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Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School

By: Brian Kim - March 13, 2007

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I can’t speak for schools outside the United States, but for those readers who went to school in America, I think you’ll agree that the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at such a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope with the real world once they graduate.

If you look at this generation of students, you’ll find that most are “shell shocked” once they graduate because they had little or no preparation for what was to come.

High school mostly teaches you to memorize information and to regurgitate it back to your teacher, only to completely erase the information from your mind the moment you walk out after taking the test.

When you go on to college, you do a bit of the same things, but you also learn to think analytically, critically, and to broaden your mind so to speak, but even people who graduate from college will learn lessons from the real world the hard way as well. The sad part is all of this could’ve been prevented with some proper education beforehand.

Below are five things that I firmly believe should be taught in every school in America so that students don’t get railroaded when they enter the real world. If you’re still in school and reading this, consider it your lucky day as mastering these five skills will give you a great head start and help separate you from the rest of the pack as well.

#1. Personal Finance

Every week or so, there always seems to be a new article in CNN, USA Today, or Yahoo about young adults struggling with debt, whether it be from credit cards or loans in general. High interest rates, hidden fees, not consolidating debt – these terms and concepts are mostly unknown to young adults and because of that ignorance, they tend to make big errors in judgment. A prime example is thinking that they just have to pay the minimum on their balance and not realizing that by doing so, they pay 2-3 times as much in the long run.

Alongside that, most young adults don’t have a clue on how to invest their money. They don’t know what a Roth IRA account is, or a 401k, or the magic of compound interest, the tax benefits associated with investing in these types of vehicles, etc. There’s a lot of specialized knowledge out there that young adults are not aware of on when it comes to how they can invest their money and as a result, they frivolously spend it away.

Credit score is another big thing. A lot of young adults don’t bother to check up on it to make sure there are no errors with it. Your credit score is your report card in the real world and it comes into play when you’re buying a car, renting your first apartment, and even when you’re getting a job (most employers are now checking credit scores to determine how responsible the candidate is). Protect that at all costs. Learn what drives your credit score down. Learn what drives your credit score up. Check up on it every now and then to ensure nothing is wrong with it.

Even something as basic as creating a simple budget is beyond the grasp of some young adults and it simply amazes me that a lot of people don’t do this and some don’t even know how (you’d be surprised). Figure out your income after taxes, pay yourself FIRST (this is a big one – most people pay the bills and frivolously spend the leftovers until next payday), see what you can cut out if things are tight, look to see where you can bring in more income if you need to do so, etc.

Another important subset regarding personal finance are those “intangible” things, such as learning to differentiate between need and want, delaying the gratification, and having an inner sense of value. These concepts can’t be taught in the classroom but only taught through oneself via self discipline.

We live in a materialistic society where unfortunately, many young people grow up with the “have” then “be” mentality.

If I have _______, then I’ll be ____________.

Blame it on the media, advertising, or the impressionable minds of young people, but you’ll frequently see that a lot of people get stuck in this mentality and as a result, needlessly pile themselves in a mountain of debt.

One thing that I want to point out to students is that you’ll find as you get older, that a lot of people “fake” financial success. Not all, but a pretty big chunk. The neighbor or co-worker you see with the fancy car and nice clothes are most likely knee deep in debt while you’ll find the people with the average car and clothes have little or no debt and a nice big cushion of savings to that as well.

And the ironic and sad part is that most people don’t really care about other people because they’re so busy with themselves, so all that effort to impress others is really all in vain. The inherent danger in trying to accumulate expensive things to feel good about yourself is that you’re telling yourself that you need something outside of yourself to validate you, when everything you need to validate yourself is already within you. Stop looking for anything outside of you because there will always be something new and better to purchase. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. You’ll never catch it. Learn to simplify your life and to be content and grateful for the things you have. Don’t get caught up in the materialistic chase because once you do, it’s hard to get out.

#2. Communicating Effectively

By this, I’m not necessarily talking about giving speeches and presentations, although that certainly falls in this category. I'm mainly talking about being able to clearly take what’s in your head and to put it into words so the other person clearly understands what you’re saying the first time.

