“…and so, if you divide that number by this number you get x”. Wow. I don’t know about you but I’m bored.
It’s human nature to not want to do something unless we have a reason to. Unless there’s something in it for us. So why are we surprised that so many students think school’s boring?
At school we’re told what we have to learn, but not why it’s important. It’s not often explained to students how their subjects relate to the real world and how they’ll benefit from understanding them. Math is the most common victim of hostility because it’s relevance to real life is the least obvious.
Maybe to us and to teachers it’s obvious why students need to learn algebra and study foreign films, but it’s not to a lot of sixteen year olds.
How many students do you think there are sitting in class right now thinking “Why should I put in all this effort for something that is completely pointless?”
Solution? We all need some sales training.
I think it helps if we think of school as a shop, and students as the customers.
Schools are selling education. Teachers are the information salespeople. And students must spend their time studying to make sure they take it all in.
Now I’m not sure about you, but the last time I went into a store I didn’t buy something just because the salesperson told me I had to.
Recently I went to a store to help my sister buy a new cell phone. If the salesman had walked up to us and said, “Here, buy this one,” he would have lost commission on that sale! Luckily for him he wasn’t useless. He talked to my sister about why she should buy the phone – what it did, and how it would be good for her. Result? Happy sister and happy salesman.
Students aren’t told why they need to learn about a subject at school.
Can you now see what our classrooms are lacking?
I wish at school someone had told me how often I would use math in day to day life. I used it all throughout university and I still use it daily. We all do!
Last weekend I had to work out the ratio of petrol to oil to mix when going dirt bike riding with my brother. Had I not got the right answer it would have been bye-bye bike.
Of course it’s not just math. English, History, Biology – students need to be given the reasons why these subjects are important. Unfortunately the pursuit of good grades is not motivation enough for many students to try their best at school.
If they don’t see the point, they won’t try.
Can you become the education sales person your child needs?
Fortunately teachers aren’t the only ones who can get your child excited about their school subjects. Because you’re reading this blog, I know you care about your child’s education. I know you understand how important education is, and you know why your child should be striving give school their best shot.
You know your children, what makes them tick, what they like doing, and what their long-term goals are. So what better person is there to ‘sell’ the idea of doing well at school?
A few ideas to get you going
This is a very broad-spectrum list of reasons why we believe these subjects are important. Try to convey them to your child in a way you think they’ll respond to. The more personal you can make each reason, the more your child will relate, and the greater the effect will be.
Without a command of the written and spoken word, all of the joy we experience from books, films, and TV would be nonexistent. The expression of emotions with family and friends, the laughter we have from a funny comedian, the way we learn and grow as individuals always boils down to an understanding of language and good communication. Studying the reasons behind the plotline of a book or film might not seem so important at the time but it’s all part of the bigger picture.
Social Sciences (Art History, History, Geography)
An understanding of how the world has come to be the way it is today is invaluable. What would happen to society if the knowledge of what happened over the last x thousand years was wiped from our memories? What if we didn’t have past events to learn from and didn’t understand what was happening when the earth shook or bits of water fell from the sky? It would be a scary place I tell ya.
I’m going to list the industries/people that rely on mathematics until I get bored…Computing, engineering, meteorology, geology, medicine, builders, plumbers, electricians, accounting, finance, astronomy, biology, designers (all), architecture, agriculture, boat building, mechanics… that’s enough.
The Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, PE – to some degree)
These subjects explain how the world works. They shed light on the world’s greatest questions. Without knowledge of these subjects where would we be? We’d still be having surgery without anaesthetic, we’d be drinking water full of horrible bugs, and we’d certainly be iPod-less.
Tech Subjects (Food, Graphics, Music, Wood & Metalwork, Textiles)
Right now, sitting here writing this blog I’m grateful for many things: the yummy eggs on toast I had for breakfast, the Foo Fighters album I’m listening to, the comfy couch I’m sitting on, and the shirt hiding my stomach flab.
We’d love to hear your take on why these subjects are important. So please leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Image Credit: Orange42 on Flickr