Today seems to hold an above average number of posts, comments, blogs, and opinions about what kids need from school. I’ve read many of these items today, ranging from “Kids need to understand budgets” to “Kids can’t meet due dates any more”.
Some of these items are aimed at teachers, some at students, some at millennials, and others at parents who have raised the current students or the millennials, finally there are also pieces expressed by teachers. They all boil down to “I think kids need X” where “X” is just something the speaker is good at or does for a living… or reflect “the way school used to be”
What very few of these pieces take into account is what the kid needs. This seems silly, I know you all think you are looking out for the kid when you say “kids need to know budgets” and “kids need to respect due dates” and “Kids need to know about business” and “kids need to experience consequences” and “kids need to learn trades” and “kids need study skills”. But very few of you are taking a few very important things into account.
1) Context: I will use the example of Budgets. A human who does not have an income is incapable of understanding budgets. Outside of the context of having real income, learning about budgets is academic. its just an idea, as easily forgotten as physics. Many of the things that end up haunting us as adults were actually taught to us (see the Grade 10 math curriculum in NB, its about budgeting) but it was taught without being experienced so we lost it.
2) The world is changing: The good old days are gone. Work places are very different. Entrepreneurship is becoming a necessity, not an option. Solving problems, in a tangible sense, not in an Academic Math sense, is increasingly in demand, creativity is no longer a skill reserved for artists.
In this world Due Dates, and Routine are not as important as they used to be, especially when the routines and due dates we are subjecting students to are no longer relevant to the work world, or home life.
3) Kids need skills and self discovery: Knowledge may be power. But it is also cheap right now. So rather than knowledge based assignments, and credits that show what classes have been completed our students need soft skills that allow them to achieve, learn, and operate on their own, outside of teacher, boss, parent influence. In a world where careers change constantly in one persons life, and where there are jobs, and home situations occurring, that did not exist previously, and are impossible to predict, we need to have kids direct themselves.
I only know how to be me. That is true for every adult, and in today’s world, we can no longer pretend that what we did for ourselves was A) Best and B) good for the kids as well.
“It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are.”