I know that sounds simple, but I’m sure you’ve met people in the workplace who don’t take the time to prepare when they speak with you and as a result, waste your time talking in circles when all you want to say to them is: “Can you take some time to think through what you want to say and come back to me later with that?”

Communicating effectively is one of the most underrated, yet most powerful skills you can develop.

The biggest part in communicating effectively is preparing what you want to say beforehand. Keep it simple. What’s my point? Why? Prepare a good example.

Your best friend in communicating effectively are these two words: “For example”. Whenever you see a confused look on people’s faces, your best response is leading with those two words: For example. When you do that AND follow up with a relevant example, it allows the other person to “frame” what you’re talking about to get a better idea of what it is.

Communicating effectively is one of THE MOST underrated and MOST valuable skills a person can have. And let me tell you on a personal level, there’s nothing more refreshing than dealing with people who take the time to prepare what they have to say and back it up with clear examples. It’s a very rare skill nowadays.

#3. Social Skills

Closely related to communicating effectively are social skills in general. After you graduate, you’re not going to be dealing with your high school or frat buddies anymore.

You’ll be dealing with many people from different backgrounds, countries, and more importantly different age groups, so it would be wise to learn how to socialize outside your own group.

Cut the slang. Learn to respect customs from other countries. Learn how to listen – few people do. Learn when to speak and when NOT to.

Build rapport. Learn the art of networking – that’s key. Networking is a big skill that’s not taught enough in schools. Learn to compliment. Mingle. Make small talk.

Learn to approach people – that’s another big skill. Most people don’t have the guts to take the first initiative and introduce themselves. Be the big man. Take the first step. Learn to make the other person feel good and important. Dale Carnegie is your best friend in this area (Google his name if you don’t know what I’m talking about)

#4. Sales

Obviously I’m not advocating people becoming a salesman after school, but learning the art of selling is what I’m advocating. If you think about it, we all sell everyday. We sell ideas to our boss. We sell to our friends when we pitch ideas on what to do this weekend. We sell ourselves in job interviews. You could say that sales is a great combination of social skills and communicating effectively, but with some other components you should pick up that will be useful.

Listen. Really listen. Actively listen. Learn how to be convincing. Be persuasive. Think of objections and counter them ahead of time. Stress benefits instead of features. Listen to the other person. (yes I know it's a repeat, but it's for emphasis) Develop empathy. Think in terms of how you can help serve the other person.

Selling is one of the few skills that can be utilized in any job or career. It’s one of the most important cross marketable skills you will ever develop.

#5: Time Management

Speaking of other skills that can be utilized in any job and career is time management. The majority of students never really learn to value their time and manage it while in school. Procrastination is all too rampant (studying right before class, doing homework and essays the day it’s due, partying the night before the exam). This lack of time management often carries over into adulthood, which becomes a major liability.

Learn to make a to do list. Learn to prioritize. Learn to break things down into 30 minute blocks of time. Learn about actionable items. David Allen’s GTD system is your best friend here along with Dan Kennedy’s No B.S Time Management. Again if you’re unfamiliar with these people, Google is your best friend, but I’m sure the majority of readers will know what I’m talking about.

+1. Health

It’s not enough to make students run a mile and play sports. Education is needed now more than ever. Education on the dangers of consuming too much fast food. Education on what diets in high sugar and fat can do to the body. Education on proper nutrition. Education on the importance of exercising regularly as well. I think if schools start teaching these kinds of things, we could nip so many problems in the bud because most teenagers will not research this material on their own. The few that do have a head start in life but if we can’t teach them, schools should at the very least raise some sort of awareness and have an introductory class that talks about them – Real World 101.

If you have any friends or family who are still in school, please forward them this article. Think of it as a cheat sheet for the real world. You’ll be doing them a great service and they will most definitely thank you after they graduate. I guarantee it.

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151 Responses to “Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School”

  1. Niranjan Says:

    Excellent points! Not only in America, but these 5 +1 things should be taught everywhere in the world.

