In my opinion, the education system is extremely flawed. If not flawed, at least the focal point is wrong and our kids are missing out on invaluable tools for life.
So, on the fly, these are the things I think should be added to the school curriculum.
Or perhaps someone can start an after school school which teaches kids the following skills.
When I was at school, there was absolutely nothing devoted to interpersonal skills.
Interestingly, in medical school, we DID have interpersonal skills woven into our curriculum, because obviously someone woke up to the fact that being personable and compassionate as a doctor is a pretty important skill which patients value highly.
There should be lessons on empathic communication.
There should be lessons on how to attract and communicate with the opposite sex (how to attract your life partner, could there be something more important and empowering to teach???)
There should be lessons on how to sell (oh, selling is such an important skill) and the psychology behind sales.
There should be lessons on how to handle conflict and to be assertive – to express your opinion and make yourself heard.
There should be lessons on relationships, setting realistic expectations and communication within a relationship. How to find a life partner.
There should be lessons on leadership and how to work together as a team (these days more and more I believe we rely on teams rather than individuals… I like a section from Sutherland’s book on Scrum where he gave an example of a teacher who introduced students to Scrum and eventually got them to work together using the Scrum framework in his lessons…)
There should be lessons about how money works, because it becomes such an important thing in our lives.
That means teaching kids about the basics of economics, inflation, investing and pensions. Not in a dry and boring theoretical way, but in a practical way, the bare essentials that kids need in order to grow up to adults who understand how to protect their financial future.
I remember we had as some extra-curricular activity a stock market investing game with make believe money. But I think as part of the curriculum kids should invest with REAL money, there is no better way to learn, even if it is a tiny amount.
There should be lessons about mortgages (which barely any adults understand) and analysis done on whether it is better to own a home or rent and buy investment property.
Meditation and Self Reflection
We need to teach our kids mindfulness and meditation, so that they can experience more clarity in life.
We need to teach kids how to keep a journal which enables self-reflection and self-improvement.
Get kids to start a practice of gratitude (one of the only proven methods to increase well being).
We should teach kids about the fundamentals of well being and positive psychology.
We need to teach and mentor our kids in goal setting and visualization, the types of things that elite athletes are taught we should make available to everyone. They should have personal coaches who help them develop and explore their own unique interests, develop their personal goals and achieve their own unique potential.
I also think kids should have their own websites and blog as a way to connect with other like minded kids and develop an online presence.
Business & Entrepreneurship
We need to teach our kids about business – finding needs and meeting them. I believe there is little that is more useful. Business is creativity, it is an engine of economic growth. While not everyone may go on to start their own business I think the skills that they learn here will benefit them in whatever they do in life.
They shouldn’t learn theory. They should go out and start businesses and be mentored in the process. They should hear from entrepreneurs who have started businesses in different fields. They should learn from each other and their own successes and failures. They should learn to take small, hedged bets and carry out lots of experiments until they find success. They should learn to talk to potential customers, to work out their needs and desires, and then together with the customers to develop products to meet these needs and desired.
We should teach kids how to learn.
How to find journal articles and work out what scientific research has to say on a subject.
How to find books, courses, etc on given topics (there is so much information out there, they only need to know how to access it).
Independence and Curiosity
Most of all, I think we should foster their own independence, curiosity and their own uniqueness.
They should be mentored to find things they are curious about and take on the necessary self-motivated learning.
I think if someone cracks this, they will go on to make a lot of money. If you like this as a business idea, take this and try it out. I think it will make you rich and make the world a better place.
Who knows, maybe I will do something about this one day… After all, I am curious about it…