As adults, we often wish we had learnt some valuable life lessons back in high school such as finance management, coding, and possibly even relationship advice. In Malaysian public schools, the syllabus is set in stone and the topics mentioned above will not be formally taught.
Thankfully, as teachers, we can insert some elements of these must-teach lessons in our daily teaching. In this article, we explore 5 teachings that every teacher can incorporate into their daily lessons to prepare students for the real world.
Anthropology is known as the scientific study of human behaviour, human biology, cultures, and societies, in both the present and past, including past human species. The study of anthropology also involves the study of history and significant past events that lead to our current cultural environment. We may not have Cultural Anthropology as a subject on it’s own, but living in the cultural melting pot that is Malaysia, it is no surprise as to why elements of this course should be taught in schools. Learning each culture’s behaviour, signature traits, and where they originate from enables us to understand why we behave in such a way and to be respectful towards one another.
From a teacher’s perspective, anthropology can be integrated into History or Sejarah as many of the practical aspects of the subject can be reflected upon from how people (particularly country leaders) of different cultures interacted with one another. Teachers should draw lessons on how acceptance of different cultural characteristics only makes us stronger as a community and as a country. This lesson may also inspire students to chase a career in politics and international relations.
From a teacher’s perspective, anthropology can be integrated into History or Sejarah as many of the practical aspects of the subject can be reflected upon from how people (particularly country leaders) of different cultures interacted with one another.
Teachers should draw lessons on how acceptance of different cultural characteristics only makes us stronger as a community and as a country. This lesson may also inspire students to chase a career in politics and international relations.
There are a myriad of free online courses available for Cultural Anthropology - some of which could get you a solid degree certificate in less than 2 years. However, if you would prefer to watch videos for general knowledge, Professor Alan Macfarlane’s YouTube channel has compilations of interesting lectures, interviews, and research on cultural studies. You could also look into free anthropology courses through Coursesity - a resource for courses relevant to today’s teaching atmosphere.
Biology is a subject that is already in the local syllabus. However, there is one aspect of Biology that must be highlighted in school - Sex Education.
The phase teenagers go through involves the discovery of strong emotions towards the opposite sex. Teenagers experience a strong drive to be sexually active. Sex Ed is made to help students make the right decisions when it comes to sex. The basics of Sex Ed cover concepts such as personal boundaries, consent, sexually-transmitted diseases, contraceptives and the use of protection.
As they transition into adulthood, teenagers must learn to accept the changes their body is going through. More so, they must learn to respect the boundaries others have set. They should also be taught that actions have consequences. Some actions bring temporary pleasure but the effects may last a lifetime.
Some online courses you can consider are:
Edcraft - Sex education for teens aged 10 and older.
Puberty Talk - YouTube channel for tweens and teens to answer question about puberty and sex.
Amaze - Fun animated videos that answer everything you want to know about, your body and relationships.)
Real talk – Sex Ed keeps us grounded in science, and showcases real-life scenarios. Good science compares multiple sources of credible data and research done in the past. Sex Ed gives a holistic perspective to human reproduction.
It allows us to have a bird’s eye view of human sexuality in terms of emotional, physical, and mental capacities. A comprehensive understanding of sex prepares students for the future phases and potential challenges they will experience through puberty and maturity.
Communications is a broad subject dealing with a spectrum of topics – language (verbal/nonverbal), writing, mediums of communication (journalism, social media, email), business communication, and often Public Relations. More so, communication soft skills should be mastered at an early age. The most important of communication soft skills are verbal and written communication. These skills can be taught in classes such as Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin subjects.
The basics of communications will prove valuable to kickstart their venture into working life. As teachers we should encourage students to speak in front of an audience and teach them how to use body language to convey a message. Students can also be guided on email and social media writing as it is a necessary skill in today’s working environment.
Teachers can best understand concepts of communications in everyday life by tapping into the resources from TED Talks. You could also watch influential leaders such as Simon Sinek, Amy Cuddy, Seth Godin, and Celeste Headley talk about sharpening communication skills.
Financial freedom, wealth accumulation, retirement planning – these are some terms that hold weight in action once we come out into the working world. Most of us never learned the significance of money management in school. Some were lucky to be guided by parents on how to save money or make more money. Most of us simply had grandiose dreams of being rich, never truly understanding how and why we should. Somewhere along the journey of life, we understood that money management is key to living a life of dignity and social responsibility. We came out to work and got comfortable, possibly made some mistakes along the way (bad purchases, debts, rash decisions) – everything through trial and error.
Teachers are frontline role models in individual financial management. They impart crucial advice to students by telling their own life story. Financial management can further be integrated into a chapter of Math to emphasize the importance of probability, projections and calculations particularly in investments. Students do not have to learn through trial and error if they are taught the fundamentals of financial management in school.
Some subtopics that are key to financial management are:
An integral part of computer science, coding is the use of alphabets and symbols to create the building blocks for online websites, systems and applications. Learning to code can expedite one’s ability with any computerised or software-based applications.
Today, many majors in college require a basic knowledge of coding language. While coding can’t be taught and applied into the current Malaysian syllabus, students can dip their toes in it with online webinars such as Codecademy and The Odin Project.
Although our subjects taught in school have a fixed syllabus, teachers can implement concepts of the abovementioned lessons into their daily teachings to give their students a head start at life. Teachers can strive to incorporate elements of these courses into their daily teaching routines to create interest and a basic awareness of these topics
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