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09 September 2012

Updating Education

I've long thought that the material taught in schools bears little resemblance to what is required of most in the workforce, so I posed the question to some teacher friends of mine whether or not certain subjects could be highly abbreviated or all together eliminated from high school curricula and what might be added. The short answer was no, it should stay the same. With the general retort being that a well rounded liberal arts education is best.

Since then I've asked several people to tell me one thing they learned in high school chemistry; I usually get silence as an answer. I actually didn't expect it to be that bad. Of course the point of chemistry is not to make you a chemist and it's purpose is to teach you another way of thinking, the scientific method, to expose those who love chemistry to their future career, etc., but why not spend more of that time on things that you will need to know?

Here's my list, please feel free to add you own in the comments section, I'm curious what others think should be on there.

Computer programming
Microsoft Excel
How to be a better consumer - related to finance and research
How to find a job, write a resume, dress for an interview, how to act at an interview
Writing in general, and I don't mean papers. Blogs, tweets, cover letters, emails, etc.
A class teaching you how to research anything. Also, how to read a research paper and where to find them
Basic circuitry, computers, IT infrastructure
Neuroscience/Psychology/Neurobiology - sounds complex but this area is literally redefining everything

Of all the jobs on earth a teachers job really hasn't changed much from the 19th century. An auditorium and a chalkboard - not much different. The new variable in the equation is of course the internet. Not long ago books were prohibitively expensive. If you go back far enough in time a single book could cost more than the common person could afford. Knowledge was hard to attain and spread. The barriers to entry have been reduced to the point of a laptop or tablet and a small source of power, and indeed to people in rural parts of the developing world this is the cost of their tuition. I've always found that I learn best when I'm teaching myself (really just reading lot of articles online), and increasingly that may be the mode by which many people learn. The kid in the video below takes this to a whole new level. And yes, it's worth your time:

1 comment:

kaela callaghan said...

Logan, I completely agree!! There are so many things missing from high school courses. Some of these things are offered in colleges, but it is often difficult to find time to fit non-required courses in a schedule (though I think this is so crucial to essence of college!) It would be great if high schools dedicated time slots and required students to at least dabble in these subjects. Even just one course per semester that gave an overview of these subjects would be super beneficial.

I think a course on choosing a major, not necessarily a major since this rarely matters anymore, but choosing a discipline and finding career options or even just specific interests within the discipline to help expand on one's personal knowledge.

Also, a course on how to choose a college!!!!!

Definitely a course on CURRENT EVENTS and MODERN CULTURES. Never in any of my classes have we discussed current events. Students, even intelligent and knowledge seeking students can totally get away with not knowing anything aside from textbook information.

Ah, and I could think of more, but alas, I am currently in class-a class that is a total waste of time-sigh!