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Each year thousands of students graduate high school and college and enter the real world without learning any life skills. This is an issue among many young adults today. College students only take classes that they need for their major, but it is very important for young adults to learn real-life skills so that they can eventually become independent on their own. Also, high schools are more focused on preparing and pushing students to do well on nation-wide test such as the American College Testing known as the ACT. Many schools use the phrase “College and Career Readiness,” but it seems as if the career readiness part is just an add on to the phrase. The author Nancy Hoffman explains that the lack of attention of career preparation divides students that the privileged students will be able to prepare for a job like there parents leaving the underprivileged or lower income students to think of work as a way of survival. Until schools really use the part “career readiness” and put it into action and not just college readiness which is the main focus in schools right now students will continue to be challenged once their finished with high school and are out in the real world on their own. Gheitarani Bahram did a quasi-experimental study that was conducted on thirty people that were randomly selected. The experimental group received life skills and the control group didn’t receive any. The ending results showed that teaching life skills did in fact increase the score of the students in self efficiency as well as emotional intelligence. Bahram made the conclusion that teachers and educators should teach life skills to students. Although education is important, so are the tools needed for the real world. The only “life” skills that are taught are safety and communication skills, but young adults don’t learn how to do these real-life skills. Real-life skills could include changing a tire, taking out a loan, or even doing a credit check. All these skills will affect students in very different ways. Having certain life skills will help with the challenges young adults will face at some point in their life. If young adults do not learn life skills, they will always need to depend on someone or something for the rest of their lives. Although parents are a great resource, they will not always be a phone call away or down the street. Sometimes Google can’t help when you are in a crisis and don’t have time to search the web. If life skills were implemented into schools’ daily curriculum students would know how to prepare and complete that task at hand. This would then lead to many more students and/or young adults becoming successful. Andrew Sum says, “Finding and keeping a job is a key step in a young person’s transition to adulthood and economic self-efficiency.” (Sum et al. 2014).
The main reason for this proposal is to find a solution on how life skills are to be taught during school. How can anyone be independent if they’ve never been shown how to live on their own? Having to teach yourself things can be very stressful and exhausting. According to Nancy Hoffman she explains how young adults are having trouble being efficient in the workplace. Hoffman says, “We tend to assume that young people should become educated and then go to work, as though the two were entirely separate stages of life.” She also states that school shouldn’t just be about getting kindergarten through twelfth grade education that it is more than that it will affect the process of obtaining a job. When becoming a young adult, the tasks become even more challenging and being able to do the challenging tasks will take some of the stress off your shoulders.
First, Life skills can be taught in schools in each subject in some fashion. For instance, math and physical education are two daily courses every student is required to take. In a math class a teacher could teach about obtaining and upholding a credit score, how to budget, and how to write a check. All these things deal with numbers and percentages. The teacher then would explain what a credit score is and why it is important. Credit scores lead to a credit report which then effect the rest of your life. If someone wants to take out a loan for a house or a car a bank will run a credit report and evaluate if the person is eligible to pay the loan back. Also, the math teacher could teach about budgeting along with credit scores. When a young adult learns how to budget, they become more aware and capable of paying bills. In physical education a teacher could take one class period and go outside and show them how to change a tire. Almost all schools have a car that is used for Drivers Education. The car could be used to show the steps of how to change and a tire and what all the lights on the dashboard mean. In science since we are already being taught about the anatomy of the body, nutrition could be incorporated to keep students aware and healthy. We should also teach students to listen to their bodies. If a student feels like something is wrong, then it is okay to share those concerns with a trusted adult. Students should also be made aware of the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on people. Although, it can be an uncomfortable scenario to talk about, it will make them aware of the things that could happen and the appropriate ways to react in situations.
Nevertheless, schools can start programs or workshops as well that will allow for kids to learn the different life skills mentioned above. During these workshops they can have different people come in and show how to do different things for example a financial advisor. These programs or workshops can help students find a job opportunity or even figure out what they want to do in life by having these different occupations come in and teach something different. Teenagers should feel confident when they graduate high school that there should be job opportunities knocking at their door instead of there being a big hassle. Salah Al-Ali says, “In recent years, industries have spent billions of dollars yearly to employ trained workers in order to increase profitability by reducing costs associated with on-the-job training and production errors.” (Ferguson 2007). This means that there is too much training and not enough life skills being taught. Also, companies are wasting a ton of money because students are not educated enough or taught basic skills. These programs or workshops will not only help the many students with life skills but also help students that have different problems within meaning emotions such as depression or even an anxiety disorder. When students can’t do something or figure out a solution to a problem, we tend to stress and get all worked up or feel stuck. Each student copes with problems differently as well. “Life skills aim to regain control over adolescents’ behavior when they take up certain decisions that can lead to positive behaviors and values.” (Ghasemian and Kumar 2). This means that being able to become independent on your own and staying positive can affect the behavior of student tremendously. When students are able to explain something on their own and then perform it to the best of their ability. Also, Salah Al-Ali did a study at the College of Technological Studies. Questionnaires were given to the selected six lectures and three hundred students in three different departments, but only two hundred and forty-five were returned and completed correctly. The six lecturers were based upon how they worked with oil and electricity. After looking over the questionnaires Salah Al-Ali determined that they were lacking the education they needed. Many of them had forgotten or didn’t even know the correct tools or machines. This caused a huge problem because they were graduates and were lacking in the skills, they needed in order to perform and do their job correctly. Furthermore, students not only need to learn at their job, but also in their classroom whether its high school or college.
