Curriculum & Course Design – Birth – 14th Grade
The completion of a primary and secondary education should be mandatory for all native born individuals and all immigrants under 15 years of age. Dropouts aged 30 and older should be fined $100 for every subsequent year in which they have not attained a General Education Degree. Immigrants would also be required to comply as well, but the ages at which their fines begin to be imposed would be their age at the time of migration into the country (if they were under 15 at the time) plus 30 years. Immigrants admitted while they were aged 15 through 39 would be required to take an abbreviated version of a General Education curriculum consisting mainly of basic literacy, government and social functions and behavior. Immigrants admitted while aged 40 and older would be exempt from all General Education requirements. All people who have reached their expected life expectancy at retirement age would be exempted from this requirement and the associated penalty.0 Comments
Full time schooling should be defined as 40 hours of study (both in and out of class) per week (an average of 8 hours per weekday) for all students. for both primary and secondary students, recesses and lunches would be included for these calculations. All students getting a primary and secondary education (including kindergarten) should be required to enroll in at least a 75% fulltime workload. Naturally, at these younger ages, supervised playtime would take up a much larger share of their daily education.0 Comments
A general priority list for what primary and secondary educational curriculums are expected to emphasize and when, should be as follows:
- Pre-school / K – Control over body tendencies, functions and mental control (concentration and focus), peaceful interaction with others, cleaning up after oneself
- Elementary/Middle/High – Communication skills (writing, speaking, writing, body language, etc.)
- Elementary – Personal/Environmental care (health, personal hygiene, sanitary living, food handling, etc.)
- Middle – History/Math
- Middle/High – History/Science/Math
- High – History/Science/Abstract Math
Naturally there will be very large amounts of overlap. With the exception of abstract math, each of the subjects listed here would actually be taught throughout all level of education. However, the emphasis during each stage of a student’s education should be as stated above.
One of the goals of primary education should be the instilment into every student, at the end of their primary education career, a basic understanding of the kind of work is involved within virtually every type of job as well as every field of study. At the very least, students should be able to describe, in functional detail, what practically all major professions do.
Students who have successfully finished secondary school should be well-rounded in all subjects and qualified to join the labor force without further education. They should be sufficiently informed and civilized members of society.
Elimination of Unnecessary Classes
Some classes currently required as high school graduation requirements should be dropped from such requirement lists, unless the student chooses to embark on an educational career path that do require such classes. Among the classes that should be dropped include calculus, trigonometry, any classes beyond any college level introduction to any specific scientific field of study like chemistry, geography, etc. The elimination of these classes would free up lots of time to either substitute more relevant classes or reduce the length of the standard educational career through high school (which I would redefine to include the first two years of college).
Homework for TK – 12th grade schooling should be limited to a maximum average daily number of minutes for every school day of the week. Understand, that these maximum limits are for conventional classes. Advanced Placement classes, electives or extracurricular activities may add more required homework time.
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten should require zero minutes of homework per day. These students could take home or be offered optional homework of any kind, but no homework should be mandatory. Again, Kindergartners (or students at any grade level that have been enrolled in some kind of advanced class) could be required to complete additional homework beyond the maximum limits stated here.
First graders should be allowed a maximum of 10 minutes of homework per day, on average, 2nd graders should be allowed an average of 20 minutes per day, 3rd graders 30, 4th should be allowed 40 and so on, all the way up to 12th grade where the maximum would be an average of 120 minutes per day.
These maximums roughly align with the National PTA recommendations (the largest difference is that the PTA requires homework for only 4 days a week). The purpose of a general education is to ensure that enough information is imparted to the student to become a thoroughly literate, functional, well-informed and civilized member of the population. Though it would be great to have all students exceed these minimum standards, it would not be proper to set a mandatory higher bar for all students to achieve because it is not proper or beneficial to expect or even to encourage 100% of the student population to meet such higher requirements. Not all students want to go to college or want to be anything more than nominally productive members of society, not should they be mandated to do such things. Even in hindsight, people often want to live ‘simple’ lives. However, the minimum expected of everyone (with the exception of several disabled students) should be the successful complete of a general education curriculum.
Too much useless homework is being assigned to students and this has the effect of stifling their enthusiasm for schooling. It is imperative that schools and school districts develop system to check whether assigned homework is genuinely useful or just busywork. High quality homework for each grade level should be found. Since students learn in different ways, perhaps two or three different methods of teaching the same topic should be provided by the school as an option for either the student and/or the parents to choose. Just like we have professional teachers, perhaps professional homework creators should be created as a profession to create homework designed to be both efficient and effective.0 Comments
This county’s educational system should function as an actual integrated system rather than the current conglomeration of systems. The entire span and range of education from preschool or before all the way up to the highest levels of structured formal education in universities should be categorized and organized using a standardized system for the naming and numbering of the courses. Each course should have a name and number that would be shared by all other courses in the country that contain practically the same outline. The benefits of having a standardized naming system should be obvious. A standardized naming system would significantly simplify the process of planning an educational career, especially for students who transfer between institutions. A standardized numbering system (a continuous one beginning with kindergarten or even before) would help students by giving them another tool to more accurately sense the degree of course difficulty or level of advancement. If necessary, to uniquely identify a course as one taught by a particular school, the name of the school (or its abbreviation) simply could be appended to the name of the course when printed on a transcript or anywhere else.
