5 Essential Skills For The 21st Century That Aren’t Taught At School

School surely brings back some old memories. Yet, for as long as I am able to remember I never really enjoyed school­­ — I just entered my third year of high school and it still hasn’t gotten any better. I remember reading this one article about education; it said that schools don’t teach you how to think, but what to think. Moreover, I have ADHD and Dysgraphia. These disabilities have always had a negative impact on my academic performance.

At school, I’ve always put on this rebellious appearance that I projected onwards the school’s system. Succinctly, I deliberately failed my assessments and I began to procrastinate frequently. Yet, don’t try to get me wrong here; education is one of my main priorities. There is a vast difference between school and education.

I am a voracious reader. For as long as I am able to remember, I always had a zeal for knowledge. I’ve been reading ever since I was 3-years-old — my mother taught me to read and write in German and my father taught me to speak English, which I’ve become fluently proficient in only by the time I was 6-years-old.

I’ve entered first grade by the age of 6. My parents enrolled me in a private, international school — most teachers there were from English speaking countries, primarily the US. So, the curriculum was taught entirely in English.

From that moment on, I’ve been ‘underachieving academically’ ever since, as my teachers described it. Due to my learning disabilities my teachers always downgraded my potential — I distinctively remember this one teacher during second grade who told me that I’ll never amount to anything in my life because I was ‘lazy’; evidently, she never really liked me, probably because I never completed her assignments and I’ve always slacked-off in her class — as I think of it, I probably was a ‘lazy’ child by her definition.

With all that being said, I am quite sure that there are a number of people out there who could relate to my experience. Right now, I would like to compose a list of the five essential skills they don’t teach us at school.

Firstly, most schools don’t teach students computer science/programming. Technology is continuously innovating and most schools are neglecting to deliver students this knowledge. According to Code.org, only 1 out of 10 schools teach computer programming. At my school, only this year have they integrated a computer programming course into the curriculum.

Sadly, the only binary languages that students are being taught in my school’s class are PHP, HTML 5 and JavaScript, which isn’t a bad start, but I believe we could teach students more than just 3 languages. For the most part, I am self-taught when it comes to writing code; I’ve learned Python in a matter of months and now I’ve begun learning C#. Even though most of you aren’t planning on pursuing engineering or a computer related field, a basic understanding of code is very helpful in the job market these days.

Second, students aren’t taught how to negotiate and socially interact between each other. It has been said that our younger generation is often referred to as the silent generation, probably because kids these days spend most of their time behind computer screens or in front of their phones, which is quite saddening. Socializing is an important aspect of life, no matter how you’re doing it.

Kids these days often communicate virtually, either it’s through texting, Facebook, email, telephone, etc. I think our younger generation should learn more about communication in person/in reality. In fact, it’s the parents that are pushing their kids towards this social isolation — I’ve often witnessed 3-year-old children walking with iPhones and spending most of their time playing on their PSPs instead of socially interacting between each other. I am also noticing this sort of isolation at many schools. Mostly, students spend their recess using their electronic devices — surely, they do play sports and talk with each other, but it’s often the newest app they want to show to their friends or a new video was posted by some famous YouTuber.

Third, schools don’t teach the basics of financial management. Financial management is a compulsory skill which always has a great benefit for our future. School’s math classes could teach kids how to accurately manage their finances; they could somehow affiliate mathematics with money management. Kids should learn the basic steps of budgeting, loan debt, compound interest and how to save more money than you spend.

Fourth, how to apply for a job or a job interview, school is all about preparing the youth for the outside world. Applying for a job or obtaining it is a crucial part of one’s future. Schools should teach their students how to write a resume, how to review career options and how to undergo a successful job interview.

Lastly, schools should teach students about college debt and pursuing a proper major. College loan debt is quite an issue nowadays. The average debt from a four-year, public university is approximately $28,000. Counselors should teach students what exactly college loan debt is and how to repay it by the time you graduate.

Also, students must thoroughly understand what major they’re going to pursue in college. Nowadays, most students can’t find jobs due to the degrees they’ve received from a university — degrees that are pretty much worthless (e.g. liberal arts, English, philosophy, etc.).

I am not trying to downgrade school, no. School is something all of us must go through; it’s essential for all of us to obtain a high school diploma. I am simply trying to communicate that our current education could use a couple of improvements for the future.

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