2011: That you don't have to produce a correct answer/perfect result right away; that it is ok to try and fail.
  • Nov 2 2011: There were many things that I wish I would have learned in school, but had to learn outside of school. If anything, I wish there were things I did not learn. I wish I did not learn that conformity and parroting are the traditional means to success in school. I wish that insight, innovation and joy of learning were rewarded, taught and valued.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned the excitement and creativity that could be found in science much, much earlier. I had always been interested in sciences, but found that my classes were lacking in resources as well as dedicated teachers, and therefore stuck to my strengths (reading comprehension/English literature). It wasn't until I was 24 years old (my age currently) that I discovered this whole world of scientific inquiry, puzzles, and exploration. I am now going back to school, but I can't help but feel that I might be some place completely different if someone had just told me at 16 that Carl Sagan existed. It would definitely have helped my pocket book, because putting myself through college again at 24 in this economy is probably one of the more difficult things I have attempted in my short experience as an adult.
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    Nov 2 2011: Lucid dreaming.

    I have never heard of any school teaching this concept, yet I have found it to be remarkably useful for retention and creative problem solving.
  • Nov 2 2011: To not take anything for granted and question even my own believes
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish they taught me that one thing knowing which everything in this world becomes known... :-)
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    Nov 2 2011: One lesson I wish I had learned in school: Pattern recognition is not the same thing as learning. It only (may) get you through the next test.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wished I had learned to work with others better. Learning from other students that had figured out what you needed to know, and to teach others what you had learned. I think we could all do this much better than we do now.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish grammar teaching had continued throughout school.

    I assume I got taught what a noun is and when to use commas at primary school age but by the time I got to high school I couldn't remember and struggled through English and foreign language classes. I later did an evening course in German where the teacher asked who knew what a verb was. Everyone nervously mumbled and she explained it all from scratch, pointing out that in her 30 years of teaching she found this a very common problem.

    Having a confident grasp of your own language seems such a basic and essential skill it's surprising how few people have been properly taught it.
  • Nov 2 2011: Considering the nature of economics that are facing the nations of the world, I would have to have to say I would have benefited greatly by learning the Austrian School of Economics. It is the Austrian School of Economics that has correctly predicted every major economic disaster over at least the past 50 years.
  • Nov 2 2011: CPR; it should be mandatory for all students.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish schools could teach us verbal and non-verbal communication skills which will help us to understand people’s behaviour and deal with all kinds. Once we were taught these skills we could apply them in our daily life in and out of school. It is still not late, because I believe good communication skills are very essential in everyday's personal and professional lives, and this will stop physical fights and bulling between the students. They will start to talk and that will possibly make them to be good negotiators, leaders, communicators.
  • Nov 2 2011: I am currently studying in the National UNiversity of Singapore. it's apparently in the top 40 best unis in the world but I don't quite feel satisfied here. like some of you mentioned, too much emphasis is put on success. while I agree that success is important and everyone wants to succeed once in a while, the whole point of school is supposed to (like someone also mentioned below) allow us to fail. we are guaranteed to fail at some points in life and if we constantly win in the early stage of life we'd never learn how to fail and stand up from failure. As a result we will just crash after the first failure we (surely will) encounter after school. Some of my professors here actually encourage us to try out the question and fail which I really appreciate. however with our pace and the little amount we have we can't afford that all the times. most of the time we have just enough time to cover the huge amount of info we need to learn. this brings me to the next point which is about self-exploration.

    I'd like my school to allow us more time for self-exploration (in terms of both knowledge and character development). the hectic uni life (which is mostly due to the pressure to succeed) means we have little time to explore on our subjects or what we like, let alone exploring ourselves. there're times I wished I'd have more time to read up on my own and try out things in my modules but I simply had to spend time doing the assignment first. there were a few times when I did not bother about grades and spent time exploring what I was studying and I totally enjoyed it (even when I lost half my total mark for that).

