The One Thing All Grades at All Schools Should be Teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by a2z, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    How many kids really become professional football player, world know opera singers, American Idol Winner, etc?

    I think from early on kids need to learn that while it may be possible for them to achieve that status the chances are slim it will happen and everyone needs a back-up plan for which they focus their attention. It can be done in a factual way and in ways not to deflate their hopes, but it needs to be done. I'm sure some families might not like their child to hear this, but if done in a factual way, we can teach children about building their lives in two paths - their dream and their backup plan. Teach them to work hard for their dream and for an alternative. Maybe with enough hands-on lessons in probability they just might realize that having a realistic back-up plan is a good thing.

    Imagine a jar filled with different colored papers of different occupations and teaching students what each occupation needs in term of skills. A good visual might help them see that while they may attain their desired goal that the chances they will end up elsewhere is much higher.
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Well said a2z - I usually approach this by asking what kids want to do after they retire from professional sports at 35 or so.

    Oh, and the stat I've heard is that the odds of becoming a professional athlete are 1 in 16,000 ;)
     
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I concur with the well-saidness.

    I'm all about encouraging those dreams, but so many kids (and their parents!) have that one non-surefire goal. How many stories have you heard of mediocre kids eschewing everything in pursuit of some wonderful dream? Then having absolutely no back-up when Insert Great College Team doesn't pick them?
     
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  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd rather teach them about the variety of careers within a field. If you love sports, then there are careers as coaches, physical trainers, golf/club pros, PE teachers, etc. if you love music, there are jobs as performers, but far more jobs as musicologists, theorists, historians, 1-on-1 teachers, accompanists, stage workers, recording technicians, teachers, etc. In both cases, there is a highly visible "front man" but far more people behind the scenes. For every doctor, there are huge numbers of RNs, LPNs, medical techs, Physician's assistant, lab techs, phlebotomists...
     
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  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Gr3, I'm all for that as part of teaching about jobs and back-up plans. I even thought about including that type of lesson in my original post, but I decided to keep it simple. I'm glad you brought up the necessity to teach about the range of careers in a field or interest area.

    I was thinking about the young kids at first and how to get them to see that they need to consider more than just their dream.
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I love when everyone always said, "Well so and so didn't go to college" or "dropped out and look how successful they are." Wonderful. You're not that person so we definitely need to prep them, but even "working hard" isn't really enough anymore. So we should teach them about being flexible, resourceful and taking every opportunity possible. You WON'T come out of school at the top and make millions of dollars. You'll have to, like the rest of us, get your foot in the door and work your way up. But I think even kids who have those "dream " jobs are realistic and understand that it's probably not going to happen. I say teach them about a skill or interest they have and find some way to be successful with it. You know how much money mechanics can make? And a lot of our students would truly benefit from those types of jobs.
    :)
     
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  8. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    This may or may not be related but I am astonished at the number of high school children who have no aptitude or interest in academics at the high school level but whose future plans some how include college. Why pursue secondary education if you are uninterested in and/or fail to master the skills required of K-12 students??? Imo, this is analogous to an athlete who skips playing basketball in high school (for example) but wants to play the sport in college.

    Let me be the first to say that I do not think college is the "be all and end all" for young people. Trade school or vocational training can provide wonderful opportunities.

    Our young people DO need better education about the "real world". It makes me a little sad when I hear a young person in my school who has struggled to make C's all the way through school in math say that she wants to go to engineering school. Or a young man who has an 18 on his ACT tell you that he wants to be a doctor someday. i don't discourage ANY dreams but am somehow saddened by how misaligned our young people are with reality.
     
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I had a friend who was a star student on high school. All the teachers assumed she'd go on to some great college. She did a bit here and there and eventually wants a degree (we graduated 2002) but lives a much more artistic life. And is perfectly happy.
     
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  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Hello multiple intelligences!
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I guess when the society says to students all the time that you can be anything you want to be, they believe it.
     
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  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I'm in agreement, and have a few further ideas on this. I think it's also important for teachers to encourage a desire to learn, learning for the sake of learning, not just to achieve a vocation. I agree with GTB4GT and Backroads, we should be careful not to degrade some jobs; there is a variety of occupations for a variety of people and a variety of interests. I heard a news commentary once that asked, "What's wrong with flipping burgers? A person starts out flipping burgers and ends up managing the restaurant." I wonder if it's all about money, too. Money is important, no doubt, but some people prefer not to attempt to be rich, just work hard for a living and enjoy life. Some people give up high paying careers to help others in need; I know a person who gave up a lucrative medical career to establish clinics in Liberia. Leaborb192 is so right that students need to realize that you don't just automatically start out at a top level job. Art Linkletter started out as a hobo! And on a humorous note, I'm told that when I was about 4 or 5, my dream was to grow up to be a pumpkin. I haven't achieved that goal yet! :)
     
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  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I love teaching my speech class, because I get to teach skills that kids will need no matter what they are doing in the future. Interview skills, leadership skills, working in a group, etc.

    I encourage my kids to explore a variety of career options. What I'm seeing is that all of my female students aspire to grow up and run nonprofits. Those jobs exist, sure, but not in the quantities they seem to think they do.
     
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  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We host several presentations about skilled trades, career pathways, apprenticeship opportunities, etc. A few years ago, a group of parents complained to the principal about the fact that we were sending the message that anything other than "professional" jobs were acceptable. When the P put them in their place, they tried, unsuccessfully, to go above her head to the superintendent. Sometimes, it's the parents who need the education as much as, if not more than, the students.
     
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  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My new school tries to get students thinking ahead beyond graduation. This neighborhood is very economically disadvantaged and many of our parents didn't make it through high school, so we're very realistic here. We talk about technical schools and community colleges before we start looking at major universities, and that's in the shadow of Ohio State.
     
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  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I think that it needs to start really early though before unproductive mindsets take hold.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Education gives us options. That's what should be taught in all grades at all schools. There's nothing wrong with a third grader wanting to be a catcher for the Yankees...but it's also important that kid knows it's also awesome to be a great reader, writer, math thinker. And THAT'S what I teach....that life is a journey and that the more you know, the more equipped you are.
     
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  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I love to learn - period. That said, there have been many times when I wish I had learned to do some plumbing, electrical wiring, car repairs, not to mention REALLY mastering cooking at a higher level. I thought I would be a vet - I am a teacher. Did I settle? No, but I always had a pretty good view of the big picture. Our students can work hard to pursue a dream (sing, play sports, be on TV or radio, fly a plane), but it truly is about seeing where the connections are to the dream and real life. If we can truly fan the flame of excitement to continue learning, all through a lifetime, they will never find themselves unexpectedly without any skills, should the dream not pan out. Dreams evolve and mature, and it is good for them to play "what if. . . ". What if a concussion meant I would never start in the NFL? What if poor math skills meant I would never be an engineer? What if I lost my vision, preventing me from becoming a pilot? Getting our students to consider "then I would. . ." is truly a higher order thinking skill, and we should all find ways to incorporate it into our curriculum. What is just fantasy today could be tomorrow's reality.
     
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  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Making a connection--I went to see a production of A Chorus Line the other day. My favourite part was when the cast are all sitting on stage thinking and talking about what they would do if "this" all ended tomorrow. We need to teach our students (and ourselves) to be thinking about the "what if...".
     
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