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December 08, 2008

What should we be teaching in schools?

I've been watching Jamie Oliver's new show about teaching people how to cook. He's found a whole town called Rotheram (but don't fool yourself, it's not the only one of it's kind) who can't cook. My main criticism of his approach is that he's teaching people who live on welfare payments to cook salmon. I think he could have started with some simpler, cheaper, more accessable recipes. But he's still doing a great thing.

Meanwhile I've been reading my sister's thesis on environmental education, and how in Australian curriculum there is no room to learn about the environment. Her research shows the value of teaching children to be stewards of their environment and how naturally they want to help their environment, at least until adults intervene.

It becomes apparant that we aren't learning how to live any more. We graduate from school being able to read and write and do maths, but we don't learn how to brake bread or recycle or shop frugally or grow carrots or get stains out of the carpet. We are taught how to make money, but we aren't taught any living skills at school.

The best thing I learned at school was actually Physics. Whilst almost failing for years, I really loved learning about the world I live in and how it all interacts. If I had my time again I would study human biology too. Those subjects aside, the things I do everyday were learnt from my parents, and I've totally forgotten how to do long division!


M M said...

Hi Julia.
Its Michael. Remember me, from London?
I have started a blog of my own, and JP was looking for examples and came across yours.
Yours looks really, mine is very simple. I notice you have been running your blog for quite some time. Impressive.

Julia said...

Hi Michael, great to hear from you! I have been blogging for awhile now. It started when I was sick, and had a lot of time on my hands. Now I am working full time again and can only manage one post a week, but I'm still here.

Hope to see you again around here!