Even though we learn a great deal in school, some of the most essential skills we need as adults aren’t universally taught in a formal setting. Here are some of the subjects and skills we wish we’d learned in school. (You can still learn them now. It’s never too late!)
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10. Computer Science
While computer science exists as a subject and computers are widely used, there’s relatively little or no emphasis on programming skills. Even if you don’t plan to become or raise a future programmer, learning to think like a computer scientist is a fundamental skill everyone could benefit from.
9. Speed Reading
Being a speed reader doesn’t make you a genius or necessarily help you truly comprehend books more than everyone else, but speed reading techniques can still be useful to know. Techniques like skimming, for example, to get a preview of a book before you dig in, and clustering the words you read to get the overall gist of a long piece quicker, could help time-strapped students with their incredibly long reading lists.
Comprehension is more important than churning through texts, but it’s nice to have speed reading skills at your disposal even later in life.
8. Time Management Techniques
Time management courses are usually reserved for CEOs and upper management employees, but if there’s one thing a busy student or worker (of any age) needs to learn, it’s how to make the most of their limited time. Perhaps our procrastination and productivity issues would be lessened if we were taught GTD or other productivity techniques in high school or earlier.
7. Study Skills (Or Learning How To Learn)
The ultimate life hack is “learning how to learn”. As with time management, the best teachers incorporate study skills into their classes, but it’s often not formally taught. Learning to take better notes, using more efficient ways of studying (highlighting doesn’t work as well as taking practice tests) and, perhaps most important, remembering what you study are all fundamental skills every student should develop.
6. Basic Money Management
Teaching kids about money should start in the home, but, as you know, many of us weren’t fortunate enough to get that early personal finance education. Maths classes could incorporate some real-world examples to teach kids the basics of budgeting, compounding interest, and simply saving more than you earn.
5. Survival Skills
Some survival skills are good for everyone to learn (you never know when your car is going to break down in a remote area, for example, or you have more modern/urban emergencies like someone breaking into your home). Wilderness survival skills include things like building a fire and finding water and urban survival skills include topics like how to make meals from very limited supplies. In both scenarios, life-saving first aid skills are important.
4. Negotiation Skills
It’s amazing the number of times negotiation is needed in our lives — when we’re buying a car, trying to get our bills reduced, negotiating our salary, or even just trying to get our significant other to get pesky chores done. Many schools have debating teams, but negotiation is something we could all learn to be better at.
3. Basic Self-Defence
One semester in high school, I was taught square dancing for PE. I think basic self-defence moves would have served me better today. (To be fair, the school also taught Judo, but only for the boys. We girls got to do “modern dance”.)
2. Mental Health
All of us have to deal with mental health issues from time to time, whether it’s how to handle stress or anxiety…or more difficult subjects like depression or addiction (personally or with someone you know). When mental health topics emerge in the news or something tragic befalls part of the schol, we talk about it more, but we’d all benefit if the discussions happened earlier.
1. How To Apply For Jobs And Handle Interviews
If the point of school is to help prepare us for work and to become productive, successful citizens, then exploring our career options, interviewing for jobs, and writing effective resumes should be part of our education.
Many schools do teach these skills and subjects in one form or another, but they’re not a universal part of our curriculum. Perhaps we’d all benefit if at least some of these were.