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Niranjan,

    Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

    I don’t know what kind of education system other countries have, but if they don’t cover these 5 + 1 things, then I agree with you absolutely. They should be taught everywhere in the world. (kind of makes you wonder what kind of world we would live if that actually happened)

  3. kamy Says:

    I don’t think social skills will be taught in schools even if they should. Social skills are developed in school by the ones that become popular and are under-developed by the shy ones.

  4. migratingpug Says:

    It may be interesting to note that the Boyscouts program has merit badges for each of these gaps in the public educations system. In addition, as a scout advances in rank they have a Board of Review which is conducted in a fashion that is remarkably similar to a job interview. There are probably other non-governmental organization that may also fill in the gaps–kids need a counter-point to what is offered in schools and should seek such experiences.

  5. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School « Tons of Fresh News Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School I can ’t speak for schools outside the United States, but for those readers who went to school in America, I think you’ll agree that the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope…[school] [news] [world & business] [offbeat news] […]

  6. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you very much for your comments. I agree with you when you say social skills are developed in school by the ones that become popular and are under-developed by the shy ones, but that’s precisely why they should be taught in schools in order to level the playing field. Plus, the social skills that are developed in school are primarily based on interacting with the same age group. The social skills I propose should be taught would revolve around helping students learn how to interact with people from any country or age group.


    Thank you very much for sharing that with us. I did not know the Boyscouts had that kind of program. It’s refreshing to hear to say the least.

  7. Luke Says:

    What about teaching motivation? I studied at school becasue I had to then when I grew up into an adult I slowly realised that the more I put into life the more I would get out. I had to teach myself to be motivated and would have acvhieved a lot more and quicker if I had had the basic skills of how to motivate myself taught to me.

  8. Tom Says:

    What about geography? Graduates today know disturbingly little about this discipline, and this likely contributes to the world’s perception of us as “dumb Americans.” And with globalization being forced on us by the “government” basic geography becomes even more important.

  9. Personal Finance Advice - » Financial Wake-Up Call 3-14-2007 Says:

    […] 5 Things That Should Be Taught In School: I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that #1 on the list is personal finance: One thing that I want to point out to students is that you’ll find as you get older, that a lot of people “fake” success. Not all, but a pretty big chunk. The neighbor or co-worker you see with the fancy car and nice clothes are most likely knee deep in debt while you’ll find the people with the average car and clothes have little or no debt and a nice big cushion of savings to that as well. […]

  10. Doug Says:

    Great article. I’ve been out of school for quite a while and I’m still working on many of these. This article gives me a good focus on how I can start supplementing my son’s education.

    “If I have ____, then I’ll be ____” really struck me.

  11. Dot Says:

    Excellent list - I think these things should be taught here in the UK too! And not just to kids - adults should have the opportunity to learn this stuff so that they can teach their own children at home.

  12. AdamB Says:

    The only disagreement I have with this list, is a missing topic. “Critical thinking”, often found underneath philosophy in many college catalogs. But it needs to be taught earlier. In this class, one learns how to logically analyze and build arguments, thinking clearly about a subject rather than letting your emotions completely control your choices. Higher skills in this area help and assist in most of the above listed subjects.

  13. Dollfan Says:

    After reading the list I realized that 4 out of the 5 used to be taught by a process called “homework”. When we had home work assignments we had to budget out time in 3 different ways. First we had to allow enough time to complete it and to check with parents or peers if we ran into difficulty. Next, we had to prioritize in order to either get it done so we could go out and play or, plan to do it after dinner. Finally, (and this was back in the pre-vcr day of 3 channels plus PBS) we had to plan to have it done before our favorite TV show came on.

    Aside from time management, we often had to be able to explain our homework to our teachers. This required us to understand what we did and be able to communicate to someone outside our peer group using proper English.

    One of our regular homework assignments was either show and tell or current events. In both cases you were called upon to speak about something and explain it to the whole class in 2 minutes. Often you were even asked questions.

