Mr Kemp NZ

10 life skills that are missing from todays classrooms

Today’s blog is a guest post from Micah Hocquard. Micah teaches year eight at Medbury School in Christchurch, New Zealand. He’s passionate about financial education and has been incorporating it into his curriculum for over a decade. This knowledge and experience enabled him to co-found Banqer, the financial education startup in 2015.

As educators we’re entrusted with a great responsibility; to advance the knowledge of our students. And if we’re honest, this often stretches well beyond the bounds of our curriculum. Although we ensure a good dose of literacy and numeracy skills, we often search outside of these bounds to form well-rounded mini-members of our society.

As I see it there are ten concepts often missing from the classroom that strongly contributes towards the future trajectory of our students. I feel compelled to outline these in the hopes that one day they’ll be part of the core teachings in the classroom. For many of you out there these will already be staples of your own accord, and for the rest, maybe this could be the catalyst to introducing something new.

So in no particular order…

  1. Financial literacy: Love it or loathe it, the undeniable truth of our society is that money makes the world go ‘round. And every member of society will have to deal with credit cards, overdrafts, insurance, mortgages, rent, or tax at some stage in their life. Unfortunately, the bulk of us ‘learn’ these skills by trial and error, which as an educator makes me shudder. Financial literacy is actually really applicable to a lot of classroom activities. My previous post ‘Five ways to introduce financial education into your class’ will give you a good rundown on some of the options in front of you.
  2. Mental health: With some shocking youth mental health statistics globally it’s mind-boggling to think that we don’t tackle this head-on in schools. And believe it or not, there are some ready-made resources that you can get started within your class. If time is limited, it can be as simple as adding another book to the classroom library.
  3. Driving: Clearly one for high schools, but this practical skill can transform a young adult’s life. With license and training fees going into the hundreds if not thousands this can exclude a large subset of our society. For some it would make sense to offer this in high schools, enabling an entire generation to be more mobile and more educated on our roads.
  4. Emotional intelligence: If you haven’t read Search Inside Yourself you’re missing out. No longer are we just focusing on IQ, the EQ is just as telling of someone’s intelligence. This is at the core of creating well-rounded students.
  5. Coding: We need to produce students ready for the workforce ten years from now, and what does that look like? Well, it’s a lot more connected and autonomous than ever before. Just as we teach English, so too should we be promoting computer languages. In the future, they will be just as prolific, if not more. And again, there are a bunch of awesome resources at your disposal.
  6. Nutrition: This one is a no-brainer. The rise in youth-obesity and other related illnesses is a major cause for concern. We may not be able to determine what they eat right now but can at least raise the curtain on the truths of food.
  7. Budgeting: I know I’ve covered Financial Literacy generally, but just wanted to narrow things down a bit. If the full #FinLit gauntlet is a bit much for your classroom, and a very consumable chunk is budgeting. 
  8. Time management: Future employers will thank you, and actually you’ll see dividends sooner yourself as well. This is behavioural based learning and it isn’t easy as it takes time to develop these habits. Start incorporating clocks, timers, calendars, and scheduling into your daily class routine to begin forming positive habits with your students.
  9. Negotiating: Whether it’s in business, or personally negotiation skills are extremely valuable. Introduce the art of persuasion into your classroom through persuasive writing, debates, or you could always Battle for the Orange.
  10. Conflict resolution: For when the negotiation doesn’t go so well, there’s conflict resolution. Who hasn’t had a ‘conflict’ in their classroom? Well, this actually presents a great learning opportunity. How kids handle conflict is a strong indicator as to how they’ll deal with conflict as adults. We can teach our students that conflict isn’t a bad thing, it just has to be handled appropriately.

Seem overwhelming? Well if you tried to introduce all ten concepts at once, it would be. Try introducing one a term, and always integrate them into your existing class workload rather than carving out additional time. This can be the most rewarding kind of teaching as you see your students transform into mini-adults in front of you.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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