According to Andrew Sum and Nancy Hoffman in the year two thousand only forty-four percent of teens were in the labor market and by the year two thousand and eleven the percentage had dropped by twenty-four percent. For teens with low income the odds of even having a job was at ten percent. Teens who had an income of a hundred and twenty thousand dollars or more had the highest employment rate as to where a student whose family has a lower income of forty thousand dollars had the lowest employment rate. (Sum et al. 2014). Also, in a recent study made by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce, Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation, that young adults ages eighteen to twenty-five change jobs about 6.3 times on average. This shows that every student needs to be prepared and have the knowledge they need about careers, life skills, and pathways. Students need more experience in the workplace now more than ever because times have changed drastically, and they will continue to change each and every day. This gives students a little push and boost of energy or life that will motivate them to keep going.
Lastly, schools can incorporate life skills by adding it as an elective class. Every student loves elective classes because teachers are more lenient and laid back. Since it is an elective class more students will want to take the class and it won’t be so easy for students to lose focus. Students tend to focus more on subjects that they can relate to rather than a history class where a teacher is just lecturing the whole class about the Revolutionary War for example. In the life skills class, the teacher should challenge the students and not just by tests, but also by outside of class for example, they can have each student find a job application and fill it out and it turn it back in and they will receive extra credit or a small grade for it. Also, if educators are worried if students wouldn’t take the class they can always send out a survey with the criteria of the class or if that’s too much trouble schools can also make everyone take the class like how Owensboro Community and Technical College makes each student take FYE 100 which is a class that every freshman has to take that explains how to find certain places and now to navigate through campus.
Although there are many benefits to learning real-life skills some may argue that it takes away from class time. The school day is already divided into different time slots for the common core curriculum, adding a different element of learning would lead many to believe that the common core subjects are not being taught to their full potential. People would also argue that real-life skills should be taught outside of school. Also, some might argue that we have the internet for learning and that high schools have guidance counselors and colleges have financial advisors and work study, but yet it isn’t there job to teach and professors and teachers are always pushing students to try their best to succeed in school well what about after schools is all over and they’ve graduated high school and decided to enter the work force instead of going to college. Now what are they going to do when they don’t have a clue on how to fill out an application or know how to dress for an interview. Nancy Hoffman uses the phrase “preparation for working life.” (Hoffman 2). What this means is that teens actually get to experience of working in the workforce. Many different countries get to experience this like Germany for example and they start teens out at the age of fifteen and sixteen. Another argument that will arise is how will we pay for the programs or workshops. There are many ways in which schools can cut back for example colleges are always raising tuition each year and high schools also spend money on items unnecessary such as a new football field which would end up getting ruined once it is played. High schools also receive grant money from the government each year in order to have supplies for the upcoming school year.
In conclusion it is important for young adults to learn about real-life skills throughout their education career. Without real-life skills students would be lost. They would feel less independent because they’d have to rely on their parents or the people around them for assistance. To make things come full circle teaching life skills in schools would then lead to more successful young adults because they are teaching them limits and boundaries. Once limits are taught it will lead to better credit scores and more finically stable young adults. Thus, preparing generations after us to follow in these same footsteps with the help of the school system. Many will argue that it isn’t the schools’ job to teach students these things, however, many students in the US don’t have families to go home to at the end of the school day. Sometimes the only meaningful interaction students get are from teachers. Teachers and the school system impact students daily, which leads to more attention from students. Thus, would make learning real-life skills more impactful and “real”. Knowing how to perform basic skills would lead to an increase in students being employed and an increased responsibility among students.
- Bahram. Gheitarani et al. “Effectiveness of Life Skills Training on Self-Efficacy and Emotional Intelligence Among High School Students in Urmia.” Social Determinants of Health, vol. 3. no. 3. May 2017. pp. 160–66. Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. doi:10.22037/sdh.v3i3.18053. 19 May 2019.
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education. “Developing Research & Communication Skills: Guidelines for Information in the Curriculum.” Philadelphia, Pa.: Middle States Commission on Higher Education. c2003. OCTC Library. 19 July 2019.
- Chicago Tribune (Firm). “Life Skills: How to Do Almost Anything Chicago.” Chicago Illinois: Midway an Agate Imprint. 2013. OCTC Library. 19 July 2019.
- Hani Yosef. Jjarrah. The Impact of Using Drama in Education on Life Skills and Reflective Thinking. Vol.14. No.9. May 2019: PP 4-20. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). OCTC Library. 19 July 2019.
- Pilkington. Geoff. The 12 Important Life Skills I Wish I’d Learned In School. 7 December 2016. 19 July 2019. https://medium.com/the-mission/the-12-important-life-skills-i-wish-id-learned-in-school-f4593b49445b.
- Al-Ali, Salah. “Are Lecturers Transferring the Necessary Skills Needed for the Workplace? The College Technological Studies, Kuwait—A Case Study” Journal of International Education and leadership, vol 4, no. 2, Jan 2014. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1135897.pdf. Accessed 1 August 2019.
- Ghasemiab, Ayub, and G.Venkatesh, Kumar.” Enhancement of Emotional Empathy through Life Skills Training among Adolescents Students-A Comparative Study.” Journal of Psychosocial Research, vol 12, no. 1, Jan 2017,pp.177-185. https://search.proquest.com/openview/129e0ac15687fd9f2e7a5e1969cd74c6/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=506336. Accessed 1 August 2019
- Hoffman, Nancy and Jobs for the Future. “Let’s Get Real: the workplace. Deeper Learning Research Series. Policy Bulletin.” Jobs For the Future, 1 Feb 2015, https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/lets-get-real.pdf. 1 August 2019
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