    THe above 2 points are the reason why I'm learning more useful things (about myself, character development, my passion) from sports and online reading than from school. since I'm paying so much for school, I'd hope my expensive school can teach or allow me to learn those lessons.
  • Nov 2 2011: Latin. How to learn.
  • Nov 2 2011: To find what I love to do, and then work out how to get someone to pay me to do it.
    Along with people skills, management skills, relationship skills, etc.
  • Nov 2 2011: I would say coping and anger management. i always wanted to answer a question about this.. My son's high school has had a number of suicides, and i think if kids were taught this at a young age we would see a changes in many things that plague kids..
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish that we could have spent more time outside and learned how most of our subjects could be found and applied outside of the classroom walls. I'm a teacher now, and I'm always looking for excuses to have class outside the traditional classroom.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I'd learn to connect my cognitive intelligence to my somatic one and to the intelligence of the field. I wish I'd learn that life was a journey full of transformations and that I was more than my ego, I wish I practice silence, listening, dancing and singing. I wish I'd learn to find my uniqueness and my universality.
  • Nov 2 2011: That Asam history, Afam history, Native American history, Raza studies are all American histories. That my history, that ALL our narratives, matter. But I'm learning it now, so it's never too late to learn.

    To unlearn aggression.

    To learn how to teach and how to be a mentor.
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    Nov 2 2011: How to deal with the 21st century. What is the 21st century? And I mean, nature to human, human to human, spiritual to human, science to human and so on. All these combinations. Our interconnectedness. The history of other centuries from the point of view of results and compassion. It is like an introduction to Life, with all its facades and from all of this I would extract what I love to do in this picture of the 21st century.

    Thank you.
  • Nov 2 2011: I think one of the important things that most all schools miss is the course aiming to help students search for what do they like to do and what are they good at. Some people in are now 60 years old already, but they don't even know what they want to do, just keep doing their boring job or follow the rules that is situated by the society.

    I have heard this sentence some years ago "If you can got the work you like to do, this life you don't have to work anymore"
  • Nov 2 2011: Emotional intelligence is key!
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I'd learned to juggle. I picked it up on my own in college and it did more to improve my hand-eye coordination and dexterity than anything that was taught during physical education in grade school or high school.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish they had taught us how to meditate. Figuring out how to get and stay balanced, regardless of what life throws at you or what other people do (or don't do) is a critically important life skill and school doesn't even address it. Meditation is a portable skill that doesn't really require any equipment other than mind and body-- and some kind of technique that works. For me, that's Vipassana meditation, but I've only tried a few prior to finding Vipassana. I think Zen meditation could be helpful and so could some of the Chakra meditations, relaxation meditations, and walking or standing meditations... Yoga and Tai Chi as a meditative activity would have been great, too. But back when I was in school, it seemed that nobody cared about balance and I think that was because nobody KNEW about balance. So nobody was balanced! Perhaps it ought to be part of every teacher-training education curriculum, too?!
  • Nov 2 2011: The one thing I wished I had learned in school...that there was more out there in the world...and that I could do anything that my heart desired...I never felt that the teachers taught me anything more than the class they were teaching...never gave a reason why it was important to know the content taught..small town...thanks for asking.
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    Nov 2 2011: To make my own choices. To be able to recognise my talents.
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    Nov 2 2011: Leadership and exploration.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned how to develop and improve things that I am good at. Teachers do not usually care about individuals. Unfortunately, most of them only see your notes, scores, tests' results, not your talents. Everyone knows that if the talents are not discovered, they will go to waste. Many students are so talented in many disciplines and very often they do not study what they really should!

    I also wish I had learned more practical things. Ok,I agree that we all should have a basic knowledge of everything: history,art,physics,biology,maths,literature and so on. BUT life is not a theory, so why we still have to learn thousands of theories?! Of course it is very important but it only matters if we are able to put the theory into practice..Why aren't we taught how to do it?
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    Nov 2 2011: I guess most of the essential things could never be taught at school, they come from own introspection and life experience. No-one can teach you compassion if you don't start to feel inner inclination to that. No-one can teach you resist pressure or bullying if you don't give it a try yourself. And no-one can live your life for you. From Alfa to omega life by itself is a constant learning.

