“I’m never going to use this in the real world anyway.”
It’s a constant refrain of students as they struggle with studies and get bored with certain subjects. As students mature, they begin to view “real world” vocationally, misunderstanding that even if they pursue a career as a lawyer then the basics of geometry still benefit their education. As teachers, we know that actors need history, mechanics need art, and investment bankers need biology.
We design curriculums to create well-rounded adults. However, as students look toward college or vocational training they often lose sight of the value of a versatile education. Their interest
We might be satisfied to reply to their “real world” refrain with a stolid, “Eat your vegetables, they are good for you.” Unfortunately that argument works as rarely in the classroom as it does at the dinner table. We owe it to our students and to ourselves as educators to proffer a response that illustrates why a multi-faceted education works in their best interests.in subjects outside of their career path wanes–subjects like literature and trigonometry appear to be a waste of time in comparison to career focused classes. Students neglect foundational subjects to pursue training in spreadsheets or CPR.
Math for Artists
Students pull their hair out as assigned formulas and proofs become more oblique. However, a foundational understanding of math benefits more that just future actuaries and physicists. A sound approach to math lessons fosters practical problem solving skills, and aids students in understanding abstractions.
In addition to building problem solving skills, math–even high-level math–provides many practical applications. Students who struggle in mathematics might find future interest in the more tangible subjects like statistics and economics. Having a sound algebraic background makes excelling in these subjects easier. Math skills aid in future money management and investi
ng. Even an artist may utilize mathematics to build structurally sound art installations or negotiate good terms with a gallery.
Improv for Businessmen
While the theatre arts appeal to many students as a fun diversion, the practical application of the skills can create more competent salespeople and negotiators. The ability to perform pays off when giving presentations to large groups or networking with other professionals.
One of my former students enrolled in Business Management Courses at Cardinal Stritch. She found her theatre background helped her deliver compelling business presentations. Where other students seemed nervous and stiff, she knew how to project, improvise, and make her words sing.
English for Accountants
While studying writing and literature might seem a waste of time for students who wish to pursue a career in debits and credits, the writing and critical thinking skills necessary to dissect Hamlet convert well
Our age of the internet emphasizes written communication. An education in crafting strong sentences and complete paragraphs allows students to communicate concepts and ideas in clear and strong prose.to any career path. A student with the ability to analyze complex material is able to look past figures to synthesize information and ask probing questions.
We as teachers recognize the value of a diverse curriculum. As students grow older, they start to limit their focus to subjects that seem applicable to their desired careers. However, we must demonstrate to our students that a well-rounded approach to education will benefit their adult careers by providing a wealth of skills, confidence, and knowledge.