What we learn in high school shapes students into well-rounded citizens and proactive learners, but the education system today isn’t structured to teach in the most effective way. Steven Wolk wrote in his essay “Why Go To School?” about the inefficient ways that the curriculum prepares students for life tasks. Wolk suggests that “our schools … use critical and moral inquiry as a way to shape individual identity.” Taking the curriculum away from outdated textbooks that have repeated the same lessons for years, teachers should structure their curriculum to the needs and learning styles of their students. Instead of learning about shapes and angle measurements in geometry, the teachers should structure their math class in a way that students can clearly see the correlation between what they are doing and how that can be applied to their lives.
I often stare at my homework and ask myself, “When will I ever have to use this in my life?” Truthfully, I most likely won’t have to use the majority of what I learn in school during my life. By the time I entered high school I knew my strengths and weaknesses; I liked to write and I loved history, but I wasn’t so good at math. I knew I wasn’t going to become a doctor or a mathematician. The number of hours that I spent struggling through math problems that I forgot by the end of the year is appalling to me. If the school system allowed us to choose our classes based on what we were interested in, students would be so much more prepared for their futures because they would have more experience in what they wanted to go into from a younger age. I’m not saying we should stop having math classes, but the traditional math classes that students take may not be the most beneficial for every student’s future plans. Maybe there could be a class that could be offered for students who might not want to go into a job that requires a lot of math expertise. This class could teach about the economy, the stock market, and how to manage your money as an adult. These classes would still use the critical thinking skills that are used in math, except they would be used in ways that the students could see be relevant to their lives in the future.
Ashley McCall speaks about restructuring the curriculum so that it caters to the needs of each student in her article “What If We Radically Reimagined the New School Year?” McCall advises that teachers should “structure student’s learning around their lived experiences.” If we structure the curriculum about student’s direct experiences, then they would find more connections to the information and become more interested in the content. This could be done by integrating current events into discussions or activities such as the election and the coronavirus pandemic. The curriculum should be structured to the needs and interests of the students to prepare them for life outside high school