What Classes Do Students Feel Would Benefit them in the Real World?

Rebecca Senora

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In 2016, the vast majority of students live by the motto, “School is just about passing, not even about learning,” which is an excuse for students to not put full effort into their schoolwork. With such an attitude towards education it is not surprising that when one walks into a classroom, this is what they will most likely see: a student with their head down, several students looking out the window, a pair of friends trying to sneak conversations in while the teacher is teaching, a group of students on their phones texting or browsing social networks and just a few selective few that are actually paying attention and interested in the class. In the past couple of years, there has been a decline in the effort that students place into their schoolwork. In class, many of them are not engaged in the topic that is discussed that day. Thus, when they go home the interest and motivation they place into their assignments in without a doubt barely non-existent. But what could be causing this sudden lack of interest in schoolwork for students? Is it the students or does the classes the students take have to do with the issue?

Denise Minger, a writer for Livestrong. com states, “Many students view education as an obligation rather than a privilege, and fail to fully engage in their studies as a result.” In America, it is mandatory that students eighteen years and below attend school or at least until they graduate high school. Students are not given a choice on whether they want to pursue academics or something else. Education is their only option. Then, when students go to school, they spend about 7-8 hours in different classrooms learning different subjects. After this, a vast majority engage in after school activities that appeals to them and that they are interested in. When they return home, they have on average 2-3 hours worth of homework to complete on subjects that they don’t fully comprehend or just all together have no interest in. And that’s where the problem is. Why aren’t students interested in learning anymore?

Every teacher has heard at least one student utter these phrases: “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?” “How is this going to help me with my career?” “I don’t need to learn this because I’m never going to use it.” “I wish I could take classes that I actually like.”  With these questions and comments, the answer for the lack of motivation in students is answered: classes students take aren’t geared towards what students are interested in. The curriculum in schools doesn’t allow students to take classes that are solely based upon their interest. Although, this is understandable, because then students would not choose to take the core subjects. Regardless of this fact, if students had classes that were based to some extent on their interests, the increase in motivation for education would drastically rise.

Senior Sabrina Batista, dreams of going to college and study graphic designing. She is currently taking a mixture of college prep and honors courses. But as far as her future is concerned, she believes the only class that she is taking now that is preparing her for future as a graphic designer is art. And when questioned on a general note about whether or not any classes she is currently taking will help her in the real world, Sabrina immediately shook her head and replied, “Because I’m not taking any computer classes that will help me get my career started. And not even a class just on the basics of what [graphic designers] use.” The only other class that  she says “might help” her out is history. She stated, “If you create a game from or about something that happened in history, some students will learn better” because students are able to connect and learn more if something they already like is a part of the lesson. Which led her to believe that BA should institute more classes based on what students can connect to and incorporate valuable lessons into that.

Ms. Powell, English and Public Speaking teacher at BA, took college prep courses but took an honors math course when she was in high school. When asked which class benefit her the most in real life, she smiled and thought hard. Her final response was band. She chose this response because it taught her the basic skills that she believes everyone should have in their life, such as time management, leadership skills, and the art of dedication. She also noted that when she was in high school, classes weren’t geared towards preparation for real life which caused a lack of enthusiasm from students. Ms. Powell spoke about her teachers saying, “Whatever was in the curriculum, they taught.” If students had been taking courses that were more “student interests,” the enthusiasm would’ve manifested itself in the classroom.

Ms. Powell believes this pattern she experienced in high school is also evident even more for students today in 2016. She believes that if classes took consideration of the interests and learning styles of students, that students would be more prone to be enthusiastic and motivated in class. In her opinion, she believes that school curricula designed without students interest in mind will not engage students.

Armed with this knowledge, Ms. Powell runs her classrooms in a different way, while sticking to the curriculum. She does not limit her students imaginations and challenges them to think freely challenging them to support their reasoning. Ms. Powell strongly believes that when it comes to learning there is not one right way it should be done, but that there are multiple ways. The use of technology can aide in engaging students and should be allowed in classrooms to a certain extent. The red flag that she sees with this, is that today’s generation has become addicted to technology and are always staring into a screen, therefore lacking the human interaction that students will encounter in the real world.

As for classes that should be instituted in school nationwide, Ms. Powell believes that classes geared towards social skills and emotional skills are necessary for students to be successful in life after high school and to that end she hopes her students have learned valuable lessons through her thoughtful approach.

 

 

 

 

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What Classes Do Students Feel Would Benefit them in the Real World?