Thursday, 28 March 2013

Teaching Social Sciences instead of Languages.

Are we geared in western society to actually solve societal issues surrounding a raft of issues such as:

Teenage pregnancy
Violence (including Domestic)
Alcohol and Drug addiction
Poor parenting
Poor driving and decisions accordingly
Suicide and Mental Illnesses
How to get and keep work
How to handle Money/Banking/etc.
and a few more - you know them.

So where is our education system here in New Zealand geared?  Well to be honest it replicates the British model with subtle nuances that  do lean towards some endemic New Zealand cultural associations.  But in this society we have today surely a lot of what is not being taught needs to be added to the curriculum.

Ordinarily in the past, parents were held in awe by their children but since the setting up of the Youth Act parental control has dwindled and with the advent of social media, parental control and respect has all but diminished to such a state now the State needs to resolve issues teenagers face later in their teens and early twenties (and on).  This can be handled better by setting up a Social Sciences curriculum in Intermediate and Secondary schools.  Believe it or not teenagers do have respect for teachers and schools so it's plainly obvious that children be taught what it means to be a happy member of society going forward in that environment.

Ok I hear all you teachers and principles out there bemoan funding and the time and place to institute this programme.  Well I have a solution.  Firstly is it important we stop suicide (not just youth), we stop road deaths, we stop male versus female violence, drunkenness and the violence that can ensue, the need for youth to be in courts that are over full and prisons too.  Yes we do need these programmes and that is where my solution comes into play.  Drop languages from being compulsory learning in schools (apart from Maori) and implement the Social Sciences programme in their place.  And the current Sex Education classes can also be brought under this subjects umbrella.

Ok languages, so we need them right?  Well yes and no, yes if an individual wants to learn a language they can study extramurally through private tutors if they are that desperate to learn one.  Why do we here in New Zealand teach German, French, Korean and Japanese for example when in truth we don't as a nation need those skills.  Let's teach kids about the consequences of breaking the law, of getting pregnant, of responsible parenting, of drinking and doing drugs and the consequences, and in the process we start to build a bit of respect in young minds for their role in society and those they will encounter.

How long should this go on for?  Well the sex education programme, focusing on prevention, should start in year 8 and go through to year 9 along with Anti Bullying training.  Social skills training should start year 9 encompassing in the first year The Law, Justice and The Police and Parental Respect. Year 10 starts with Being Responsible, the pitfalls of Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Addiction, Mental Illnesses and Suicide Prevention.  It's also a time to introduce at this stage Driver Training to all teenagers.  Year 11 sees the introduction of Non Violent education including the consequences, prevention and programmes that give youth the skills to prepare for being a responsible young parent and all that entails.

By Year 12 when many teenagers leave school they should have the tools to be able to deal with situations that might arise in their life and be able responsibly to deal with it.

Why do I even propose this.  Simple answer.  Courts are overflowing as are prisons and it's better to nip it in the bud than build more courthouses and prisons.  Plus it could quite successfully save a number of lives, be it suicide, car accidents, victims of assaults or other deaths.

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