Many institutions or school districts have their own methods of naming classes as well as their own procedures for determining what topics are included in those courses. The result is a confusing system containing similarly named courses containing significantly different content and significantly different names ascribed to similar courses. Among other things, this results in the frustrating reality of seemingly equivalent courses not being accepted for credit at transferring or other institutions. A system incorporating a greater degree of standardization between both course names (including course numbers) and actual course content is needed to reduce confusion and improve the transferability of coursework while reducing the amount of accidental or intentional redundant learning required to fulfill transfer requirements to other institutions.
As a general rule, educational institutions need to create courses that discuss standard blocks of knowledge. Courses that discuss blocks of knowledge that differ from other standard blocks of knowledge by more than 20% would be classified as nonstandard courses. Using these criteria, it would be much easier for educational institutions to determine whether such courses meet their standards and fulfill their transfer requirements.
Students who have taken courses that contain less than 80% of the material included in equivalent standard courses at the transferring institution should be granted partial credit and then should be allowed to do one of two things to achieve full credit. They could either take additional courses, preferable other required courses for their degree, that fill in this gap in knowledge, or they could be told exactly what subjects or topics to study and then told to study that and take a test to demonstrate their satisfactory understanding of that material whenever the student is ready. The institution offering or requiring the original nonstandard courses should be required to offer the means by which to fulfill any requirements needed to complete the equivalent standard courses, although any institution should be allowed to offer them. Using such procedures, students would not be required to waste time engaging in the redundant learning involved with taking a full term course to make up for a relatively minor content deficiency in a course taken at the previous institution.
Redefining ‘Units’ Into ‘Average Total Hours Required’ for Completion of a Course
One ‘unit’ should be equal to one hour of work or study for the course (including class time). ‘Units’ should be called ‘hours’ instead and should not be stated in any other derived terms such as number of hours per week because the number of weeks are not the same for all courses. Instead, to communicate to the student an estimate of course difficulty and workload, the total number of hours estimated for successful completion should be stated in all course descriptions. For example, a course that takes an estimated 200 hours for the average student to complete would be described as a 200 hour course. To get an accurate idea of exactly how much time students are spending on a given course, school administrators or teachers themselves (perhaps right after finals are administered) could have students fill out a questionnaire asking how much time they think they have spent studying and working in this course. School administrators could revise the estimated hours needed for successful course completion as necessary.0 Comments
The general method, approach and goals of education should be to teach knowledge depth rather than a multitude of shallow facts. Students should be taught fewer things, but they should be taught those things much more thoroughly. Shallow learning (merely or essentially memorizing facts, names, etc.) is inefficient, unrewarding, quickly/easily forgotten, and essentially a waste of time. Deep or exhaustive learning is the opposite. It’s just like drilling research wells: you learn much more about the geology and history of a landscape by drilling a few deep wells (but learning a lot with each one) than you would by drilling many shallow wells. Everyone would agree that education should be deeper and its easy to say this, but how it can be done is harder to plan out. First, we must realize that there is no shortage of knowledge that we would like our students to acquire. So much can be and had been included and defined as necessary to the proper education of an average individual, that there is often not enough time for students to fundamentally understand and internalize what they are studying. Effectively, students graduate knowing superficially about a whole lot of different subjects, but too much of that information is quickly forgotten. In the end, much of the effort placed by both students and teachers has been wasted. Furthermore, students often graduate and enter the labor force in their mid-twenties or beyond, spending the first several of their potentially most productive and energetic years in the classroom rather than perfecting their skills on the job in their chosen career. The following paragraphs represent some proposals to make the educational process more efficient, more tailored to specific student interests, and able to produce people ready for full time participation (beginning with on-the-job-training, if necessary) in the labor force at a younger age (age 20 for most non-technical or non-specialized labor).
Flexible Course Design
As many educational courses as possible, but beginning with courses intended for children around 13 years of age and especially for students towards the end of secondary school and beyond, should try to be designed in such a way that allow students a much greater flexibility in scheduling their study time, including in-class study time. The more that students progress through a secondary education, the more they should be responsible for choosing, within proper parameters and oversight, when to study a subject, how much to progress in a subject each day or each week, and when to schedule their testing for each subject.
Designing this degree of student flexibility into the educational system would require some fundamental changes in conventional education practices. The following suggestions are general guidelines for how educational courses and facilities should be structured. These guidelines could very well require modifications depending on students’ ages and abilities or the nature of the course.
More Self-Driven Learning
First, students would primarily learn through the reading of textbooks, viewing of videos and other media on their own. In fact, students should learn to learn from more passive, ‘dull’ methods of instruction (i.e., reading a book) early in their educational career so that they do not become so bored of lecturers in the future that they will require a passionate lecturer just to keep them awake in class. The standard teacher lecturing format would become a secondary teaching method, except for maybe the lower grade levels where students may not have yet developed the discipline to work independently. Even tertiary level education (colleges and universities) could use self-driven, passive materials for many of their courses, though lecturing may be more appropriate in certain courses due to the unconventional nature of teaching cutting edge knowledge. In the latter grades of secondary school, lecturing could still account for perhaps 25% of the school day. Students in the lower grades should be gradually transitioned or weaned off the lecturing method onto more self-driven methods. Though teachers may not always lecture to the class, they would always be in the classroom to supervise and be available to answer any questions that students may have. Teachers may also lecture to a subset of the class when a significant number of students have reached the same point in their studies that require teacher assistance. Throughout secondary and tertiary school, students needing assistance from a teacher could possibly pay a very small token fee for that assistance. The idea is to more effectively encourage students to study on their own, ask their friends, and make greater efforts to understand.
