Whatever happened to teaching real-life skills in school?
Another school year is quickly winding down, and if you are like me you’re probably wondering where the time has gone.
I think this is an appropriate time to ask if our school system is really providing a service for our young people or equipping students with information that is more suited to answer a question on Jeopardy.
There’s been a push everywhere to get kids into universities, but strangely never college, which is unfortunate, and in Toronto to push Afro-centric schools and teach other cultural histories but, ultimately, they both fail to teach and equip kids with the day-to-day skills they need to succeed.
Most students won’t have a practical need for algebra, calculus, physics, religion, and a whole host of other classes that are taught in most high schools across the city.
The goal should be to make good, successful citizens and not marginal students.
Students should be learning how to stay healthy and in shape, balance their finances, how credit works, how to start up a business, why voting is important, and basic Canadian history and they should be learning these things in ways that are fun but educational.
As we get older health care is going to be a very important issue. Older generations will require much more care and this will strain budgets and resources not only in Toronto but across the country.
The issues facing future generations will stem from unhealthy eating habits and obesity. It’s important to start teaching students at an early age how to take care of their bodies and stay healthy and in shape to avoid these issues.
Schools do this in part by helping to provide breakfasts but physical activity should be more prominent.
History and politics are important to teach. How can you know where your city, province and country is going without knowing where it has come from?
Understanding what is happening with the upcoming municipal election is important. It affects us all. I wouldn’t be surprised if most kids couldn’t name a few of the mayoral candidates.
If students are going to lead this city into the future, they need to know how it works and why it works the way it does.
This may even help engage students to become more active politically which could help address local calls for more inclusion in civic politics in Toronto.
The recent recession, if anything, should have taught us that balancing our finances is very important.
Teaching students about credit is also valuable. They should learn that credit isn’t free and indefinite, why credit scores are important, and how banks work and why they target them.
They should also learn there are severe consequences that occur when you are not able to pay back your loans, mortgages and other things. Living within your means is not easy but it’s important.
Teaching students about creating and starting up their own businesses gets them to start thinking about their futures and what they want to do while teaching them a very valuable lesson.
Many people work for, or own, small businesses. It is an important component to the foundation of our economy.
The city is home to many small businesses and Business Improvement Areas (BIA) are littered with small businesses making a difference in their respective communities by providing jobs and opportunities for Torontonians that may not be found elsewhere.
This may seem like it’s out of the jurisdiction of Toronto, but this isn’t the case. The examples I provided affect us in the city every single day. They also help shape the city in ways we may not see right away.
Toronto and GTA schools should be looking for ways to go back and teach these life lessons. The future of Toronto is in the hands of students currently in school.
If they’ve been studying for a class they have no interest in, other than to help them get into university, and they haven’t been able to learn the lessons I mentioned, what chance does this city have to succeed and prosper 20, 30 and 40 years down the road?