    The final by product was what to do if you forgot your homework. Most of us went into sales mode with the “my dog ate it”, “I left it on the bus”, or “I was taking care of my sick grandmother” excuses. Ok, so it’s not true sales but it challenged us to put together a rational coherent argument as we begged for a chance to complete the assignment.

    Now personal finance was never taught. Yes, we learned something about money through selling candy, greeting cards, seeds, but we didn’t learn about compound interest, investing or planning for retirement. I was a member of Jr. Achievement and I don’t even remember much after I invested my dollar. I received no quarterly reports, participated in no board meetings and never received dividends.

    Maybe along with having 5th graders carry around an electronic baby, we should have them go through the process of buying a house, a car or planning for retirement.

    But most of all we have to bring back meaningful homework.

    Of course that’s just my opinion…or is it?

  14. The Internet Journalist » The 5 Things Schools Should Be Teaching Says:

    […] A really valid point is proved by this article. If these 5 things were to be taught properly in schools, we might not see financial insecurity and many other common problems. Take a read and possibly let schools know. This can very well help in the near future. But why has this been so overlooked? Your guess is as good as mine. […]

  15. Brad Says:

    The only thing that needs to be taught is for parents to teach their child how to do these things. No reason a school needs to do it.

    Get involved in your children’s lives people (or don’t have kids).

  16. anthony Says:

    This is a horrible article. It is well thought out and well written, but it sounds like you are trying to program every child in the world to be a successful capitalist business person. I think this is the last thing society needs right now.

    Time Mgmt and Personal Finance both boil down to self discipline, which is important. However there are other cultures which don’t try make themselves too busy to the point of heart attacks, and which don’t value money as highly.

    The other stuff - communicating, listening, persuading, are all good, but it shows a kind of mindset that you use the word ’sales’.

    Sorry to criticise, but I believe the last thing the world needs is million more kids growing up listening to “7 habits of highly successful 7 olds”.

    Since I have been mean about your article, here is a punt at what I might teach kids. I haven’t thought about it, so it will probably be rubbish.

    1. self discipline, and how to work for yourself
    2. learning what kind of things make you happy, what kind of person you are, so you can be better equipped to find a life you enjoy
    3. respect for others and the value of teams and communities
    4. how to think
    5. the world - governments, states, economies, advertising, how it all works

    thanks, sorry again to be negative.
    p.s. I work in London in advertising.

    some good books on this subject:
    Tom Hodgkinson - How to be Free
    Alain de Botton - Status Anxiety

  17. DeepThought Says:

    While I agree with the list , I think these skills should not be “taught” in schools . Rather they should be picked up unconsciously while doing other stuff. Like games , drama , arts…..Schools should foster a playful environment where a students personality can be allowed to express itself fully. Dollfan’s idea of meaningful homework above also makes sense.

  18. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you very much for your comments. I agree with you that motivation should be taught in schools, but it’s just a question of how. We are all so different and because we are all so different, we’re motivated by different things so it would be hard to do that unless there was significant one on one time spent with the instructor.


    Thanks for your input. I don’t know how little graduates know about geography, but if they know as little as you’re saying, then yes, I definitely agree.


    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it. I’m glad the article was able to help. Teach your son these things now and he’ll have a great head start in life!


    Thank you very much as well for the kind words. I’m all for having this taught in the UK as well (I just didn’t know whether it was taught there or not).


    Thanks for your input. Absolutely. I agree. Should’ve been the first one ;)


    Thank you very much for your comments. They’re very astute. The only thing I want to say in defense is that my article was not aimed toward kids in the 5th grade. More so toward high school and college students.


    Thank you very much for your input. I agree with you that parents should teach these things to their kids but the sad thing is that they are NOT. If they aren’t doing it, schools should pick up the slack.


    Thank you very much for your honest input. I really appreciate and respect that.

    My intention was not to “program every child in the world to be a successful capitalist business person.” I assure you. I believe these 5 things can help any child regardless of whatever field they pursue.

    Thank you very much as well for providing your input on what you should teach kids - they are certainly valid and would prove to be extremely useful.

    You don’t have to apologize for being negative - you are certainly free to express your own opinion.

