Future Skills: 7 Essential Skills Your Kids Should Learn at School to Succeed in the Future
As our future generations grow up, learning essential skills should be happening both at home and at school. However, lessons at school have been mostly reserved for academics, especially with the rise of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) subjects and initiatives. However, children are spending more time at school than they are at home, and life skills and character building are just as important as academic skills.
Creating a routine
When children know what to do without being told, they are being set up for success. Learning how to create and follow a routine can help with this because it provides children with expectations to meet. Because children will know what to expect, they can become more autonomous and independent in their daily activities.
One of the most important life skills that’s unfortunately not taught (at least, to its potential) in all schools is the skill of budgeting. This life skill is something that every person will need to learn in order to function properly in today’s society. In addition, children will encounter financial responsibility and budgeting differently from one another, so teaching them the basic foundations will enable them to have the necessary understanding to be successful as they navigate the future. The skill of budgeting works well with learning a routine, as it can apply to something as simple as knowing how to make regular payments.
When asked “What do you wish you learned in school?” many people would say something along the lines of money management (which may explain why budgeting is a necessary skill to teach). In addition to learning how to budget, many people don’t understand is the jargon that financial institutions use when working with individuals who don’t have a background in Business, Finance, Accounting, etc. Understanding this vocabulary would help individuals know what they are signing up for, getting involved in, and most importantly, make properly informed decisions regarding their finances, which is a part of being successful in the future.
What type of postsecondary education to pursue
In our K-12 system, students are taught how to prepare for a four-year college as their post-high school education, which is a normative part of societal expectations. Over time, the number of students attending college has risen significantly because of this. But what’s actually happening is that more and more companies are foregoing the requirement of a college degree. Big-time companies, such as Google, Apple, and IBM, have made this change in their candidate search because “many talented applicants might be self-taught, or have a serious set of skills they acquired outside of traditional academic institutions.”
In addition, many students are more interested in completing trade school or vocational school for a career, and may even have better skill sets at doing something like this, and this shouldn’t be discouraged just to favor attending a four-year college. Students need to be informed about what their options are for continuing education after high school. By educating students about their options, this would also remove any negative stigma surrounding those who choose not to follow a traditional educational path.
Foundations of technology/coding
Technology has exponentially become more and more prevalent in today’s society as we are living in the digital age. If we want our children to be successful in the future, schools should teach the foundations of coding. As technology continues to grow, children will inevitably be exposed to it, and will need to know how to navigate it. Teaching this in school also prepares students for higher education, careers, and provides access to technology to those who may not have immediate access to it at home.
As mentioned earlier, character building is just as important as academic skills. In order for our children to be successful in the future, they will need to know that their behavior and choices will impact their success. Moral characteristics such as respect, self-control, responsibility, honesty, empathy, etc. can be closely intersected, if they aren’t already, with other classroom content. In addition, a study in California schools that implemented character education showed that there were “reduced office referrals, improved attendance, and test scores, increased skills for conflict resolution, lessening of risky behavior, and overall improved school climate and civility.”
No matter what career path our children decide to pursue in the future, they will encounter problems that will need to be solved. Rather than encountering a problem and giving up, or expecting someone else to take care of it, teaching problem-solving skills will build perseverance in other areas, including academics. The thought process of problem-solving is different for everyone, but having the ability to think creatively around a problem and a solution is something that our schools can support our children in doing.
Incorporating these into school lessons are both a necessary and practical change that would benefit our young generations as we prepare them for their futures. These are also lessons that can be applied throughout extracurricular activities, sports, and at home – and having consistency between all touchpoints of education would ensure that we are setting up our children for success.