    The only thing that I do regret is that public school in many cases manages to kill initial fascination about learning.
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    Nov 2 2011: My biggest regret is not taking science classes more seriously. I now know its implications and have done extensive research into various scientific subjects, my favorites, biology and astronomy.
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    Nov 2 2011: Science. Real science and electronics. Those seem to be two things every school is afraid to teach because of law suits. You have no bunsen burners, no hydrogen explosions, no sparks, no electricity, no robots, no wonder kids don't care about school, school doesn't care about them.
    • Nov 2 2011: tragic. I was a science teacher back in the 70s, and we had bunsen burners, hydrogen explosions, and real kids blood to look at too... even back then I felt we didn't do enough "experiments'
  • Nov 2 2011: Wish I'd been taught basic investing skills and even terminology,understand how the stock market works. Not sure what learning Calculus in HS and college ever did for me.
  • Nov 2 2011: Oh, and systems theory. At least, as Fritjof Capra puts it, how to think systemically.
  • Nov 2 2011: problem solving
  • Nov 2 2011: Just this. Seek out people whose goals are similar to your own. Together we are strong.
  • Nov 2 2011: To think independently without fear of repercussions. In "The Closing of the American Mind", Allan Bloom posited that education's goal posts had moved from learning to think to the deliberate homogenizing of thought of students. He had observed the gradual shift from one to the other on the university campus but spoke cogently of how early the process had become initiated in the life of a child. He rightly pointed out that the benefit was the ability to 'control' the masses.

    I do not know if in human history there has ever been the desire for, or the practice of, teaching independent thinking, but it is that that I believe would make an incalculable difference in individuals and in all global social constructs.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I'd larned during my time at school, that I was not ready to learn just yet (if that makes sense).

    Very much a late developer.
  • Nov 2 2011: I recently watched a youtube video on money. I thought that for every dollar there was a bar of gold in Fort Knox. Now I understand how banks gives loans and then use the promise of the payback to create new money. (I'm simplifying obviously) I wish I had been taught about this in school, perhaps then students would go to college with more knowledge about how to manage their finances and about choosing to take student loans, new credit cards, etc.

    I also agree that sex ed is important, particularly understanding how different forms of birth control work. Most people voting on the personhood amendment in Mississippi don't understand how the pill works.

    When I think about concepts I've learned that changed how I see the world the idea of a social construct was life changing. When I understood that race is a social construct, that there are no differences in the human genome to distinguish races, that all the skull shape stuff was BS, it really opened my eyes to how science can be manipulated.

    Despite just saying that science can be manipulated, I think students should be taught how to be skeptical consumers of information. Question the claims advertisements make, question the reporting in the news on a research study, learn how research works.

    Along with the science-y/research-y stuff I feel that everyone should study behavior analysis. (it is my field, so I'm biased). I think everyone should know how one person's actions reinforce another person's behavior, and that removing that reinforcer can decrease the other person's behavior. If people understand that all behavior is the result of interactions (it takes two to tango!), then people will understand that you cannot put 100% of the blame on a person for their behavior.