    Thanks again!


    Thanks for your comments. I see what you’re trying to say and I agree that it would work. Unfortunatley, the education system is not structured that way.

  19. ChrisM Says:

    THANK YOU! When I saw the headline, I thought “I wonder if they’ll mention personal finance” and there it was at number 1. I’ve been saying the same thing for years, so it’s refreshing to hear it from somebody else (and somebody that knows how to write!). When I graduated college and got my first real job, I ‘found out’ that my money would be invested.. in the stock market. I was clueless. And that was AFTER college. I never saw my parents deal with it, and not a word was taught about it through my 16 years of public education. From opening my first checking account to buying my first house– all things I had to learn about on my own, from scratch. And shouldn’t have had to. I hope your article reaches a lot of people so maybe this will change.

  20. Electronic Whiteboard Says:

    Brian, I think that we all agree that some changes do need to be made in the .edu environment (from K->college) but I’m not sure that your list of things to teach, gets at the root of the problem. Yes we do to teach social skills and communicaiton etc. but it is extremely difficult for teachers to do this when they are stuck teaching to the multitude of standardized tests. I think that we need to be advocating the change of assessment to match the new “content” that we want to teach. Social skills don’t help you on the SATs and being a good salesman will only get you a few extra points on your essay section. If we return to some of the original ideals of schools literacy,(which now includes other technologies besides books) civic duty and real-world skills(like you mentioned, sales, comm, interaction, money, taking care of yourself) and actually assess for these things instead of discrete, unusable factual information, we might actually be able to change things. It really is all about kindergarten.

  21. brian Says:

    Scouts are nice and all, but they discriminate against upto 35% of the population of the US. You can’t really be a nontheist (~15-25% of the US) nor a homosexual (~10-15% of the US) and be allowed to stay in scouts.

    If scouts weren’t so gung ho christian in the US, it might me a nice option, but bigots are everywhere. It’s close, and has lots of good qualities, but it’s not all inclusive :(

    Nice list otherwise. Most of these items are never touched on in primary education, let alone college. I took a personal family finance class in collage and it was like “why is THIS not a requirement for everyone to graduate?”

    Geography *should* be taught in school, but it often gets overlooked for facts and figures, which isn’t teaching, but memorization. My wife is a Jr High History teacher (16 years, gawd love her…), and she has to skirt the state standards and interject geography into her lesson plans. The big problem is state standards, and standardized testing, they don’t want people to think, they want them to regurgitate facts.

  22. Ben’s Blog » Blog Archive » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School […]

  23. Lex10 Says:

    Plus self defense and semiotics

  24. bigfatmonster Says:

    If you read a book called “Think rich and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill.(mind you it was written in the 50s or so) or the “rich dad, poor dad” from robert kiyosaki. i believe that they do mention similar things that in order to succeed monetarily, you need to know certain basic things and that they include what was mentionned.
    i really do think that it’s not just something that should be taught but more of ways of how to think…we should incorporate a basic 101 philosophy class and discussion for kids in general, like showing a man or woman to fish, and nourish his/her brain in terms of a mindset. We can show them how to succeed monetarily, but then that can create new problems with social responsabilities and what not; everything has a cost, whether we like it or not, and it can’t always be seen directly or monetarily.

  25. Brian Kim Says:


    You’re very welcome! And Thank YOU for the kind compliment. I really appreciate it.
    As with you, my parents did not teach me these things so I had to learn from scratch as well. The more people this article reaches, the better :)

    Electronic Whiteboard

    Thank you for your comments. You bring up some excellent points and I agree with you. I’ve never quite thought about it that way, but what you say makes perfect sense.


    My thoughts EXACTLY :) Thanks for the kind words!


    Sure why not? Make the world a safer place ;)


    It’s funny you mention Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” because I wrote an ebook based on it called “The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich” - (remember the secret he talks about in the introduction?) You can learn more about it here - http://briankim.net/hiddensecret.php

    I understand what you’re trying to say regarding teaching kids how to think in terms of having the right mindset and that’s EXACTLY what my book talks about.

