1. Basic finance
I’m not talking about everyone studying advanced macroeconomics or learning the ins and outs of the derivatives market. I’m thinking more along the lines of:
- What’s the difference between a credit card and a debit card?
- What’s a mortgage? What are the advantages/disadvantages vs. renting?
- What’s an ISA, or a savings account? What are some different methods of saving? Why save rather than borrow for expensive items (in some cases)?
- The different types of debt (E.G. student loans versus payday loans)
I’m astounded people are sent into the world with just no idea about what’s out there. It’s no wonder people are suckered into credit card debt, payday loans and horrendous finance deals. I’d much rather have had a pretty comprehensive grounding in personal finance than be taught dance or religion.
Recommended reading: The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason
I hated PE (or physical education) at school. I’ve got absolutely no hand eye coordination, can’t catch or throw, and no interest or aptitude for sports. I was always picked last. It was humiliating and it turned me off doing any kind of exercise, or caring about my body for a long time. Why split the world into ‘geeks’ and ‘jocks’?
I’ve discovered since then a real, underlying passion for strenuous strength and conditioning training, yoga, calisthenics and running. I train hard almost every day, and it’s an integral part of who I am (read more about why I think it’s so important here and here).
My love of exercise proves to me that it’s not the physical activity I hated – it was being made to feel like a loser. And I know I’m not alone here.
There needs to be an effort taught about health, the mechanics of your body, the empirical evidence of different methods of training, and the basics of how to feed yourself good, nutritious food cheaply (maybe they need a 101 in how to use a slow cooker or scramble eggs).
I am absolutely certain the world would be a considerably better place if more people had the ability to detach from their emotions, to think clearly, to focus on what’s important. Mindfulness practice allows you to move closer to that ideal. The data is clear. Even short bouts of mindfulness meditation show a huge range of benefits, including:
- Increased ability to focus/concentrate
- Increased attendance and grades
- Better mental health
- Self awareness and self regulation
- Improved socio-emotional development (ability to get along with others)
So, let’s start every school day with a few minutes of quiet, breathing meditation and see what happens.
4. How to enjoy reading.
In my life, and for many of my friends and colleagues, an incredible amount of value has been added from books like ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, ‘The Four Hour Work Week’, the works of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, to name but an infinitesimally small fraction. I’m so saddened when people tell me they hate reading. In the words of Oliver Sacks, one of the very greatest pleasures in my life has been “drinking deeply from good books”.
But, is this just personal preference? Everyone has the right to determine their own lifetime of education? Maybe you need to have experienced a little bit of life, to have fucked up, to contextualise these experiences, to have a node to grasp onto, and apply the lessons of these books. Perhaps you never feel the need. All I know is I would love to see a clinical trial where kids read a book a week. My gut tells me the results would be astounding.
What do you think of my new curriculum? Would you sign up? Or do you think it’s a load of nonsense?
If you’re interested in education, you’ll love this video from Ken Robinson. It’s one of my favourites.