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Already Book Smart? What about Street Smart?

Maryam Ahmed '19
28 January 2019 


Are students limited to the education they receive about the real world? Do they understand about the concept of ‘living on your own’? Passaic Valley has been entitled for a number of subjects that are taught, but seem to lack a class where students should be taught real world life skills.

There will be certain situations that you may come across in your life, where you may not know how or what do. Life skills are predominantly essential for those who do not know what step to take or how to attain a particular encounterment. The development of life skills assist students to find new ways of critical thinking and problem solving.

For example, most students have difficulty with stress and discouragement. This class would allow opportunities to build confidence, and develop a greater sense of self-awareness. Some students might also encounter difficulties with gaining employment or to budget wisely. However, with a knowledgeable instructor who has dealt with these circumstances before, can guide these students to a successful future ahead. “It’s helpful to learn these ideas at a young age, because our generation is growing up a lot faster than the generations before us.” Nicole Mokray ‘19 suggested.High School students in classroom learning; property of google images

As parents/guardians, imagine your child comes home and asks you a question you aren’t quite familiar with, such as ‘how do you sew? change a tire? buy a car?’. Don’t get me wrong, some parents can help with these conditions, but what about the parents who haven’t had enough education/experience with these real life management skills? Providing students with the option to understand these different abilities can be a benefit for them in the long run. “I feel like most millenials, myself included, lack the knowledge of how to conduct simple tasks like making a resume, or how to register to vote.” Victoria Povolo ‘20 advised.

According to Ms.Tara Torres, some schools have placed a separate course called Life Management, which was designed for students who choose to live independently while furthering their education or beginning a career. Some activities in this course included, the concepts of planning well-balanced meals, convenience cooking, budgeting, communication skills, getting along with others, time management, respecting diversity, relationship counseling, developing negotiation skills, etc. “I believe life skills like these are extremely important,” Torres remarked. “They are the strengths we need to deal effectively with the challenges of everyday life.”

Recognizing cultural awareness, and adapting to different roles in the world, are apart of everyone’s lives, which I believe is most significant to acquire understandings of. However, there are some questions as to how schools would be able to fund a class like this. “I think this is a preeminent concept for students to gain knowledge from,” Chloe Nakhleh ‘19 mentions. “Having said that, schools would need to finance for educators, books, etc., which administrators would neglect.” There is no doubt that schools would need to invest in a project like this, but for students to attain a better knowledge that will positively help them in the future, it is worth it.

A report from the U.K.'s "The Sutton Trust", stated that with the development of of life skills, students have a higher chance of "better attainment outcomes, when they depart from school, and begin work in the real world. According to the joint study between Monash University researchers and the Australian Scholarship Group, around 69% of parents believe that schools should teach their child more about social skills. These parents' perspectives should be acknowledged for students to be taught about the necessary life skills in the real world. 

As life skills may seem customary for students, they are not taught by educators who have experienced shocking life events such as neglect, poverty, addiction, etc. If we are not shown the necessary skills needed for a healthy life throughout high school, we may not flourish these skills as an adult. Leraning  life skills is key to improve one’s future in the real world.