What do you wish you had learned in HS?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ku_alum, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    A colleague and I are going to ask if we can do a rebuild of the curriculum for a 12th grade English class for students who have vocation plans (instead of college plans).

    What are things you wished you had learned in HS?

    Ideas to get you started:
    - Interview skills
    - Filing taxes
    - How to change your engine oil

    If you're wondering how taxes and engine oil relate to English ... I can imagine reading about filing taxes (reading is an English outcome) ... I can imagine students demonstrating how to change engine oil (speaking is an English outcome) ...

    So, what are real world, real life topics you wish you had learned in HS?

    Share anything that comes to mind ... it is likely it can be related somehow to reading, writing, speaking, or listening.
     
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  3. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I took a speech class and we had to do a how to do speech & someone did change a tire.

    I would say write a good résumé & cover letter.

    My student teaching we had a panel of teacher's do mock interviews.
     
  4. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    How insurance works, how change a tire, how credit scores are calculated
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Budgeting

    How Health Insurance Works

    How to Make Good Life Choices

    I think this is a great idea, by the way!
     
  6. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    What about reading contracts...esp fine print before signing lease, work contract, etc

    Some questions that may be good to ask employers

    Sending thank you notes after interviews.
     
  7. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    How to address an envelope! Believe it or not, we've had seniors bring in envelopes for letters of recommendation who didn't know where to stick the stamp. Definitely basic budgeting, how to write a check, etc.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    How to learn.
    Meaning how the brain works, how best to study, how to be organized, avoid procrastination, and that mistakes are something to learn from, not be ashamed of.

    I've learned it now, but it would have been a lot more helpful in the past.

    Edit: I realize now that you're more focused on "real-world" skills rather than academic ones, (though I think the case can be made that they would apply to the real world too), so I'll add:

    How to make health appointments. How to budget. How to fix my car! Also how to develop a resume and how and who to ask for letters of recommendation (also to anticipate having to ask for them ahead of time).
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Keep the ideas coming, folks! MUCH appreciated!
     
  10. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Since cursive isn't taught too much anymore...How to sign their name.... LOL!!!
    Start memorizing your soc security number since that's how you're identified in college. LOL!!!
    I agree with the how to study.
    Oh looking through course books & how to pick classes & register....
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I proctored the SATs many times and there was always at least one kid who didn't know what "sign your name" meant when they had to sign off on their exam booklet. I had to put up an example on the board :dizzy:
     
  12. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    What to do when you get your first place--utilities (and procedures for getting them connected, etc.), furnishings, renter's insurance, things like that. Also, all the 'hidden' expenses that add up, so you know what you can afford.

    How to set up a filing system and what papers need to be saved (and for how long).

    Menu planning and grocery shopping on a budget.
     
  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Oh, how to communicate appropriately with various people in different settings (like, proper tone for e-mails to a boss, or your child's teacher, etc.)
     
  14. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Technology and computer skills, if they didn't already get that earlier.

    How to work together with others.

    Communication, problem solving, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, respecting bosses and management, how to deal with failure, what it means to work hard...
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My hubby would say how to write an email to a VP or above of a corporation and not sound like an oaf.

    He spent a lot of time in high school focused on becoming a machinist, sure that's where he would be his whole life. Now he is a Business Unit Manager with an MBA who STILL struggles with writing precisely (thank goodness for good tutors who helped him through grad school). Things like spelling, grammar, and just sounding professional.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    How to do laundry
    How to cook a few different meals using staple ingredients
    How to register for classes in college
    How to set up a professional email account
    How to interview for a job
    How to dress for an interview
    Basic car maintenance
    Basic budgeting skills
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why do most of these situations not fall under learning to read, analyze, problem solve, ask and answer questions, the scientific process,conduct research..etc all of which are already taught in HS?
     
  18. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    I was fine learning stuff like laundry, cooking, interviewing, budgeting, etc all in college. I think I was even more open to it then. I would actually have liked some guidance on methods to open opportunities later in life: why a double major could be valuable, the statistics on what people think they will be doing before college and what they do after, how to network to attain internships, courses rated most valuable by graduates. Basically all guidance on why to keep you mind open, not just, pick a major and a path at 18-19 years old.
     
  19. Go Blue!

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    Often the curriculum we are asked to use does not teach step-by-step (informational text) lessons for these type of things. These lessons are not designed to focus on the actual act of balancing a checkbook or changing a flat tire - it is usually just an element of the lesson/story.

    At my HS, the people focused on teaching informational text (social studies, English and science teachers) cannot just stop for a few days to teach the lessons mentioned in this thread. To teach these topics thoroughly, many of them should be address for more than 20 or 30 minute in the middle of a lesson.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    No what I mean is, isn't someone who is educated able to "figure out" either thru research, knowing how to ask questions, knowing how to read a set of directions..etc able to navigate many of these topics WITHOUT direct instruction in them?

    Shouldn't students understand HOW to learn something new, without the direct instruction in it, from HS?

    These are my thoughts.
     
  21. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    They should but that is not always the reality in regards to Seniors (the OP's target audience). I deal with teaching the reality of the kids that show up at my door and many of them are not-prepared to organically learn some of the skills listed and I believe an opportunity for "supervised trial and error" through direct instruction could be beneficial.

    Should we work on improving students' ability to figure out the "How?" on their own? Of course. But the ability to figure out "How" can be taught while also teaching the skills mentioned in this thread in a separate course. Also, since the OP's target audience is teaching Seniors, we have limited time to instill these skills in them, thus I would prefer to equip them with something NOW before they enter the real world in less than 10 months.

    The OP also mentioned trying to create a vocational program which means - at least here - that these kids have no intention of going to college immediately. So yes, considering the target audience, I feel that these skills are important enough to be taught in an environment/class dedicated to solely teaching them.
     