Second, educational courses (especially common ones) should be given in packaged form. This means that students should be able to go to the school store (or anywhere these courses are sold) and purchase the required courses which would ideally include the following items: a complete and detailed syllabus of the course, textbook(s), either the inclusion of and/or a list of all tools or materials required, a list of tests and/or papers due, description of the course grading method and other such relevant information. In other words, the course that the student buys should consist of a package that has virtually everything needed for that student to know what the course entails and to successfully complete the course, except for the actual tests themselves.
Independent Classroom Studying
Third, except for lecture classes, students, for the most part, would be studying independently. They would be given individual desks arranged so that when students are sitting in them, they are not able to be distracted by either other students or other things going on in the classroom. Students would be given individual desks that are large enough to contain all of the conventional supplies that they would commonly need throughout the day (pencils, erasers, pens, crayons, facial tissue, pencil sharpener, rulers, dictionaries, textbooks for all their subjects, paper, etc.). These desks should be at least three feet wide and two feet deep, though larger would be better. Desks constructed against and facing the walls of the classroom may be the best option. Students would place their backpacks or any things they brought from home under their desks or in an open shelf space provide under or over their desks.
Perhaps the main benefit of these flexible packaged courses is that students would be able to progress through a course at their own speed. Since all students do not naturally learn at the same speed, they should not all be required to learn at the same speed. Unfortunately, the conventional educational system, and lecture structured courses in general, tries to educate all students at the same speed. Using flexible packaged courses, students wanting to finish a course in a matter of days or weeks would experience no resistance, whereas students who may need or want more time or more accommodating testing dates would also be allowed that flexibility. Such flexibility would dramatically reduce unnecessary artificial stresses associated with education, especially for secondary and tertiary courses.
For these independent, flexible courses to successfully impart the required knowledge to the students, the information contained within the courses must be complete and easy to understand to a wide range of students. To be most effective, they would need to present the information using various different styles to appeal to the various different styles of learning to which students are most receptive. They must contain far more details, charts, graphs, photographs, etc. They would include information that would answer the most common questions students may have. In fact, students who are old enough (and parents of younger students) should be able to request and choose certain courses that are taught using a teaching style or method that may provide the greatest benefit to the student. Of course, since every question of every student could never always be anticipated and answered in advance, these courses would rely on feedback from past students and a large sample of educators about what information to include in future editions of the course so that those questions are answered. Included in the course could be website references to short video clips where students may also have the opportunity to view videos that would discuss a very narrow issue, which is usually what students have difficulty understanding. Many different professors could each make multiple videos about the same topic, describing it differently each time. Perhaps one professor could also make his videos on different days or weeks so that he describes the same problem/solution/topic slightly differently. The student could then choose to view as many of these video clips as many times as necessary until the student is confident about his understanding and knowledge about how to work or solve the math problem or whatever matter it was that was explained.
Tests Administered At School
Fourth, students would need to go to a school, educational facility or any place supervised by a school official to take the tests required by the course. Exams should be given periodically throughout the course and comprehensive final exams should be given for each course. The student would request his or her test from the school test site administrator by providing proof of enrollment in the course and successful completion of all previous tests. The student would go to a room without taking any of his/her unnecessary belongings with them. The student will either be supplied with all necessary items or all his/her necessary items would be inspected by the test site administrator to ensure that they may not be used for cheating. Only the test scores, projects, papers and other specific assignments would determine students’ grades that they receive on their classes. Nothing else should be taken into consideration.
Naturally, the more self-disciplined and motivated students would excel under such arrangements, nevertheless, most students, even young elementary-aged students may be able to successfully operate under such condition. Furthermore, students of all ages may also find studying in such an environment described here more satisfying and rewarding than the conventional educational environment, while simultaneously being less stressful. Regardless, this system would encourage students to develop their own initiatives to propel themselves to set and complete their schoolwork goals.
Due to the lowered demand for lecturing space, schools, especially colleges and universities, could enjoy an excess capacity of space which they would be able to dedicate for other uses, rent, or sell, thus reducing the operating expenses of educational institutions. Most of the school’s facilities would be open for as much of the day as possible and seven days a week so that school would not interfere with students’ other, and possibly more urgent or important, activities.
Short, Single-Topic Educational Courses
Small, short, independent, single-topic educational courses should be designed to supplement or even partly substitute standard general education courses. These courses could be called mini-courses because they would take one aspect of a larger subject and study it in great detail. The student would come away from such a course knowing a whole lot more about the larger subject by studying a narrow facet in great detail. Students would identify and analyze how virtually every possible influence has interacted with and affected that facet of the topic being studied. Studying narrow, specific topics within larger subjects enable students to construct deep pilings of knowledge which can later be used to construct a solid framework on which to securely hang future knowledge. Allowing students to have a much greater role in picking and choosing what they want to study would make education more exciting, rewarding, fulfilling, and efficient.