  26. Jabeta Says:

    I think a second language should be mandatory in elementary schools. It’s so much easier for a child to learn a second language than it is for an adult.

  27. Katrineholm Review Says:

    The Trivium and Quadrivium should be mandatory in schools.

  28. CMC Says:

    In the Florida school system, there is a course called Life Management Skills that every student in the state is required to take in order to graduate. We may all rememeber the course as Health (Sex Ed, Drug and Alcohol Ed, cancer awareness, disease prevention, etc.), but it curriculum now also includes personal finance (budgeting, balancing checkbooks, an intro to savings/retirement, etc), and time management. i’m sure other states have similar courses as well.
    The problem is not that there isn’t a forum to teach the material, but rather that in many cases the teachers don’t know much about it themselves. It’s awfully hard to teach something that you yourself don’t know much about. (It’s been my experience that the Health portions of the course are adequately taught but other parts are deficient) More likely though, is that this course isn’t stressed as being as important as Math, Science, Language, etc. because the teachers are having to force-feed “more important” information to the students so they can pass standardized tests. Whether or not you can tell the difference between a 401k and a CD isn’t tested.

  29. G Poirier Says:

    Some of these *are* taught in school. Some people learn them and others don’t. At the school where I teach, students are taught effective communication, for example, in each of their classes. Like many things, it doesn’t make a difference if the students won’t learn. Some students just don’t seem to care much about what will happen in the “real world.” I teach Language Arts and Drama. I’m constantly pushing students to communicate clearly, to speak clearly, to be polite and respectful, etc. But, some kids just don’t take to it.

    As to the finance class, I’d take it and I think it’s a good idea.

  30. nick Says:

    Brian, I’d love to see the corollary list: the 5 things that we should stop teaching, so we can teach these 5 new things. That’s the real hard part. I’ll offer one idea to start the list: cursive handwriting. It’s an antiquated skill that really does not prepare you in any way for life, especially when compared against the above list.

    Also, I would propose another idea for your list: critical thinking and decision-making. With so much unreliable research, opinion presented as fact, and other misinformation, I think it would be great to teach our kids how to find the answers, or at least all the relevant information, and make informed decisions.

  31. Feedback Secrets Says:

    Entrepreneurship should definitely be taught at every school because not every child is destined to join the 8 to 5 lemmings. My only regret is that nobody taught me about this subject when I was a child and gave me the option to choose.

  32. Lee Says:

    I can see the good intentions behind your comments, but I don’t think you are being at all realistic. For that matter, anyone that is saying this or that should be taught. Most children these days aren’t actually learning what is currently being taught (and pretty much everything being taught is relevant to real life.) Then, everyone suggests that we start teaching more? In the States, the time spent in the classroom hasn’t drastically changed in how many decades? However, in just the last twenty-five years, we have had an information explosion. Most schools are still struggling to teach children basic computer skills, and have had to remove other course requirements to do so. Rather than adding new subjects to the curriculum, we need to give teachers more time to teach the current curriculum. Whether that means year-round schooling (why not? In the real world you have year-round jobs), or adding another year or two before college (life expectancy is longer, and retirement age just got upped, so why not graduation age?), I don’t pretend to know. I think this would be a much more realistic, and effective, fix for our ailing education system. Especially if some increased funding was thrown in. How can you expect to prepare kids for the real world that is still 5-10 years away for them when their text books are already five years old?

  33. bruce lee (for reals) Says:

    Glaringly missing from your list:


  34. What people should learn in school, 14/03/07, my housemate is a soviet spy Says:

    […] Writing about web page http://briankim.net/blog/2007/03/top-5-things-that-should-be-taught-in-every-school/ […]

  35. Top 5 Things That Should be Taught in School at Investing Intelligently Says:

    […] Some guy named Brian Kim wrote an article called Top 5 Things That Should be Taught in Every School. Below are five things that I firmly believe should be taught in every school in America so that students don’t get railroaded when they enter the real world. If you’re still in school and reading this, consider it your lucky day as mastering these five skills will give you a great head start and help separate you from the rest of the pack as well. […]

  36. Patrick Cameron Says:

    The most important class I ever took in high school was Media Studies, taught by an intelligent and engaging teacher. Learning how to critically observe the things we see and read, knowing about media conglomeration and the process reporters use to put together stories is an invaluable skill set, especially these days. It was not just shallowly developing a cynical view of all journalism, but rather applying specialized critical thinking skills.

