Why do we learn this stuff?

My son Tim is about to start Year 10 at our local college, and the typical refrain of 'why do I have to learn this stuff if it's not useful in real life' has started to be bandied about in our home. I usually respond with the typical parent answers like 'you never know when you won't have a calculator around when you need one…"

Wisdom Through YouTube

However in response, Tim showed me an amazing YouTube video from a young UK rapper 'Boyinaband' entitled 'Don't stay in school'. In his music video, he made some very powerful points about what we traditionally learn in the education system, and how flawed much of it is. For example, some of his 'rhymes' went like this:

Advertisement

"I wasn't taught how to get a job — but I can remember dissecting a frog"

"I wasn't taught how to pay tax — but I know loads about Shakespeare's classics"

"I was never taught how to vote — they devoted that time to defining isotopes"

"Never spent a lesson on current events — instead I studied The Old American West"

"Didn't learn how much it costs to raise a kid or what an affidavit is — but I spent days on what the quadratic equation is"

"Never taught present day practical medicines — but I was told what the ancient Hippocratic method is"

"They chose the solar over the political system — so like a typical citizen now I don't know what I'm voting on"

As we listened to this song in bumper to bumper traffic, it suddenly struck me to imagine a world where 20% of the population were trained in Advanced First Aid… A major traffic accident would have tens of people qualified to provide first responder support to the injured, instead of us all standing around and taking photos to upload to Facebook…

Advertisement

Real World Learning

Please don't get me wrong — I am not a hater of our education system. I am a HUGE FAN of school-based careers educators, and genuinely feel our teachers in general are some of the most hardworking, under-appreciated and under-paid members of our society.

However, as a career specialist, surely the education system should be designed to give our kids real world skills, preparing them for both their future employment, as well as being an engaged, responsible and positive member of our local and global community.

To our new Prime Minister who is soon to be a mum — what would you prefer for your child, if they come across an accident scene 18 years from now? That they could use their advanced first aid skills they were qualified in at school to save a life, or know quadratic equations to figure out the statistical chance of this event happening?

Contact Tom for a free LinkedIn or CV review, or to be your personal career coach. Visit www.CareerCoach.nz or www.CV.co.nz to find out more.