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View Poll Results: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life and Social Skills?
Yes: Life Skills should be taught more vigorously in public schools. 29 87.88%
No: there are other options for information available it's not a school's responsibility. 4 12.12%
Voters: 33. This poll is closed

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POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 28th 2015, 11:58 AM

I have heard a lot from people saying "when I was at school, I never learnt how to do my taxes, or apply for a mortgage or bank. But thank the Lord I can tell you all about the Pythagorean Theorem".

I mean what? What do you expect schools to do for you, are there no other sources of information? I remember when I was at school, my English teacher told me that the most important lessons you learn in school are the social lessons, and luckily my school went quite far in the education of social issues such as Domestic Violence, Road Safety and Sexual Health, but looking back on it after leaving school, do you think people see school as too much of a social and world education platform rather than an academic platform?

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 28th 2015, 12:40 PM

Lol. You have a really good point and this is something I'd love to have a long discussion about. I've hears the same exact quote and at first I hated it because I didn't understand. Then I accepted it. Now I hate it because I understand it extremely well. Simply out it is ridiculous because school cannot teach you life skills. You gain life skills by being out there and living life. Not sitting in a classroom learning how to balance a checkbook. That doesn't even equate to life.

I do however think that schools should be changes entirely and be completely optional. A little radical perhaps but I think that school is cool for some kind of learning but certainly not all and we all can learn from school but not in the same way.

For instance I thrived in math class for many years while my classmates moped around about "what is the point if I don't want to be a mathematician?"

See, nos that I get it more I think that if they don't want to learn math then let them be. Learning should be from an internal drive and it is great to invite someone to learn but I'm highly against forcing to learn.
So I do think that's the root of the problem, simply not having a voice in your own education is tragic. I don't really like taxes and don't care for them and happen to like doing pyrhagorean theorem but that's just me and school dies not cater to each person. That's another problem with mass education.
So I don't think that teachers should teach how to do your taxes, because then people like me will complain about how we don't learn math anymore.
How about more free time instead of school being a controlling factor?
How about not cutting down recess for elementary school kids to 10 minutes a day when studies show how detrimental that is to child development. No I don't think a nature appreciation class is necessary. Just let the kids outside and have them explore on their own!

But of course this is wishful thinking. Parents work crazy hours and thus children go to school for crazy hours then go home to be babysat by homework itself. (*plays police every breath you take* in the background)
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 28th 2015, 12:46 PM

Of course they should. Many education systems are either outdated or just badly planned. Back in my high school I had classes about multiple things I have never used a single time after leaving the school. I am over 20, I should be starting my own life, yet I have no idea how to do taxes, what to do about insurance and all that jazz. I just know those are important things that exist.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 28th 2015, 08:20 PM

I voted no, let me explain why. I do not think the current curriculum in schools, at least in the US, is very good. I like the way Elon Musk puts it, to paraphrase, he says current schools provide the tools, but not the know-how. That is, they may tell you, "This is a screw driver." But never provided a practical application on how to use a screw driver. Instead, the approach should be, "Let's build a car, and oh, yeah, by the way, this is a screw driver."

In that sense, yes, life skills should be taught, but I don't think teaching someone how to prepare their taxes is a lesson that needs to be taught. Rather, I think students need to be shown how to research, critically think, and apply the tools they're taught. When you teach someone how to research, how to critically think, and how to apply tools, then they can figure out how to prepare their own taxes without holding holding hands with a teacher through the process.

I think this is very vital, and I think it's why so many students hate subjects like math. They are shown how to solve differential equations, but never shown their applications, and thus it seems useless and they ask, "When the hell am I ever going to use it." Well, the reality is, you'll use it a lot. Perhaps not a precise formula, but the logic and critical thinking applied in calculus and physics is vital to most fields.

It's unfortunate that this approach isn't being taken because students are being frightened away from technology fields, when technology is the future. Critical thinking, and applying logic is the future of civilization.

Instead, our math classes are, "Here's a formula to solve quadratics. Memorize it. It works every time." Students want a single method for a solution, and just recycle it for a test. They are shown the tools, but they aren't taught how to use it, why you use it, how it was derived, etc. Students see word problems and they freak out. Well, what the hell is math good for if not for word/applications? Nothing.