Absolutely any piece of knowledge could possibly be made to be taught in a mini-course. Examples of what could be taught in mini-courses would be things like very narrow and limited periods of history, such as the Presidential Election of 1912, Watergate, Vietnam War: Tet Offensive, the Yalta Conference, Texas’ role in the Civil War, the Little Ice Age, etc.), or other things like history of company mergers and the pedigree of the current business world, sonic booms, meteors, the sun, sound waves, the blue sky, why tape is sticky, or absolutely anything else. Some mini-courses could explain in detail what each profession does and give the student a feel for work life in that profession. Still others could teach students about how to choose and write about their own topics, improve writing skills, another could teach good use of transitions, and smooth flowing writing, and one could teach the proper use of all kinds of punctuation. Classes that teach how to take notes from lectures, discussions, observations, readings, etc., would also be another good option for students. mini-courses could also deal with large scale but yet narrow topics such as principles of problem identification and solving and various ideological approaches to solving environmental, social, economic, political, personal, and other problems. Students should be required to choose a minimum number of these mini-courses throughout their educational career while achieving a minimum balance throughout the major subject areas.0 Comments
In order to save time and increase the efficiency of learning, attempts should be made to include as many elements of as many subjects as practical into each exercise a student is given to perform. The clearest example of how this could be performed would be to combine English grammar and spelling lessons with history material. For example, the sentence “George Washington was the first President of the United States” could be used to teach the student both history and proper grammar and spelling. Math lessons could be combined with history and/or politics, too. There are nearly an infinite number of possibilities in which such teaching methods could be utilized to increase educational efficiencies, at least in part. Of course, combined-subject exercises should not be a litmus test for determining whether or not to include a particular exercise in a course, and there may be several instances where this would not be beneficial, but this method of teaching should be near the front of every education designer’s mind.0 Comments
Textbooks, especially math and science, should have the answers to all the problems given in the book (not just the odd ones, etc.) located at the end of each chapter rather than at the end of the book.
Books, esp. educational textbooks, should have phonetic pronunciation guides for either all fairly complex or rare words and/or for all words that may be sometimes mispronounced by people or which are significantly more likely than average to be mispronounced. Preferably, these phonetic pronunciation guides should be located right next to the word either in the text, in the margin, or at least on the same page of where the word first appears. In addition, and at the very least they should be located at the end of the chapter or book, such as in a glossary of terms section.
Glossary of Terms
Every textbook should have a glossary of terms.
All textbooks (especially math books) should explain and show, in detail, every single step of problem solving without skipping or combining steps and without assuming that the student would know to accomplish a step without being shown, regardless of how simple or seemingly insignificant the step appears to be.
All textbooks, especially 10th grade and higher, should contain an exhaustive index.0 Comments
All people, but especially children and students in primary and secondary education, should perhaps take some courses or at least be constantly reminded of all the rights, opportunities, protections, government and social stability, transportation infrastructures, sanitary and utility infrastructures, and many other good things that they are able to enjoy due to their living in a relatively modern country and this country in particular. People/children should constantly be forced to think about and ponder about those things which either they enjoy or have available to them so that they are less likely to take such things for granted or diminish the value or significance of such benefits.
To really emphasize these ideas and drill them into students, schools should teach students several examples of other people around the world, or people during other time periods in history, who do or did not have access to the same benefits we do today. Some of these courses or teachings, especially those that compare our benefits with people currently living in other parts of the world, should be so powerful that it should cause a significantly large percentage of students to be crying during or after such presentations. A flood of specific examples should be showered on students about what other people in other parts of the world cannot do or enjoy and the reasons why. For example, children (especially girls) should be taught that many girls/women in other parts of the world aren’t allowed to even learn how to ride bicycles, they are not allowed to go to school, cannot vote, and that they are forced to cover their bodies from head to toe every time they go outside. People should be taught how if feels to live in a war zone or in a country where corruption runs rampant. Students should be taught that they didn’t choose where they would be born, and they could just as easily have been born in a poor country, in fact, the chances are such that it would have been more likely for them to have been born in a poor county. Students should be made to write papers, watch movies, hear speeches, perform plays and do other things that would deeply instill in them a deep appreciation and value for the benefits they enjoy in this country as well as forcing them to truly understand daily life in places that do not have such benefits.
Perhaps students, as well as virtually every other member of society, should be encouraged to deprive themselves, for at least one day each year, of some modern convenience, such as running water, electricity, natural gas, etc. Such periodic deprivations would highlight to everybody how integral many of these resources are to daily activities and how different their lives would be without them. Maybe schools could organize field trips designed to immerse students in such environments. Children should be required to experience, for one day (perhaps on Child Labor Day on June 12), an immersive experience of a full 12 hour work day common for children in gold or coal mines, brick factory, textile mill, etc.
A beneficial side-effect of these experiences may be to encourage people to better learn how to survive after a major disaster, such as an earthquake, without such utilities.
An appreciation for the major advances in technology in virtually every major scientific field, but especially the medical field, and those advances that provide our culture or society with either practical or technical advantages over others should be emphasized. The negative implications for people not enjoying such benefits should also be required study for students. Also, intensive study on how life was like for our ancestors before the development of certain technologies should be required.
An appreciation for the decreasing number of illnesses experienced by the average population should be instilled in students and the rest of society. People should be told statistics about the frequency of illnesses in the past, their higher fatality rates, and how modern advances have improved the situation.
