This week, changes to the NSW high school curriculum were announced, heralding a return to studying the ‘classic’ core subjects (think grammar, statistics, Shakespeare, World Wars) in greater depth.
The traditionalist in me applauds the changes.
The realist in me acknowledges that deconstructing Shakespearean sonnets and nailing algebra will only you get you so far in life.
Looking back on the things I scrambled with in my post-school years, I’ve put together a list of 10 things I think should be taught in high school (education department feel free to take note):
- How to change a flat tyre
- How to do a tax return (and other finance-y things like understanding credit cards, selecting health insurance, investing in the stock market and taking out a mortgage)
- How to recognise and address mental health concerns like anxiety, stress and depression
- How to cook rice (seriously, that stuff is impossible) and other basic dishes
- Manners and humanity. I still see people refuse to give up bus seats for the elderly and men not open doors for women. Abysmal.
- How to iron a business shirt, hang a painting and other general housekeeping matters
- How to interpret a weather chart
- How to find and apply for jobs (and how to negotiate, manage time, navigate workplace conflict and frustrations when you get one)
- How to think. How to find information, question that information and challenge the status quo. Rote learning fails to foster independent thought.
- Interpersonal communication. The art of good conversation is too often mutilated by email and social media. We live in the real world, so let’s figure out how to communicate within it.
Are there any other life skills you think should be taught in school?