If we redefine life skills, I'd say yes, but as you seem to define it, I disagree with this idea entirely. Critical thinking and research skills are life skills, and they teach you to learn how to do your taxes. Not to mention, by the time you graduate you'd forget how to do your taxes because all you would have succeed at is memorizing it to vomit it back out for a test. Life doesn't have someone to hold your hand every step of the way, and it doesn't have an answer key. Schools can't possibly be expected to teach everything. They can be expected thinking and research skills which prepare students to truly learn, rather than memorize some BS.
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 28th 2015, 08:49 PM

I didn't vote because it really depends on how we put it in the curriculum. Often, I feel that we save life skills for the students that are not going to college and use it as a way to dumb down some people's education. We have the kids that take calculus, and we have the kids that take the "life skills" classes, and this isn't fair to either student. As somebody who attended public school my entire life but went to college successfully, I did not feel prepared in all aspects of adulthood, particularly about money. I do think that there are ways to fit in more applicable skills within education. However, I agree that much of this comes from basic understanding of critical thinking, something I do not think I developed until my first year in college, especially to a quality extent. So I'm torn. Education as a whole needs improvement.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 12:40 AM

My school touched so unbelievably briefly on issues such as finance and cooking. We had one lesson every two weeks ("Guidance") on which we touched on the real world, interview skills, citizenship, the like. But most of the time the teacher would just use it as a revision lesson for those who had exams and let them go off into the library and miss the class.

To me, I don't think that was right and I don't think young adults leaving education are prepared for life. Some things can only be learnt through experience and I understand that point. However I think schools should do more in terms of developing skills outside academia. They're in a powerful position to influence young minds; whoever said the only thing children take from education is academic in nature is lying. School is where children learn to socialise with others, learn to take responsibility and for most it's the structure on which their life is built around. I know a lot of people who have continued on in education because they feel so unprepared to leave, unprepared to work as opposed to learn. More support should be given to students in regards to real life issues. And hell, I wouldn't say no to a lesson or two on finances. When you move out and start independent life there's so much to concentrate on learning to cope with that some things get pushed to the side- like learning to properly budget, cook proper meals, hell even cleaning. Maybe this is just me but I sure as heck wouldn't say no to more life skills being integrated into my education.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 01:23 AM

Of course we should, but of course, at least in the US, teachers have to teach to the test so they don't have time.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 10:36 AM

In the UK, I think the whole curriculum needs a re-think, so yes I think they should include some life skills in that.

High school was mainly ‘spoon-feeding’ us the answers to tests and remembering how to do the workings out. It’s all geared towards passing exams, and schools focus so much on league table positions and their reputation now, as opposed to actually taking a ‘student-centred’ approach to learning.

The only ‘life skills’ that we got taught were in relation to sexual health, drugs and fires, and those were just 1 hour talks with someone from an outside agency. We also had ‘cooking’ as a form of technology but only in the terms of learning to bake different cakes. In terms of social and emotional wellbeing, we had PSHE (Personal and social health education) which was basically fill in a few sheets at the end of year, because the teacher didn’t have time to sit and go through them throughout the year. Someone came in to talk to us about how to write a personal statement and a CV, but my teacher wouldn’t let us go to that talk because we were revising for an exam.

I’m not really sure what ‘life skills’ would include. I guess the option of writing cheques, doing taxes, cooking proper meals would be very beneficial. I’m not sure how these options would fit into school life, unless they were after school or during the holidays…and I’m not sure how many students (or teachers) would turn up

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 12:59 PM

Well now that I read the responses and have different perspectives I highly agree with what Traci and Michael are getting at. Thinking skills, applying knowledge and all that is immensely important. We don't need to learn what to think but HOW to think. If anything should be taught in school is say it would be how to think. But then again, couldn't you get that skill from life or do you need to sit in a classroom and learn it step by step? So my response would shift. I don't quite know how. I still vote "no" though. Just got food for thought but same opinion lol.
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 01:12 PM

Honestly, I think parents should teach more life skills.
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 03:31 PM

I very very strongly believe yes.

I started living on my own when I was 14 and moved across the continent at 16 and didn't talk to my blood relations for years afterward. I had to do that in order to address development trauma that had already stalled my learning of basic life skills from long before that. No one was there to show me anything or lead by example. I stumbled and made a lot of mistakes and didn't even know who I could ask questions to because they appeared so basic and "common sense" that it would be shameful to ask. I still feel like I am catching up and every so often I'll encounter a situation that makes me think my "functional age" is lagging way behind my biological age (which is lagging way behind my experiential/psychological age, but that's a different story).

Now I'm not sure if there should be a "life skills class". I'm quite uncomfortable with the whole standardization of education based on age deal to begin with, and forcing people to go at a certain pace or be in classes with people that they might not identify with. But I think teachers should make themselves available explicitly to students for consultation on these issues, and students should be able to feel safe and empowered enough to approach them without fear that they'll just be blown off with a "your parents should teach you this" or worse.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 07:56 PM

Oh, god, there's so many things wrong with the questions that I'm not going to even bother addressing them.

My vote is no.