Teaching people to have an appreciation for things which are so often taken for granted should not be limited to an academic environment. The public and private sectors should take many opportunities to educate people along these lines. Lessons of this sort should occur scattered throughout all types of media, including television, movies, books, music, newspapers and virtually every other place where it may be practical.
When people begin to lose an appreciation for a benefit they enjoy, they begin to lessen the value they place on that benefit. They also begin to lose perspective on its importance or the degree of difficulty with which it was attained. People then begin to tinker with it or its essential elements in a much more lighthearted and even cynical fashion. Such views and behavior could then lead to a dangerous corruption or even collapse of the benefit requiring a much larger struggle to reattain it than would have been required to just maintain it.0 Comments
Health classes should be taught to students in all age groups throughout primary school and should be considered one of the regular classes just like math, English, or history. These classes should include teaching primary students personal hygiene, keeping a sanitary living environment, safe food handling, emergency care procedures, etc.
Personal hygiene and maintenance of body health would include proper hand washing without wasting water, soap, or paper towels (and how to keep hands clean) and rear wiping without wasting toilet paper, bathing, brushing teeth, flossing, and other personal body care. The importance of proper exercise, proper diets and safe food handling practices, rest, and risk avoidance should also be taught. Students should know everything about maintaining sanitary living conditions which would include keeping clean bathrooms, kitchens, etc., and maintaining sanitary food storage conditions.
Emergency care should be the next highest priority topic taught to primary school students. Included in this category would be things like emergency first aid treatments for common injuries and illnesses and their prevention.
Some of the highest priority lessons should teach students how to remain safe during emergencies, especially with respect to how to act and remain calm during civil emergencies, how to stay out of trouble in such situation, and how to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Cooking classes should also be incorporated so that all students would know the basics of food preparation relating to all of the common foods. All students should probably know how to cook at least 10 dishes before they graduate from high school.0 Comments
To help students develop their writing skills with more enthusiasm, they should be required to write more papers on topics almost entirely of their own choosing. The teacher would help them develop their idea and express their opinions more accurately and more convincingly, better organize the material/ideas, construct good transitions between ideas, make the writing flow smoothly, etc.0 Comments
No student in secondary school (especially past the age of 15) should be required to take a foreign language course, unless, naturally, such courses are an integral part of the students educational or career goals. Requiring people past their teen years to learn a foreign language is just not an efficient use of time. The best time for learning a foreign language is when one is a child, the younger the better–even in kindergarten or before. Naturally, parents would be required to choose the language they would like their children to learn. If a mature child expresses a strong, reasoned desire to learn a different language, then that student could switch languages.0 Comments
To help students develop more efficient studying and learning skills all primary and secondary schools should require all students go through a period of intensive study that lasts around two weeks for high school grades, one week for middle school grades, and perhaps a couple of days for elementary school children. One way to encourage students to do this, at least for the higher grades, would be to assign a task (like a research project) or a series of different tasks to all the students at one time and either the first one to complete them or the first one to get the highest scores while taking the least amount of time would be the winner of some prize.
Students should be required to go through at least one, but preferable two, such study periods per year. Such exercises will help teach students how to study faster as well as give them a sense of appreciation for how much free time they usually enjoy and how little free time people who work all day (especially to support families) have to enjoy. The purpose of these exercises is to take students out of their normal routine and sort of shock them into a different, faster paced, stress-filled schedule that will give them new insights on life. Such exercises would help students appreciate their ‘normal’ life more, while simultaneously showing them how much work they are capable of doing in short periods of time.0 Comments
People in general, but children in particular, should be taught how to communicate criticism, discontent, anger, and other such feelings using polite, well-mannered ways and with a constructive spirit and when appropriate. Conversely, people should be taught to not be so easily offended when others criticize them or express some displeasure with what they do or say. People should even encourage others to convey constructive criticisms of themselves.
People should be taught to give others the benefit of the doubt. In other words, people should tend to assume that the offending party is going through a bad set of circumstances, the stress of which may have given rise to the offending behavior. People should be taught to not be offended by the vague, unclear, or unspecified actions of other people, and that they should not retaliate in any way to suspect or questionable behaviors made towards them by other people unless they are certain of valid reasons for such offensive behavior. Many times people with poor communication skills or even those with good communication skills but having a bad day, often don’t get their points across in the best possible way and may choose words that may be taken as an offense to listeners. People should be taught to assume that people who seem to be offensive at times, or all the time, usually have hidden or underlying frustrations, problems in their personal lives, medical problems or whatever else may be the case. Especially during times of crises, emergencies or other high-stress events, people should exhibit much more tolerance towards these types of behaviors.
People should be taught to ask for and seek true forgiveness much more readily from those whom they have wronged.0 Comments
Students in primary school, but all people in general, should be taught that it is right to make a small effort to fix easily solvable problems wherever they encounter them. In effect, all people should be taught and encouraged to be part of the solution to problems instead of merely passive observers or worse, part of the problem.
For example, if someone is walking on a sidewalk or crossing a street and notices a plastic bag, newspaper, or other piece of litter right in front of their path and also notices that there is a trash can up ahead along their planned route, that person should make the effort to pick up the bag and place it in the trash can.