  22. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Awesome, thank you for taking the time to respond.
     
  23. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Awesome response!
    THANKS!
     
  24. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I see this ALL THE TIME. HS that can't sign their names, mostly because they don't know cursive or haven't heard the phrase before.

    Also, I've met A LOT of kids that cannot tell time unless they have a digital watch/clock. Can't read a non-digital clock to save their lives.
     
  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    The inability to tell time that isn't in digital mode is very sad. I fear that many will never know they are supposed to time out and go home, just because they can't tell the time from where the big hand and little hand are on the clock! OK, maybe hunger will be their signal, but knowing how to tell time, legally sign your name in cursive, and figuring out what one should wear to a job interview should be requirements. Beyond that, I wish that they all knew that not everyone should go to college. If you can take a car apart and put it back together, you are on your way to being an excellent mechanic - and who isn't looking for one of those. Plumbers get a bad wrap, but a great paycheck, as does the electrician, cabinet maker, and pipefitter. There is success without college for many, and it is not stupid to follow another path to a good living. In anyone doubts this, ask the college graduates who can't find a job.
     
  26. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree with this. I would add however, that people that are good at the described professions should be very bright students. They have the capability to be successful in learning at the university level, they choose to do something different, they are not relegated to it because school was too hard. Doing those professions at a high level require the same academic behaviors as doing university level classes...imo.
     
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I think that you need to have the ability to learn and be motivated by subjects that are not traditionally taught in a four year college. That does not mean inept, but with varied strengths. Many of the vocational courses are excellent for the hand's on learner who may struggle with vast quantities of reading. Play to your strengths and interests.
     
  28. Moogeeg

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    I was actually taught many life skills in my own Life Management class: renting, finding a roommate, balancing a checkbook/budgeting, shopping for groceries and cooking easy meals.

    I now teach the same classes. Many high schools still offer Family and Consumer Science courses (in fact, in many states it is nearly all of them) but students are generally not required to take them.
     
  29. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Don't know if it was mentioned- but GET A CREDIT CARD! I'm 27 and just now approved for my first credit card. Guess why I couldn't get one before? Because I had no credit. It's a vicious cycle.

    You always hear "never get a credit card, they'll ruin your life, etc". So I never did. Then I graduated college and couldn't get one because I had no credit! Well it's pretty hard to do things with no credit. So you do need to get a credit card, just spend wisely.

    Second thing would be to don't take extra money in college. They'll throw loans at you so you can get your refund check and go buy clothes. Don't take anything extra, you have to pay that back.

    Finally- don't buy textbooks until you know you need them (aka you have an assignment in that book) try getting them from the library or buying an old edition online. My first semester I went and spent $800 on books and didn't even use half of them. Also one year I bought a lab book online, old edition for $1. The new book was $180. The only thing different was the cover. All the page numbers were the same, the diagrams, everything.
     
  30. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Financial skills such as balancing checkbook, making a budget etc. Fortunately, I did learn these in college.

    Also, I would have enjoyed more dancing classes. I stunk at dancing until a patient girl-friend taught me late in college. I went on to enjoy it a lot.

    I was very thankful that my high school taught how to make a resume, cover letter, and how to do taxes. These took a long time to teach and learn these, but I got so much out of them. I have always done my own taxes and high school and college tax accounting really helped.
     
  31. GeetGeet

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    I am constantly surprised at how difficult this is for many students (and people) to do, so in the best interests of the students it is sometimes best to give information more directly.
     
  32. Jerseygirlteach

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    I wish schools taught altruism.
     
  33. GTB4GT

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    I wish students were taught how to do a "'business case" analysis for their college/major of choice. They need to look at total cost of attending, expected earnings of their given major, job prospects within that field, how well the college does in job placement of their graduates, etc. I know of too many college graduates who made poor decisions in regards to their college choice and are now facing large amounts of debt while working jobs that do not require a degree.

    I personally know of one young man who works at a local factory who earned a degree specific to the field of aviation (don't recall exactly what it was). He decided AFTER college that he did not want to relocate away from this area (nearest major airport 100+ miles away). So he is doing a job for which no degree is required. An incredible waste of money (although 4 years at a college or university is indeed a wonderful time). But he could have gone to that specific town, spent 4 years working at Starbucks and having the same great time, and returned without the student loan debt.
     
  34. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I will second that! :thumb:
     
  35. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I 2nd Lucy with the books... By used!!!
    How to find out about scholarships.....
     
  36. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Personal finance.
     
  37. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Ugh dealing with dr offices & insurance...UGH!!!!
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I learned a lot of the things mentioned at home. I learned to balance a checkbook and write checks when I got my first job one summer in high school.
     
  39. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I was prepared for most of these things by learning how to learn. There is no way anyone could have taught me a course directly on everything one needs to know in life. I learned how to figure things out.
     
  40. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I wish that my college would have given us more direct instruction on writing a resume and cover letter and interviewing. For students who plan to go straight into a career after high school, this would be a good thing to learn in HS.

    I also think budgeting is important like many others said. Like Lucy said, I had the same struggle with credit. I was always told to avoid credit cards. I wish someone would have told me to get one and use it to build credit. I never had one in college, and then had an extremely hard time getting my first apartment because I had no credit to speak of. I ended up having to put down a $1500 deposit due to my lack of credit! Luckily, I had the money saved up, but I know many others would not be so lucky. I got a credit card right away. When I moved two years later, my credit was so good that I didn't have to put down a deposit at all.
     
  41. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    This may have already been mentioned, but in this personal finance vein, kids should definitely learn how credit cards calculate interest.
     

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