Teach students real-world skills


Empty classroom (courtesy of pixabay.com)

Lauren Girgis, Staff Writer

    As students change gears from high school to adulthood, it is necessary that they learn practical, real-world skills in school before they are on their own.

    While real-world life skills, such as financial or repair skills, are taught in optional, elective classes, few students take these courses. Meanwhile, the core classes that are required for all high schoolers do not teach skills necessary for adulthood, leading to many students stumbling as they maneuver their new lives as grown ups.

    In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, an international market research firm, fewer than one in five employers thought that that most university graduates were “work-ready.” The majority said that recent graduates lacked necessary employability skills, such as teamwork skills, communication skills and the ability to cope under pressure. Two-thirds of company bosses said graduates did not know how to handle customers professionally, and many did not know how to work independently. Interacting respectfully with co-workers and being able to meet new people are essential to the success and future of an employer in the workforce.  While group projects in school do establish some teamwork skills, they are still not sufficiently preparing students for the real world of work.

    The courses in high school that offer communication and financial skills are either option or are for a shorter duration of time. While the courses required for students do teach valuable information that all graduates should know, most do not incorporate critical life skills, such as financial management or effective communication.

    Financial skills can be more heavily incorporated into courses such as math. Building credit, interest rates, how to buy a car or home and other real life application problems can be taught in math courses.

    Repair and home skills are used often in daily life but are rarely emphasized in the school system. Home economics classes and repair skills classes are not offered as much in secondary schools, despite their necessary know-how.  Knowing how to cook meals and change tires, while they may seem trivial, are incredibly important to know how to do since these skills are used nearly every day in the life of an adult.

    Many school systems believe that these skills are taught at home by a student’s parents. However, many parents either do not educated their students about how to perform basic tasks necessary for adulthood, or also model poor communication and financial skills.

    Classes for important life skills such as money management and interpersonal communication should not just be electives that are rarely advertised, but should be required or heavily encouraged classes. These skills must be taught before college, because while not every student will go to college, all will need such real world skillsets.

    While the importance of the four core classes that are required for high school students should not be undermined, the aim of teaching should always be to prepare students for adulthood. There is a way to incorporate life skills into a student’s learning experience through instruction and hands on activity.