People should also be taught to put clearly misplaced item on a store’s shelves in their proper place, if it is not too far out of the way for them, and to make every effort necessary to make sure that any items which they themselves removed from the shelves are put back in their proper places. Anything above a minor effort to correct someone else’s mistake would not be required, but would be cheered and appreciated.0 Comments
Students, especially college students, should be required to periodically write a convincing paper or give a speech advocating a point of view they really do not believe in. These types of exercises would give students a deeper understanding and respect for people holding the opposing view. It would make students more aware of the fact that sincere people who genuinely seek the truth or solutions to problems can hold different views. Students should also be taught how to disagree with others in a humble and truly respectful manner.
In addition, these kinds of activities would help students understand how different views could be arrived at and defended (at least to some degree) from the same set of facts. Students should learn how to construct arguments flowing logically from undisputed facts as well as how to defend the choosing of those facts used in support of their conclusions.0 Comments
Religious education should be taught throughout primary and secondary school from the very earliest grades continuously through to graduation. Christianity should be the default religion, but parents should be allowed to choose any other religion they would like their children to study. At age 14, children should be allowed to choose which additional religion(s) to study, but they should still study the religion their parents chose for them. Regardless of which religion is studied, fundamental religious teachings should include a thorough study on the religion’s facts including logical coherence as well as its historical and scientific accuracy. It should be taught that religions are not merely a form of entertainment, but that all aspects of every religion should be tested for accuracy and truth, especially in the scientific sense. Simultaneously, students should be taught that neither religions or religious doctrines or statements cannot be correct for one group of people while simultaneously incorrect for another. Naturally, variations in style, form, custom, or any other aspect of how a religion is practiced can almost always be accepted as unobjectionable variety and diversity within the religion. If any provable contradictions are found within a religion, that religion should either be discarded outright (if it is a fundamental error within the religion) or at the very least the scientifically offending portions of the religion should be discarded or modified.
Parents should be encouraged to have their children study Christianity. Children who reach age 14 should be allowed to choose for themselves which additional religions (if any) to study, but Christianity should be encouraged. Christianity is the only religion that is logically coherent as well as historically and scientifically accurate.
To provide the most immediate secular benefit, emphasis should be given on religious teachings, whether they are from Christianity or from any other religion (as much as is possible within that religion), that relate to the existence of one loving and personal God, the reality of an afterlife, the existence of both Heaven and Hell, and the reality of each individual’s appointment with God to give an account of every evil word and deed spoken and committed throughout an individual’s lifetime.
One essential purpose of such teachings throughout primary school is to instill within each student an effective internal mechanism which would allow them to more effectively resist the temptation to do mischief, even when they think no one else is watching or that they will never be caught. Many religions from around the world can accomplish at least most of these goals; however, Christianity may be the most effective and comprehensive.0 Comments
Students of all ages throughout primary and secondary school should be required to regularly take several short but comprehensive classes, designed to shatter the views/ideas that women or members of a minority group are inherently inferior. Each of these classes would focus on a single separate race while others could focus on women.
However, these courses should not be biased towards these groups, either. An accurate assessment of each group’s abilities or advantages/disadvantages based on their geographical location, culture, technological advancement, education level, social development level, historical treatment by foreigners, fate, etc., should be conveyed to the student in a way that will help them understand why or why not that group or individuals within it may tend to behave or think in certain ways. The emphasis should be that normal inherited characteristics cannot be used to think that a person or groups of people are inherently less capable in any way though inherited traditions can be detrimental to a society or individual.. Nevertheless, such courses should also discuss the physical, genetic and psychological differences between the sexes and how these may act to create differing tendencies.0 Comments
As part of regular secondary school assignments, children should be required to read newspaper articles about news events on all scales from the local to the international at age appropriate levels. They should also be taught to analyze and critique the reporting of both historical and current news stories by reading between the lines and by searching for errors or gaps in reporting and to identify slanted or biased news coverage.
