Posted: 12 August 2019

International Youth Day 2019: what do teenagers want to learn in school?

This year's theme for International Youth Day is 'transforming education', focussing on making education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people.

To celebrate, we asked Krysstina (17 years old), what she would include if she could design the school curriculum. Here's what she said:

Lesson one: First aid

Accidents can happen at anytime, to anyone - which I think makes it more important than ever to know what to do in case of an emergency...but what do you do if you haven’t been taught these skills?

As children grow up, there are many instances where knowing basic first aid can be really useful. Whether that’s helping a grandparent who has suffered a stroke or heart attack or helping a friend who has injured themselves falling off a bike, schools should be teaching us this life skill.

Lesson two: Personal finance (money management)

I think most students find the terminology of finance very confusing, even though we’re surrounded by this ‘jargon’ in the media. I think that many young people hear these phrases as ‘white noise’ and don’t, for example, understand the difference between a credit and a debit card...but anyway why should we?

Schools should teach us the things that matter like the basics of money management: budgeting, saving, debt, taxes, investing, and giving - instead of quadratic equations and osmosis! That knowledge would lay a foundation for students to build strong money habits early on and avoid many of the mistakes that lead to money struggles!

Lesson three: Relationship values

We can’t help but somehow be influenced by representations of relationships we see around us and in the media, but through learning about how to spot manipulative and abusive behaviour; the importance of sexual consent; and understanding sexuality in general would really help people improve our relationships for life.

Allowing students to talk honestly and openly about their different experiences and feelings would help to create a safer environment for us all, and give us a better insight into what to accept and what not to accept.

Lesson four: Assertiveness, mindfulness and public speaking

Everybody at some point or another is confronted with a scenario where they need to speak up for themselves. However, depending on the atmosphere or people you are surrounded by, it can be quite a challenge to get your voice heard - especially as a young person!

I think that schools should teach us how to express our opinions in a positive way, and how to say "no" when you need to. We should be encouraged to communicate our thoughts and feelings and express ourselves - which will greatly help our mental well-being.

Lesson five: Basic home/car maintenance

Most of the time, if something like a light bulb needs replacing, or a fuse has blown, a parent or responsible adult may come to the rescue and do it for us, or if in doubt we may search for instructions on the web… but sometimes that isn’t the answer to every problem!

Schools should teach us how to solve basic maintenance issues like these, not only allowing us to become more responsible - but also because it will help save us a lot of time, money and hassle in the future!

Similarly, by teaching us the basic mechanics behind cars etc, it will help us to understand the logistics behind them/how they run and hopefully help us become more sustainable and careful drivers.

 

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