But Traci and part of Hiraeth's post pretty much said a part of it.
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 10:01 PM

Personally, I do think life skills need to be better integrated into schools. There are two different ways to go about this, in my opinion. At my high school, we had to take a semester of health, which primarily consisted of things we've been taught many times before - don't do drugs, don't go overboard when drinking, don't have unprotected sex, etc. I don't think it would be a bad idea to integrate life skills into this class or add on another semester (a semester of health, a semester of life skills) to get these things taught. If, for whatever reason, this is not an option, a class teaching these skills can always be added as an elective for students to choose to take.

While there are other sources out there to learn this information, it's much more stressful trying to learn it as an adult when it's something that you actually need to do. Once students enter the adult world, they may not have someone to walk them through the steps and help them determine whether or not they are doing right. Regardless of whether or not it becomes a mandatory class, I think it's a smart option to provide to students if they'd like to take it.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 29th 2015, 10:41 PM

I voted yes.

I'm not saying it's a school's responsibility to teach children everything but they have to take a certain level of responsibility. Children go to school to learn valuable skills and things like working out VAT or tax are important things to learn how to do. I'm not saying that there are subjects that shouldn't be focused on, but I think there should be some time in the school day to help to teach children life skills. There are some subjects I studied at school and since the day I've left I've not put them to use, but there are other things that would have really benefited me to know.


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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 30th 2015, 06:05 PM


However, it also depends what you constitute a "life skill" because everyone needs different things.

- I don't think it is a schools responsibility to teach proper behaviour and manners, although they should reinforce it.
- sex education IS a lif skill (e.g. Knowing how to use a condom) and is something that should be taught cause not all parents will bother or have the knowledge to do so
- teaching about civics and politics, because it affects how you vote, engage in social activism, and general "know how" when it comes to government relations, the ability to be critical of what you read in the news, etc.
- I don't think it's a schools responsibility to teach me how to fix my car. Does it suck I can't change a tire? Sure, but I'm an academic - I want to learn and it was hard enough to get me to show up to high school, learning basic life skills wasn't "for me" cause I just wanted to get into university, hoepwever, while I don't think such basic things should be mandatory, it should be available
- health and fitness should be a must with obesity and eating disorders on the rise, but I think how it is currently being taught is incorrect. People like myself suck at most of the sports taught in high schools, there was no option to learn to dance, or to be in a judgement free space to run, and only one dietary model was offered in high schools - what about vegetarians? People with celiac a?

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 30th 2015, 08:34 PM

I definitely think so. For one thing, i think it should be illegal for schools to teach abstinence-only education. In my state they do, and I came out knowing nothing about birth control and STDs. I learned more in college about sexual health than I ever did in school.

Worse, states get PAID by the government for abstinence-only education. And they get paid no small amount either.

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I also think that students should be able to take a home-ec class as an elective that teaches them how to cook, sew, clean and budget. And perhaps another class teaching how to do taxes and take care of cars. Both classes should be electives though. But I think teachers should encourage them, and tell students that they'll live on their own someday, and need to know how to take care of themselves.

I definitely think that students should emphasize that mixing hosehold cleaners is toxic. For example, mixing bleach with 409(ammonia-based) creates very toxic fumes that can make you pass out or kill you.


But hardly anyone knows that. My boyfriend thinks that they should start every class with "remember kids, mixing household cleaners can be fatal" until the kids hear it so frequently that they roll their eyes every time they hear it. If schools did that they could save a lot of lives.

At the end of the day though, I do believe that schools are there to give people an academic background. I just believe that life skills should be there as an option.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 31st 2015, 09:24 PM

Yes, I'm not sure how schools would go around teaching it but I feel that the school system (probably in a lot of places too) in the UK needs to be looked at.

We never got taught how to do essential stuff in life such as how to pay bills or taxes, the closest thing was probably getting references from teachers for college and sixth form applications and receiving advice on what we want to do when we finished school and even then it was barely useful- we did do cooking but that was only for three years because we study subjects we want to do for GCSEs for the last two years and there was only one GCSE cooking class.
Sex Education was also pretty weak as well, they told us all the basics about contraception and safe sex in depth but only briefly touched on STDs etc. in two years I believe (the brief touching about STDs was in Year 9 where we anonymously asked questions to our tutor about it and all the basics about sex in Year 11 and even a bit in Year 9 as well) it felt like my school cared more about the confusing school work and uniform about anything else.