They should be taught the corrective skills of making an incomplete or biased article balanced by rewriting it and removing or adding bits of information in order to balance or negate any bias and make it fair. Apart from students learning about several different subjects through these readings, like the workings of government, history, modern scientific discoveries, crime and punishment, natural disasters, and more, they would also learn some writing skills like how to construct interesting sentences and stories and how to write more precisely while always keeping an eye towards anticipating counterarguments and closing loopholes in their own writings. Importantly, students should be taught multitudes of examples of stories printed or broadcast in the media in which the reporter left out critical or important information resulting in a story that was wrong or misleading. Students should also learn how to criticize an author’s use of facts and evaluate such facts for their relevance, accuracy, and fairness to the implied or stated conclusion.0 Comments
Schools should offer classes in hypocrisy. Such courses should be designed to teach students how to identify hypocrisy on any scale, whether on an individual, personal scale, on an organizational scale, or on an international/global scale. Politicians and government policies would be very rich subjects to study regarding this topic. For example, an analysis could be made of the hypocrisy between Mexican immigration policies and what the Mexican government is demanding US immigration policy to be. Such courses in hypocrisy would go a long way towards educating the public, opening their eyes, and allowing them to better read between the lines of any information they may come across.0 Comments
There should be classes at various levels of the educational system that force people to overcome their fear of speaking in front of large groups of people by forcing them to talk to another student or instructor while in front of the group. The instructor may guide the discussion and use methods to wean students from their fear and allowing them to think and reason clearly, without the crippling fear, associated with being in front of a large group. Multiple discussions could take place at different tables in prominent locations in front of a large group of people. These discussions could even take place in a setting like a restaurant where many people may not even be paying attention to the conversation. The important thing is that the student sees a large group of people and gets the feeling as if many of those people are paying attention. The professor could diffuse the student’s fear by using all kinds of methods like explaining that even as they talk, some people are sleeping, daydreaming, reading something or just not paying attention, or talking to someone else. Others perhaps couldn’t care less about the discussion. These methods may relieve a great deal of tension from the students and aid in their having clearer thoughts and better reasoning abilities while in front of people.0 Comments
All students in secondary education, though perhaps emphasized in the latter years of secondary schooling, should be required to understand all basic concepts relating to risk. They would include risk assessment, analysis, comparison, aversion, substitution, mitigation, as well as cost/benefit analysis, and any other aspects regarding risk that would provide students with an accurate basic understanding of risks in this world.0 Comments
All secondary, but especially tertiary educational institutions should teach their students the values of being open-minded and seeking input from many different people, especially experts in the fields relating to the students’ endeavor or undertaking. To emphasize this point, students should be taught numerous examples (real and even hypothetical) of how people (especially politicians) without sufficient knowledge of a particular area really messed things up by relying on their own judgments which may have been based on false assumptions or prideful overconfidence in their own knowledge or abilities. Students should also be taught to understand how changing different, though seemingly small, variables can dramatically affect the final outcome of events.
Students should be taught and given analogies to help them understand that everything in the world is interconnected with everything else and that some people may have a more accurate or clearer perspective regarding an issue because such people may be either more specialized in that area or have different bits of knowledge that may be critical in making better decisions.
Law enforcement personnel should especially be required to undergo this training to help break down the barriers and rivalries that often exist between law enforcement agencies.0 Comments
Throughout primary and secondary education, students could develop descriptive writing skills by being given assignments to look at a picture or scene and describe it in great detail so that another person listening to or reading the description would be able to accurately recreate the picture or scene being described. More details could be required according to grade level and perhaps competitions could be held to see who could describe the most details in the fewest number of words and sentences.0 Comments
People should be taught to show gratitude much more readily in several different ways. As part of their educational requirements, children should be encouraged to write thank you notes or letters of appreciation to various people who contribute to the well-being of society (soldiers, police, firefighters, and even people like factory workers, friends and family, etc.).0 Comments
Part of the regular educational curriculum throughout primary and secondary schools (though emphasized during the later grades) should be on how to embark on simple household maintenance projects or diagnose and fix common problems around the house or common problems around the child’s world. There should be courses that would teach all students how to do basic fix-it projects such as how to paint, change rubber washers in faucet valves, unclog pipes, change electrical switches, etc. Courses should also be offered on how to do more intensive repairs or projects, like replacing a broken tile, installing a new fixture, etc. Each course would deal only with one narrow subject, unclogging a drainpipe, for example. Students would be allowed to choose which of these courses they want to take with the only requirement being that a minimum number of courses or hours must be taken either each year or in order to graduate, and that they know how to solve or complete the most basic, common, and easiest of household problems or maintenance projects. There should also be mini-courses that teach how to do things like mix and pour concrete, build simple wooden structures like chairs or tables, or how to use power tools.0 Comments
Throughout primary and secondary education, students should be required to work with their hands and make things using materials other than the conventional paper and cardboard crafts. They should be required to use all kinds of other material, especially wood, stone, glass and metal. Students could be allowed a fair degree of flexibility in terms of what materials and projects they choose to do according to their own likes and skill levels. Though age-appropriate precautions should be taken, all students should be required to get a functional understanding of how to work with and take care of all such materials by the time they finish their secondary education. The students could get their raw materials through donations (especially scrap materials) from area businesses or residents or through the gathering of scrap from recycling or waste management companies. Though students could construct any items they wish as long as they meet the assigned criteria, some examples may include bird or bat houses, pet houses, toys, models, etc. The school could even have a little school store open to the public on campus to sell some of the items made for school fund raising efforts.0 Comments
A requirement for graduation from high school should be for children to know how to do basic sewing work using needle and thread by hand as well as using a simple sewing machine. These would instill in people basic and valuable lifelong skills that would be helpful by enabling them to repair their own clothes, make simple adjustments or even add or create entirely new clothing items.0 Comments
All children (and even adults) should be taught to keep their hands more to themselves whether it be at a store, or at people’s homes, and to refrain from touching or handling things that belong to others. They should be taught to ask permission for most things that they do and to only touch things that are on display, such as at a store, and only if they have a valid reason. Children should especially be taught to keep their hands off of food that is not theirs or of which they are not absolutely sure that they will eat.0 Comments
All students, especially in primary school, should be required to learn elements of personal/physical self-defense with an emphasis on avoiding potentially dangerous situations. They should learn how to confront an attacker, call for help, use weapons, etc. Martial arts or other methods of combat or self-defense should be taught in conjunction with humility training and teaching students to suppress their desire to show off there skills or use them in inappropriate or unprincipled ways. Every student should be required to learn the basics. Further training would be voluntary, but recommended.0 Comments
All students in primary school should be taught periodically how to react, what to do, and what to remember if they witness a crime or are the victim of a crime. They should also be taught to whom they should report the crime.
