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Teaching Strategies: Life Skills NOT Taught in School

Janelle Cox

Our teaching strategies should incorporate a variety of life skills that students can take with them throughout their educational journey and beyond. While students do learn many valuable skills throughout middle school and high school, our teaching strategies may lack many skills that students need in order to thrive in life: Teaching strategies such as how to handle money and establish and maintain good credit, how to cook and find a job, and how to manage their time efficiently. Here are five of the many life skills that are not taught in the school system, but should be.

1. Teaching Strategies: How to Handle Money

One thing the education system DOES teach our students is the basics of money; what it is, how it works, and why we need it. Some schools even go as far as teaching children how to use their money to buy groceries or pay bills. What the education system does NOT teach is how to handle your money once you start making it. Many students are unaware of how to manage their finances or even how to open a bank account. They don’t know how much they should be putting into their savings account each paycheck or even how to pay their bills. Children need to learn and understand how to handle their own money before they are sent off to college, because once they turn 18, many of them will be living on their own.

2. How to Establish Credit

Once children leave high school and head to college, many of them get their first credit card. While it’s important to establish good credit, many children are completely unaware of how to establish and maintain their credit. Many students that get a credit card for the first time think of it as free money and don’t understand the ramifications of not paying their bill on time. Then these students get themselves into credit card debit which can lead to start of a negative financial future.

What the current school system needs to do is teach students the importance of steadily building credit. This way, students will not get into debt at a young age, and will therefore avoid any negative implications from credit institutions.

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3. How to Cook

You don’t hear much about home economics in school these days. Many think the demise of learning how to cook and gaining basic household skills was a regressive idea. However, it seems like these days many students are still lacking these basic life skills. Whether you think students should learn these skills at home or not, let’s face it, children can definitely benefit from learning how to cook. Cooking is an essential life skill, and if you want to live a healthy lifestyle as well as save some money when you are older, then it is important to know how to cook. The basics of food preparation, cooking, safety, and hygiene should all be a part of the current school curriculum.

4. How to Find a Job

The primary goal of education is to educate students so they will be contributing members of society once they graduate from high school. This means that once students graduate, they will either go on to college or go straight into the workforce. Either way, students will need to find a job at some point. One thing that schools often lack is to show students how to go about finding, applying for, and interviewing for a job. In addition to that, students never learn how to negotiate a contract or write a cover letter or resume. All of these valuable skills that students need are not usually learned before they leave high school.

What the school system needs to do is set up mock interviews, teach students how to write a cover letter and a resume, and teach them how to go about searching for a job once they graduate from college. These essential skills are something that students need to have in their back pocket before they even enter college, because many high school graduates do not even go on to college once they graduate, many just enter the workforce.

5. How to Manage Time

Having the ability to effectively manage your time is an essential life skill. Beginning in elementary school, students need to learn when to study, and when to complete their homework. Time efficiency is not only important in school, but it’s important in life. As we get older, our schedule becomes more hectic. The education system needs to teach our students the importance of time management at an early age, then students would be able to navigate their school life, their career, and then their family much better.

These are just five of the life skills that are not taught in school. There are many more essential skills that need to be taught in school, such as how to live on your own, how to defend yourself, first aid, the law, home repair, health care, and basic manners. In order for your students to be a well-rounded successful person, their needs to be a change in the current school curriculum.

What life skills do you think the education system is lacking? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.