BY ALEX CASTRO
Should high schools provide more practical life skills?
Life beyond high school is a complicated process that requires many technical skills in order to be successful. This does not only pertain to scholastic careers, but also to life in general. These can include financial, domestic, economic knowledge or life skills.
School is the foundation on which students learn all they will need to be successful in their lives. Essentially, school is the last stop before students are shipped off to their futures. However, many students are wholly unprepared for the drastic changes in independence and safety. The consequences of students actions and sudden change in the types of choices presented, can shake students confidence and understanding.
Many schools nowadays provide basic career and trade skills such as cooking or engineering, yet these classes and courses are career-focused and mainly serve to peak interests in different fields of study. One example of this is the engineering pathway in our highschool which aims to teach students the basics in the many fields of engineering. These classes are beneficial in that they provide a strong base for students to follow their passion, however, these classes do not cover the multitude of life skills necessary to be successful in both domestic and educational aspects of life.
By providing students the necessary skills to become more independent, they will promote self sufficiency and encourage others to achieve higher goals as well as create a more rounded individual.
These skills are essential in providing a stable and productive environment. By being adaptable students may build on and support the learning of others and expand on their own fundamental knowledge. Schools could encourage this behavior through the incorporation of mandatory, or extracurricular courses which allow students to learn the everyday practical skills that empowers them to make smart and educated decisions. This would prove highly beneficial when considering the long term positive effects which can come as a result of being a more educated individual.
One example of the need for such skills is, according to a recent study by U.S News on the financial education of college students and how it affects them, 40% of students were not taught about credit cards. Unfortunately, college students are more likely to be targeted, even at the company’s expense of millions of dollars, by well known or trusted companies offering predatory deals or contracts to create a dangerous situation for anyone caught unprepared. Mostly, this is because colleges benefit from student’s poor decisions. These companies do this because they are allowed to take advantage of students’ lack of basic financial knowledge and use that to create profit for themselves at everyone else’s expense.
Not only do the effects of the ignorance of technical skills affect individuals’ financial state, but it also can have drastic consequences on the entirety of a student’s educational career. Many for-profit schools use tactics such as offering students job opportunities and “the best” financial aide or loans. They promise job skills or outright guarantee students jobs while secretly wrapping them up in tendrils of interest and technicalities.
Unfortunately, due to students’ low knowledge in these areas, even with unconcealed “fine print” for profit colleges easily lure students to walk into their traps, completely unknowingly. In the end, students educational credit might be questioned. Consequently, these schools continue to draw in unsuspecting students who are unfortunate enough to believe the lies they are told. And why would they? They don’t know any better.
This is the dilemma that modern schools face, balancing beneficial personal traits and crucial world knowledge lessons. Contrary to belief, any changes made to the curriculum do not need to be wildly different. The largest unused opportunity lies in pre-existing classes which are meant to guide students to make better choices and become better people, but in the end, they prove highly ineffective due to an over-simplified design and poor execution.
Rather than have a curriculum that curtails to crucial topics alongside developing maturity and responsibility, they continue to push the learning of personal skills, even to the point where they are no longer necessary. By teaching repetitive and outdated lessons that most students have either learned from experience or have chosen to ignore, education is ignoring the vital details and skills that will make students successful.
After all, what use is being told to be nice to people if you do not know how to balance a checkbook or wash your clothes?