All students should also be taught what the penalties are for a whole variety of crimes and how to estimate what the penalties would be for various fictitious crimes. This may help dissuade at least some people from both current and future criminal behaviors.0 Comments
Students should be taught how to interact with the government for several different, but common reasons. This should include what the basic procedures are, who/what office to call, what forms to fill out, etc. For example, everyone should be taught the general procedures for protecting or patenting an idea and what the pitfalls are and how not to be scammed. Students should also be taught how to find and contact their government representatives, file a Freedom of Information request, request a grant, file taxes, get a passport, and generally do some of the more basic things that engaged citizens often need to do.0 Comments
Children should be taught what adults do not like about the behaviors of young people, like talking or laughing loud, especially in confined spaces (indoors, in buses or other vehicles), littering, listening to head phone that are too loud even for the other passengers, etc.0 Comments
Before graduating from secondary school, students should know the basics of how to relate to and provide basic daily care for elderly people and others who may not be able to take care of themselves.
Primary school students of all ages, but especially those older than 10 years of age, should be taken (or in some way required) by their schools to regularly visit and communicate with the elderly people of the community, especially those who are in rest homes. This would strengthen the bonds between the young and old, cause the young to have a greater respect for older people and have many other positive effects such as teaching students about how it is like to get old, and why they should take care of their bodies.0 Comments
Part of regular school curriculums, especially for younger students, should be to have students do things (speeches, papers, class discussions, or anything else) designed to prevent students from forgetting their childhood and early years of life in general as well as specific events and distinct phases of their lives, like learning to read or write, riding a bicycle, etc. A major emphasis of this curriculum should be to prevent students from forgetting, and forcing them to recall, events in their relationships with their parents, esp. during early childhood (10 years and younger). The whole purpose is to keep memories fresh in their minds so that they would be able to refer to them and use them when they become adults/parents. Events that should be emphasized should be instances of punishment and other negative emotional actions as well as instances of positive emotional interactions. For example, screaming at or scolding the kid when the kid honestly tried to do their best or at least didn’t indent to do wrong or praise for doing something right or accomplishing a goal. Any significant situation can be targeted for deeper memory including cases when the parent/adult did not hold the child’s hand when the kid was afraid of a dark room, spiders, or other situations. All of this should be geared towards developing adults who are able to remember how it was when they were a kid so that they would be better able to relate with current children.0 Comments
Throughout primary school, students ought to be given periodic exercises that strengthen their estimation skills in all units of measure, such as volume, distance, weight, energy, noise intensity, food serving sizes, food calorie, sugar, and fat content, etc. Estimating nonphysical measurements like financial costs or time should also be required of students.0 Comments
Children of puberty and post-puberty age should be shown the risks and rewards and future emotional and financial costs and benefits associated with having children, especially children born with undesirable genetic diseases or traits. They should be shown videos on the subject.
The aim is to try to sway children/people who are not financially or emotionally ready to have children from doing so. More specifically, the goal is to discourage people possessing a higher probability of birthing a genetically defective child from conceiving in the first place or to at least have thought about the possibility in advance so that they are more ready to make the decision to abort the child soon after the diagnosis in the womb or before stronger emotional bonds are formed between the various parties. The benefits of not having children with such problems should be emphasized.
Students should be immersed in some parenting roles so that they would better understand how it feels and better comprehend the responsibilities involved. Students should be placed on schedules mimicking the degree to which crying, hungry, ill, or restless babies would interfere with other activities. They should be required to participate in budgeting exercises to instill in them the real costs associated with caring for a baby.
Students should be required to watch several videos on how to control and discipline children. They should also be shown videos about poorly raised and mannered children who are ‘out of control’, stubborn, selfish, spoiled, etc., and how other people perceive and frown upon such children and their parents and what such people say to each other about them when they are not around. Students should be taught to use parenting methods that would help avoid such developments in their potential future children.
All people who work with or care for children should be required to take these classes, as well.0 Comments
Bicycling classes (learning to ride bicycles) should be recommended (not mandatory) courses offered during primary, and even secondary, school. They need not be offered at every educational facility but both public and private schools, as part of their regular tuition, should as least cover a portion of the cost of providing such classes, either at school or at an off-campus location. Nevertheless, the ability to successfully ride a bicycle should be a requirement for graduation from secondary school.
Driving classes should also be a graduation required for students. Driving is such an integral part of adult life, that it is imperative that it be taught well to all people.0 Comments
Graduates from secondary school should have a firm understanding of how the visible portion of the spectrum interacts with objects to create colors. Furthermore, students should have an awareness of the major uses of all portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.0 Comments
All students should know the basics of computer programming language coding. The younger the better, and Scratch.com seems to be a good example of such a site. Children should be involved more with the actual creation of content and forms rather than merely interacting with computing devices.0 Comments
Primary and secondary school students should frequently be tested with questions relating to where places are located (countries, landmarks, planets, etc.) and be able to list some of the characteristics of each place. For example, students could be given the name of a country and asked to locate it on a globe, and vice versa. Also, random pictures of people or landscapes should be shown and students asked to identify their locations. Locations on a world map may be pointed to with students asked to give brief histories (geologic, climate, cultural, political, etc.) of that part of the world. Many other things may be taught in similar ways.0 Comments