I also think schools should also teach students about other things in life such as the LGBT community in society etc. because that never came up in any lesson, the only thing was how homosexuality is perceived in religion and that was seen in a negative light because well... you get the picture, it was Religious Studies and that was also a compulsory GCSE we had to take.
To be honest I'd have thought that it would have been touched on in Citizenship but that was another subject that we took for three years and nobody chose that for GCSE and PHSE was only during tutor time so nothing happened there.
I learnt more about being LGBT on the internet than in school or at home because as I said, it was never touched on in lessons so I assume that my mum nor dad never got taught about it in school either and because it is a growing part of society I feel that along with life skills, should be taught to students in schools because it would help an awful lot.

And students should be taught about mental health too. With the increasing amount of young people having mental health issues they need to be taught about it. I don't think it was ever brought up in lessons when I was in school and look at me, my bad experience at school pushed me to drop out of their Sixth Form because I was learning nothing that was essential to my life, I had two anxiety attacks when my mum and I were trying to go there for a meeting about it and in the end I didn't go because it was too much and only now am I learning that I have anxiety and could have depression but was that touched on in my school? No, because they probably assumed that everyone was fucking bright as the god damned sun! Excuse my French, I probably need to rant about my school in a blog entry.

But what I'm trying to say is that I learned more about how to work out algebra equations, how to use the Pythagoras theorem, how Of Mice & Men and Romeo & Juliet link in with poems or something, what's the difference between meiosis and mitosis and that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell than actually being taught basic everyday things and how society is changing everyday etc.
And here I am panicking more and more about smaller things due to anxiety and trying not to hit myself because I feel so low all the time while one sheet of paper sits in my desk draw telling me that passing all but one of my GCSE subjects is going to get me nowhere, thanks secondary school.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - May 31st 2015, 09:54 PM

A BIG YES from ME!

As it is now [for the most part] students graduate from high school and THEN have to learn what they REALLY need to know from some other source. But who is that source? Someone else who doesn't really know?

The world is a battlefield. And we are at 'war' almost every day of our lives. And the 'weapon' that gives us at least some fighting chance is KNOWLEDGE. When we graduate a student and send them on their way - we - as a society - have failed them if they are unable to respond appropriately to the world around them. For example - what exactly is someone committing themselves to when they sign their name on the dotted line? What are the consequences if they don't live up to those obligations? If a recent graduate - who is often a legal adult - doesn't know - it can mess up their life for years to come. And the shame is not on them but on the teachers who failed to teach them.


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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - June 1st 2015, 12:16 AM

I vote yes. My high school offered a personal finance class, and that was the only sort of "adult" training I was able to receive in public school. The thing is though, only one personal finance class was offered so that means only about 30 out of the thousands of students at my high school were able to take it each year. And to top it off, my teacher told more personal stories rather than teach about finance. Two years later, I don't really remember anything I learned. My college offers a finance class, but it's hard enough to get in all the classes I need so that I can graduate on time. Honestly, I think finance classes should be mandatory.

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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - June 1st 2015, 06:06 AM

I think that there should be some discussion on how to file taxes, safe sex and it should be integrated into a course. I don't think that it should go over mechanics or cooking because there is already courses for those in the form of electives.

I know that where I live we have to take a mandatory course in grade 10 which we need to take or we were not allowed to graduate. It went over stuff like:
~Health issues like healthy living and choices, relationships both intimate and friendships, sexual education, etc.
~Financial issues like how to do taxes, bills, financial plan, cost of living/education, etc.
~Education and career information which went over a lot of stuff like: personal interests, post-secondary and education training, job market info, job seeking/keeping, standards for employment and workplace safety, support networks and plans.

It briefly touched on other aspects as well but that is just a general overview of the curriculum. This class went for a semester but I personally took it online because it conflicted with a course I wanted. And... I didn't want to waste a semester sitting in a classroom doing something that I finished in three weeks online. We actually had to pay attention in the course because there was an exam at the end of it which went over everything. We had to do a mock tax form, budget, and a bunch of questions on health and education as well.
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Re: POLL: Should Schools Do More to Teach Life Skills? - June 1st 2015, 11:06 AM

I'm going to say this based on Indonesia's curriculum and my opinion of it. I do believe life and social skills need to be taught at school, mostly about doing taxes, getting to know yourself, independence, and sexual health. Sure, most schools in Indonesia have taken step after realizing the importance of life skills, but the lessons are actually really brief (especially sexual health, since it is viewed as something taboo in an overly religious country such as Indonesia).

My school has counselling class where students can learn about finding their identity and get help with college admission process, and that's it. My school often holds seminars about social skills and sexual health as well. However, just like any other school in Indonesia, my school still tells the student to memorize this and that because "curriculum says so".

On the other hand, parents DO still need to teach their children about social skills lik manners and etiquette. School exists not as a babysitter organization or something, but it is to reinforce what kids have leatnt from their parents by encouraging kids to apply them during their school life.

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