Education today puts an inordinate amount of emphasis on “standards”. I understand the desire for all students to meet certain levels of proficiency in the common areas of study. Reading, math, social sciences, science and the like have an important place in preparing students for their adult lives.
What about the importance of critical life skills such as:
- interacting with others in a polite manner;
- working with others to solve a common problem or reach a common goal;
- understanding how banking and money management work; and
- shopping for major purchases such as appliances, cars, houses?
The list can go on and on. Some school programs are working to address these issues, but most are so focused on standards that application of core standards to real life situations is the exception rather than the rule.
Parents may well be the best resource to address the application of knowledge to a student’s world. Parents talking about social, financial, current community issues, elections and everyday challenges a family must face would bring a deeper level of understanding to their students. It may also give them insight as to how they will apply their school studies to the life that comes after graduation.
Life skills are ever more critical in our increasingly complex world. Equipping students to handle that complex world should be a number one standard. Application of learning is essential, so let us encourage schools to do more to build life skills into their instruction.
IEM Education Consultant