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Top 10 Things Schools Should Teach

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Michael Wynands.

There are many skills we wish were taught in school; how to cook, how to manage your money, how to manage your time, how to communicate and how to get a job are all useful things schools should teach, but don’t. Other life skills schools should teach? There should be more schools that teach self-defense to keep students safe. And don’t you think high school seniors should learn how to stay safe online? WatchMojo helps point out the skills you’ll wish you’d learned earlier, so you can try to get a head start.

Special thanks to our users Dash DrapZz for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Things Schools Should Teach

Sharpen your pencils and zip up your backpack because we’re going back to school. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 things schools should teach.
For this list, we’re looking at things that should be taught in high school but typically aren’t. Some of these topics are probably covered in a few specific schools but definitely aren’t on the average curriculum.

#10: Mental Health

Lots of teenagers suffer from mental health issues, be it anxiety, depression, eating disorders or any of the wide range of psychological afflictions. And if they don’t experience these things personally they are likely affected by someone close to them who does. The problem is that there is such a stigma around mental health problems that they are rarely discussed, leaving sufferers feeling isolated and helpless. By teaching kids about mental health in schools, it would help teens understand the issues that are common to so many people, allowing them to manage stress, addiction, loss and more. Teachers could also offer suggestions for dealing with mental health problems, like support groups, therapy or even meditation.

#9: Communication Skills

You learn a lot of things in school that you pretty much never use again (trigonometry anyone?) but one thing they rarely focus on is something that you will need every day, whether it’s at your job or in your relationships - how to communicate effectively. This is a broad topic that can range from how to negotiate with someone who is being argumentative to how to show respect for others in your conversational style, either in the workplace or your personal life. This is something that can be taught to anyone from young children to adults, as everyone could benefit from improving their communication skills. A course like this could also cover e-mail etiquette and other tools the needs to succeed in the workplace, like public speaking.

#8: Sex Ed

While policies for teaching sex ed in schools vary around the world, it seems obvious that teens would benefit from learning about safe sex before heading to college. If you only get your information about sex from movies and TV, your knowledge may be more than a little skewed. While many schools in the US still only teach kids about the importance of abstinence, there continues to be many instances of teen pregnancy and STIs that could have easily been prevented with proper education about contraception and protection. In fact, researchers at Columbia University found that virginity pledges and abstinence programs may in fact increase the risk and likelihood of pregnancy and STIs.

#7: Computer Science

Most students will obtain an extremely basic computer science education at the very least, but at the rate that technology is currently advancing, a basic education puts students way behind by the time they enter the workforce. Learning how to use Excel and make a PowerPoint presentation just isn’t sufficient in the way that it used to be. There are now apps that can teach kids as young as five how to code, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to introduce coding to the curriculum in high schools, or even in primary schools. With the tech business continuing to grow, why not provide kids and teens with the necessary tools to work in such an interesting and innovative industry by building their own websites, for example? If they start teaching this stuff soon, the tech of the future will be beyond our wildest dreams.

#6: Internet Safety

The youth of today spends a large portion of their time online, so it would make a lot of sense to teach them how to protect themselves on the World Wide Web. Kids learn about “stranger danger” from a young age, but the same principles should be taught about the perils of online hazards that they may be less aware of. High School students face a whole new set of problems today that schools aren’t necessarily equipped deal with - sexting, cyberbullying, social media awareness, online identity theft and more. There are some basics that would be easy to incorporate into a computer class curriculum and would make all the difference in terms of simple online safety.

#5: Time Management

If only time turners were real - Hermione Granger uses one to get all her school work done by going back in time to take more classes and have more time to study but alas, the rest of us have to do it the old fashioned way. Like communication skills, time management skills are universally handy no matter where your life takes you after you graduate. Everyone has pulled an all-nighter at least once in their life to finish an assignment they left to the last minute, but with some simple time management techniques (beyond your teacher reminding you not to leave it to the night before) students could avoid the stress that comes with procrastination.

#4: Media Literacy

Kids and teens growing up in today’s media landscape are far more exposed to information than previous generations ever were. Whether it’s in the form of news broadcasts, advertisements, or the newest hit television series, there is always some kind of media constantly vying for your attention. Kids are getting most of their information online, and on almost any website they visit they will be inundated with ads. Being able to watch a news story or commercial and critically analyze what’s being communicated is an extremely important skill to have while living in the 21st century. Providing kids with an understanding of how media messages are framed based on the biases of the people who produce them is critical to their ability to navigate our information-heavy society.

#3: Cooking / Nutrition

Unless you can afford a personal chef, you’re going to have to cook for yourself, so you may as well learn how to do a decent job of it. Yes, this is one of those life skills that can be easily taught at home, but if you’ve got parents who don’t know how to cook – well, then you’re pretty much out of luck. Most schools are still equipped with kitchens from back in the days when Home Ec was part of the standard curriculum but even if there isn’t a kitchen to work with, it would be beneficial to teach basic nutritional information to help kids make healthy food choices from an early age. And while you’re at it, throw some sewing classes in there too!

#2: How to Get a Job

Unless you want to end up living in your parents’ basement well into your 40s, you’ve got to find a job once you’ve finished school. Sadly, in the post-recession economy it’s not as easy as it once was for young people, even college graduates, to find gainful employment after graduation. Simple lessons like resume and cover letter writing as well as interview prep could make all the difference in students’ futures. Also, considering how much it costs to obtain higher education these days, it would make sense to offer career counselling to younger students so they can make informed decisions when it comes time to decide what to major in.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
-          Self-Defense
-          Horticulture
-          First Aid
-          Survival Skills
-          Government / How to Vote

#1: Money Management

With household debts soaring and the cost of living rising, it’s never been more important to know how to properly manage your money. There are some basic principles, like keeping a balanced budget, that can easily be taught to children, with lessons expanding to more complex topics like student loans, mortgages and doing your own taxes as students reach the age of maturity. Learning how to properly manage credit cards and how to safely invest your money to save for the future are also invaluable skills that anyone can benefit from at any age. Many people could have avoided costly mistakes if they had been taught how to manage finances before they were old enough to make said mistakes.
Do you agree with our list? What subjects do you think should be taught in schools? For more educational top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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