Schools should offer more practical skills

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 19, 2019

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Submitted: February 19, 2019

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Schools offer a variety of skills necessary in life, from how to get along with someone to knowing how our governments work to why the grass is green. Along with the obvious education that we get about science, history and math, schools should also equip kids and teenagers with practical skills, even more than they do now. Of course this depends on the school you have gone to, but there are many things schools could teach children that they all don't.

First one to come to my mind is home economics, which is technically learning how to clean and cook. It's an important subject at school, but many schools offer it for only a year or two. I studied home economics for the whole of middle school, which is three years, and it was nice, but I didn't actually learn anything I didn't already know. Most of those skills you can also learn at home. However, home economics is important, because once you move out of your home and are faced with the fact that you might have to wipe down a table and feed youself, it's good to know how to do something as simple as boil water and rice, for example.

We had crafts for nine years at school, and I always liked it. I was one of the two girls in our woodwork class and I always liked those classes. As a kid I spent a lot of time with my dad, who teaches woodcrafts, and he taught me a lot of basic things like how to use a knife for everything and how to make a wooden spoon or whatever. I was never good with textile works but I can still sew something easy and maybe fix a torn piece of clothing. I'm still glad that we are taugh those things at school, because they come in handy when your dress is fucked up and you have a party to go to in ten minutes.

In high school, the emphasis is usually in sciences and languages, but it's also important to mix in some of the more hands-on stuff as well. In Finland, high school is optional and it's the more academic path you can choose, the other being actual work training. No matter where you are though, there should be a variety of classes available. I come from a very small high school, with only 150 students, so we didn't have as much special courses as some others did, but we had some. You could get a course for your driver's lisense, which is pretty nice. There was a lot of media courses, as well as a few where you could start your own business for a few months. We made a four-day trip to Krakow with about 25 people, while another 15 were in Ireland at the same time. The trip was probably one of my best times in high school, because you're "studying" but in reality it's just travelling with your friends. We did learn some valuable skills though, like how to apply for a subsidy and how to book a flight.

Another great course that our school offered, was a "safety course". It was really interesting and actually useful. We had a few first-aid classes, very simple self-defence and we got to know the functions of the fire and police department. Since I live in a town that's home to one of the largest military bases in Finland, and our high school is literally 50% kids of people in the military, the course was partly led by a military guy, I'm quite sure he was a major but hell if I remember, and we also got to visit the base for a night. It was nice, although, everyone has been there before and everyone has been inside a tank countless times, but it was interesting. It was also a great way for the women to get to know what the military is like, since we don't have to serve like men do. 

I personally didn't attend one course because I was out of town back then and I had done it in middle school, but we had a course where we hiked in a local National park and spend a weekend there, technically learning how to make a tent and a fire, what plants and mushrooms you can eat and how to survive a few days in the woods in case you get lost.This is also very hands-on learning, as you actually get outside and do something youself, instead of just sitting in a classroom. 

Yes, school is mostly about boring classes at 8 in the morning, but school should also offer life skills that prepare kids for their future alone in the big world. If you get to do something else than just take notes and listen, go for it. Practical skills and learning them is important and also something a lot of schools could offer a lot more.


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