    I'm sure there are thousands of other things, but those are a good start.
  • Nov 2 2011: Stress management, planning and organizing skills for day to day activities, more involvement with the society
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I learned in school the importance of staying in school. The most poppular question undoubtedly in any high school math or science class is "Why do we need to know this?" No teacher or administratior could ever give a good enough or even half convincing answer to keep me in school. So I quit, got me GED (passed with only 2 questions wrong) and was considered a high school graduate 2 weeks into what was still me friends' senior year. I laughed in their faces that I was already out of school while they had a full year left and partied my life away until I realized for myself why I should have stayed in school and taken the opportunity to go to college when I was younger and just how important it is to know those stupid subjects like math and science that I just hated doing the work in. I am now 33 have an AA in Multimedia Design and am working on a BS in Comp Sci. I plan to go on to get a degree in Psychology. My goal is to teach educational technology as well as become a high school student advisor. I will never stop learning and we should encourage every student to do the same. This along with critical thinking and creative thinking are the most important lessons we can teach our children.I also strongly believe the K-12 paradigm needs to be eliminated. It only creates standardization and does not allow students to reach their own potential at a rate beyond what the standards tell them they should be learning at.
    • Nov 2 2011: I had a wonderful teacher in high school, who also became a lifelong friend tell me and my whole Spanish class that he believed we all learned the basics of what we need to survive in the world by age 12. By age fifteen or sixteen, (when hormones have everyone going crazy) every child should STOP going to school and experience the world be it through partying, working, traveling....whatever. By the time a person is in their mid to late twenties, they have lived some life, have had some real-life lessons and experiences and can either continue with whatever job they have, get a job or go back to school.
      I left college after the first semester...burned out. Got married, divorced, and with three kids in tow, went back to school at the age of 46 to get an AA in Lib Arts in 2006.
      You did, and are doing what you are meant to be doing for YOU!! Good job, Jonathan!!
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had learned that people cannot always be exactly who you expect them to be, that everyone has flaws and makes mistakes. And that is okay, that just because they do not love you in precisely the way you want them to, it doesn't mean they love you less- just that they love you in the way they know how. That being right is not the most important part of a discussion. That there many ways to do a thing, and the end result is what matters.
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    Nov 2 2011: When I was a high school student, the main objective was to get into college. I think there is a serious problem with this. Most people go into college without having a slightest idea of what they want to do with themselves and what makes them happy. My college experience was a huge let down. I didn't like being there, I didn't feel like anyone was interested in helping me develop my natural abilities, and I didn't have the will nor the skills to explore that.

    I wish someone explained to me that there is more to life than "getting into college", and I need to find out what it is exactly that I am all about and what I want to do to live a fulfilling life.

    Unfortunately, school hammers into our brain the idea that success is some standardized and easily-measured goal, same for everyone, and it doesn't focus on an individual development, much less on seeing the bigger picture and putting things in the perspective. We are lucky if we get to meet a talented educator who sees the person before the test results.

    On a more down-to-earth subject, money management needs to be augmented at school. It's a critical skill that will be required regardless of the path we choose after we graduate.
  • Nov 2 2011: : I was discussing this specific topic with a friend not to long ago. We both agreed that personal finance I.e credit cards, credit scores, budgeting every day expense etc. Should be taught in high school, perhaps the last year in high school. I have noticed now in North America many individuals are struggling with credit card debt. And now it is so common to hear ads on the radio and tv catering to individuals with such dilemmas. "Are you in debt? Call us we can help". Ahhh!!
  • Nov 2 2011: I would like to have learned basic logic (some elementary form of predicate or sentential logic). It is important to teach logic early on; it's something that alters the way you think for the rest of your life and most don't know it.
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    Nov 2 2011: A class on HINDSIGHT telling me to stay in school. I quit and got my GED some time after.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish some had shown me these videos (Link below) I think they sum it up very well. Be inspired but what exists already. If that means copying at a young age, then so be it. We will all develop in time.

