Preparing the High Schooler: What High Schoolers Need to Succeed (first in series of four)
In this series of 4 blogs, I’ll be sharing some of my observations and findings from decades of experience, working with teenagers. The scope of this series will be to provide key suggestions to help remedy the crisis we’re facing in schools today. Many students often question the value of school and wonder if many of their core subjects really prepare them for their futures. We all know that schools are essential to succeed in this contemporary age, but we find they often lack the curriculum and relevant focus to adapt to our rapidly changing world. Many high schools are beginning to place more emphasis on teaching students about finance and economics, communications, mental health, and leadership. There has been a lot of progress towards implementing the STEM-based subjects, which are highly positive. However, the question still remains, are today’s schools excelling in helping young people pursue their passions and connect to their purpose? Below are suggestions on subjects that can be adapted to drive more relevance for today’s students.
Math – In today’s schools, advanced math courses are often viewed with skepticism by students who are forced to take these courses to fulfill state requirements. Unfortunately, many students disregard advanced math as a “useful subject” due to obscure equations and lack of practical application in their daily lives. Having said that, math subjects such as financial algebra can have real value in people’s lives. Financial Algebra teaches critical thinking and problem solving that allows the student to make wise choices on the matters of money. Economics, especially “microeconomics”, goes hand-in-hand with financial algebra, and focuses more on studying the behavior of actors in an economy and how they make decisions.
Communications is another essential subject student’s must master in order to succeed. The ability to clearly share ones’ ideas and concepts with another individual or group is a critical skill that will differentiate successful people throughout their lives. Effective communications are an important element of innovation, business and operations within every company, big or small. In a 2018 Gen Z study, Cigna Insurance found that Gen Zers are the most connected generation, yet the loneliest generation ever surveyed. With the advent of technology, many young people have lost focus on the development of critical in person networking and communications skills that are staples of personal growth and development. One way to reduce the isolation many young people feel is by taking time to connect with one another, putting down electronic devices and being real and authentic with colleagues and peers. Strong communications skills and the ability to collaborate are essential for the next generation workforce.
Mental Health within our young people has never been more critical. It is imperative that schools and organizations working with youth, prioritize Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as a core subject that must be fostered and developed without our young people. The state of mental health in today’s young people is reaching critical levels never before seen. We can lessen the effect of mental health issues by administering classes in high school that teach students how to cope with stress, depression, bullying, and anger. If schools hire more school psychologists and counselors and implement SEL courses into their curriculums, we will begin to see positive progress and change in our young people.
Leadership is one of the primary skill-sets that HR Directors are looking for when recruiting and hiring college graduates. Leadership is a core discipline successful people employ that empowers and develops those around them. It is about helping others achieve what they couldn’t do on their own or didn’t believe was possible. Leadership should be a mandatory course that begins in 6th grade in all schools; both public and private. While students are learning to lead, they will be building valuable skills that will put them on the path towards their future success.
1 of 4 in a Series – Series 2 Next Week!
BIZNOVATOR is a youth empowerment platform that offers a year-round experience for young people interested in entrepreneurship, social innovation and global leadership. Through our seminars, workshops, summer camps and in school Academies, BIZNOVATOR helps young people to DISCOVER their purpose, TRANSFORM their mindset and CONNECT to their future. We have recently launched our Online Learning Platform, www.mybiznovator.com which enables young people from all over the world to experience our unique BIZNOVATOR programs. We invite you to join us!
Juan Pablo Casimiro is Founder and CEO of BIZNOVATOR. With more than 30 years of empowering youth and adults globally, Casimiro never misses a moment to teach, coach and challenge his clients to live their dreams. Casimiro was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City.