What other classes do you think schools should include?

I just posted this on twitter:

Post your thoughts here.





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A world religions/cultures class would be useful. Part of the cause of provincial attitudes is that people do not get exposed to differing opinions. It is hard to claim that 'everyone' believes as you do when you know the majority of the world does not.
One of the things I saw fade in high schools was trade schooling.  My high school in Texas was one of the top performing schools in the state. They more or less drilled us every month about how important college is, and how you need those good grades to get in the college you want. My point is college is not right for everyone. But yet, it is instilled into our brains that we need to go where we want to go in life. This is totally not true. Kids should have the option to decide if they want to learn a trade or go to college.

I got a job working as a recruiter for the Art Institute of Washington. The kids that were coming in (I would say about 60%) already had school debts from other colleges with nothing to show for it, and now they are at a school that costs 100k for the full program. Pure madness. (FYI NEVER step foot into any AI school system!)

The worst part is when I would tell kids/parents how much the school cost, almost 90% never even flinched at the price. As in most just don't have any concept of what 100k really means.

So then the kid gets out of school still has no idea what they want to do and now with 100k+ of debt. Turns out the the kid can't get a job in his/her field and becomes a welder and makes a great living being a undersea dive well welder.
I wonder how many high schools still have shop classes. Mine did, but I bet they are scarcer these days.

And people wonder why we don't make anything in America anymore. It's because somewhere along the line the idea of working with your hands is somehow demeaning. Everyone is not equipped to be an academic .


Spot on.

More sociology and psychology classes, at my school they just had two intro classes and that was it until you graduated. Culture classes would help kids understand the world a bit better, forcing them outside of their personal bubbles.Philosophy I think would also be a great class for teenagers. At a time where people spend most of their time questioning who they are and such, I think it would be great to throw some big philosophy names at them to make them ask even more questions.


Not so much high school, but I think in the early years it should be required that kids learn Spanish and then their 3rd language could be a choice.

Sadly, Adriana my high school was seriously all test based for the stupid state tests. There is no critical thinking needed. Just memorize test review take test, forget everything you learned, repeat. 


Like I said in a old blog post. I have learned more on How Stuff Works .com than all of high school.



One of the factors that caused me to stop going to math classes in high school was my frustration with the learning environment.  Trigonometry is what I generally view as the straw to break the camel's back. Instead of understanding the basic theory and principles of trig, students were largely memorizing a series of steps to apply to a series of set conditions framed in a limited range of contexts provided the appropriae data is given.


In my experience, this doesn't reflect reality.  In my experience, the problems I encounter don't have a list of givens; I have to analyse the situation, the tools I have at my disposal and gather the data required to solve the problem.  Once I've gotten that far, I can plug in the correct equation, provided it already exists, and solve the problem, but without critical analysis and a fundamental comprehension of theory, how would I even know which equation to use?


When I was still pretty young, fourth or fifth grade, I encountered a problem that had to do with the number of arrangements for four different digits.   At first, I solved this problem by generating all of the combinations and counting them.  Then, out of curiosity, I tried it with a set of three digits and a set of five.  Then I worked out a shorter method, and tested it.  The solution came to this.


For the digits 789, there are 3x2x1 = 6 different orders in which they can be arranged.

For the digits 6789, there are 4x3x2x1 = 24 different orders.

For the digits 56789, there are 5x4x3x2x1 = 120 different orders.


If I'm not mistaken, the concept is written n!


I remember this distinctly because it was immensely satisfying to solve the problem myself.  It was deeply gratifying to have analysed a problem, and grasped the underlying mechanics.  Obviously not all of my learning could be that way; it's too impractical.  Still, a certain portion of learning has to be that way.  What use is a mathematician of scientist who only knows how to regurgitate established facts? 


Ah, I'm probably rambling again.  I f'n hated school most of the time.

That's true.  I am getting at a shades of grey issue.  Nobody is a perfect robot capable only of mindlessly repeating programmed facts.  I just think that Canadian and American youth are often underestimated in their ability to think critically and to address concepts at a theoretical level.


When it comes to students pursuing university studies, especially at the post graduate level, I assume that they'll have to hone the critical thinking skills necessary to progress.  It's just that critical thinking isn't something that just applies to academia.  If we don't start establishing it at the foundation of education through high school, what happens to all those pursuing non-academic paths?


I went into a technical program.  The math involved was pretty damn simple.  If you could understand the basics of logarithms, you were covered.  I think this sent some students into a mental tailspin.  It's not that they didn't know the applicable math; it's that they didn't know how to go about learning what they didn't know on their own.  That's problematic to me.

Initially, I had only intended to agree with that thought.  I just got side-tracked in bitter reminiscence of my school days.  I went through a burn out when I was still only a teenager.  Hard to let that go at times.  


Also one of my sentences was worded incorrectly:


If we don't start establishing it at the foundation of education [from elementary] through [to] high school, what happens to all those pursuing non-academic paths?

I just googled "critical thinking" syllabus (with quotes). 2-1/2 million links.

Haha, but who knows how good those links are? Put on your critical thinking cap.

Has anyone ever had a separate class called "critical thinking" or something similar?

shouldn't the schools be teaching critical thinking skills every second they are teaching something?

Absolutely, but Language is also like this. Critical thinking and language (etc.) comes along as a bonus with the regular courses. Meanwhile, imo we need to boost critical thinking skills somehow, but how can that be deployed across several classes by policy?

One way might be to require a class with broader (or similar) context, like Critical Consumption of Media, especially in light of the pervasiveness of internet media. So I'll at least nominate that, Matthew.


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