    http://vimeo.com/14912890
  • Nov 2 2011: Tolerance, compassion and forgiveness.
  • Nov 2 2011: How to Google things... But more importantly, how to learn things on your own. If you're taught how to learn (ask questions, observations, etc), the education system becomes an instrument to help you answer questions instead of an accomplishment system. A very harsh system of check boxes that aims for mediocrity across the board and penalizes those who wish to learn more.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I'd learned that drawing, music, dancing, sports etc were just as important as maths, literature etc...
    I wish I'd learned that there were no right and wrong answers in life...
    I wish I'd learned that the most important thing I had to learn there was discipline and desire to continue learning afterwards...
  • Nov 2 2011: Oh, so many things. I look back and think that the majority of the time I spent at school could have been spent in a much more useful way, and I'd have learnt a lot more too. You don't learn life's lessons at school, you learn them when you start living, but the lessons learned from experience cannot truly be taught without having the experience yourself, so I am not sure if you could teach those kinds of things in school.
    Some things which are not taught in schools but could be, however, are looking after your finances, how to budget, and what it means for you and society if you fail to. How to look after the environment, it should be taught in a way such that it isn't a 'choice', a belief some people have, but something everyone has to do. I also think there should be lessons in nutrition, what to eat and when, and how to make meals.
  • Nov 2 2011: Arabic
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish they did many things. For instance, I wish they taught me how not to get left behind and manage stress, how we should question everything and actually allow us to do it, how science can be wrong, about our government and their lies and how we should not sabotage other people's hard work for our success but I guess that's opposite to what the history science taught us to do. I guess if I had to say one important thing that I wish our schools did that would be to learn how to be an individual. The education system wants us to be like everyone, so that it is easier for each individual to be replaced in the society, and so it fails to see what is capable of each student. I feel like I never understood myself and I feel forced into these paths or career choices I have. So yeah, I wish it taught us how not to be ashamed of being an individual and how to actually run with it.
  • Nov 2 2011: I also wish that I and everyone else had learned how to communicate honestly and with courage directly to those in authority whether peers or teachers in emotionally charged situations. It would have been great if there'd been role playing exercises throughout primary and secondary school that focused on emotional intelligence in the context of hierarchies. Basic financial planning and budgeting would have been great as well.
  • Nov 2 2011: Active listening skills. It seems that very few Americans, including myself, have learned these crucial skills by adulthood.
  • Nov 2 2011: Definitely basic money management and finances. America is far too much into debt and we don't even realize it. I don't think the government would allow this type of education though. I believe they want us all to be in debt. :/
  • Nov 2 2011: How to think critically and understand the importance of an event or a piece of writing. After being in college for a year I realized that up until that point I was taught to just memorize facts and dates rather than knowing the importance of them.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish then as I wish now, that the education system was more about asking questions than answering them. We have created a system of checking the blocks and moving students on that have no idea of how to ask questions, how to be inquisitive. That has created a society that is bored and unimaginative, it has no skills, it does know how to be innovative. The education system here in the US has become one of molding mediocre minds and not big thinkers; as long as students can check the correct block, it has become unimportant how they got to the conclusion or right answer.
  • Nov 2 2011: Why ask the adults? I think the children, those who stand closest to the educational system of today. I think they might have some (creative) ideas.
    But when I was a teenager attending grammar-school, I remember I started to get more and more of my own opinion. But, still a teenager, I had no idea how to express myself let alone how to convince people of my standpoint! What I really could have used: Rhetorica. I knew what I wanted to say, just not how to say it.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had been taught to live with the planet rather than how to exploit it.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I learned that change is constant in our lives and how to deal with changes. Not that this is a big issue in my life but I think this is one thing that would save humans a lot of grief.
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    Nov 2 2011: Respect.
  • Nov 2 2011: That the academic decisions you make in High School can have a profound influence on the rest of your life.
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    Nov 2 2011: Relaxing.
    We had subjects as you mention - math, scinence, humanities - to make best of ourselves in this fast-developing-growing workspace - no-one has ever showed me how to slow down and relax, and enjoy the moments.
  • Nov 2 2011: acting, I'm not an actor but acting classes have helped me relax, listen and communicate better. Yoga and meditation for focus and to fight anxiety. Playing an instrument.
  • Nov 2 2011: Networking: how to meet and connect with the right people.
  • Nov 2 2011: Austrian School of economics.
  • Nov 2 2011: I wish I had been taught to do everything with a lot of passion and gusto, and to ask for what you want..
  • Nov 2 2011: how to realize the life what it be
  • Nov 2 2011: How to communicate and perform.
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    Nov 2 2011: I wish I would have learned how our perception of the world is almost as important as the reality, and it often comes our reality. They don't teach you that in school. They don't teach you how much your own thoughts play a part in determining the outcomes of your endeavors.
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    Nov 2 2011: Agency.
  • Nov 2 2011: i hoped if i learned some of physiology since what is talking about Social Intelligence