  37. buh Says:

    Logic and Reasoning.

  38. Noodle Says:

    One very critical item that you forgot is PARENTING.
    It is the most important thing you will ever do and most people get no
    training. How many times have you been it public with misbehaved children
    and the “parent” is not doing anything about it!!!
    Effective parenting is crucial to children developing into unsuccessful adults.

  39. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School « {-}good2me{-} Says:

    […] read more | digg story […]

  40. Brian Kim: Teach kids time management | 43 Folders Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School […]

  41. Respect Says:

    Respecting other Cultures and Beliefs is important, and it’s something that most schools over look.

  42. 5 Things that should be taught in school « Midspot Says:

    […] 14th, 2007 · No Comments This is a pretty good list of where we are failing ouryouth… […]

  43. Dakkon Says:

    I think that there’s a fundamental oversight in this list. These are all skills which should be taught by the parent. All too often, parents rely on entities outside the home to teach the most fundamental skills of being a functioning citizen in this society. I believe it is in the home that these skills need to be taught. School is academic, and as such should focus on teaching academic topics like math, science, geography, literature, music, etc… Learning how to be a useful productive person happens at home. Thanks for a great topic of discussion.

  44. ParadigmShift Says:

    How about this. Instead of teaching kids to be good little worker bees that and how to sell themselves, why not change the nature of the game. What we need to be teaching is self-sufficiency, creative thinking, compassion, and appreciation of diversity. The last thing we need is more people who feel that everything in life revolves around incessant consumerism and serving the marketplace. This needs to change.

    Public education has its merits: it teaches people to read, write, and do basic math. Beyond this, nearly everything is endoctrination that simply passes on the worldview of one generation to the next, an effect means of mind control. What we need to do is stop the continuation of corporate globalization and get back to a way of life that is sustainable and does not directly depend on the suffering of others, as corporate capitalism does.

    Call me crazy, but it’s true. If we keep doing what we are doing and follow the path we are on, our forests will be close to completely wiped out (China’s industrialization almost guarantees this), air quality will continue to diminish, unnecessary wars will continue for our lifetime and beyond, and the people in developing nations will pay the price for our unnecessary lifestyle of luxury.

    Education in its current form is endoctrination. We need to teach people to be independent, ask questions about society, and learn how to bring about positive social change. I guess this relates to media studies and how to view news and world events and the way they are reported with a critical mind and not just take everything at face value.

  45. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School « Best Stories to Read Says:

    […] read more | digg story […]

  46. ringm Says:

    Let’s rephrase this newspeak stuff into plain ol’ English.

    #1. How to be greedy.
    #2. How to cheat.
    #3. How to cheat.
    #4. How to use #2 and #3 to satisfy your greed.
    #5. How to fit more of this stuff into your short day.
    +1. How to make your life longer to fit more of this stuff into it.

    Motivation was also suggested: that’s how to force yourself to do the above even if you don’t want that.

  47. Alex Says:

    Maybe there are reasons why these topics are not taught it schools.

    #1. Personal Finance
    Dont banks make more from charging customers then they lose in bad debt.

    #2. Communicating Effectively
    You wouldnt want the ‘under’ class to be able to tell the world there problems now.

    #3. Social Skills
    If every one got along with different people from different backgrounds, then how would the government start illegal wars against ‘monsters’?

    #4. Sales
    Give people the ability to convey there ‘good’ ideas to others and ruin your business plan.

    #5: Time Management
    if people had more time they would see more injustices in the world around them.

    Here in the UK Prime Minister Thatcher took politics and economics out of the syllabus; maby she didnt want people to know better than her / spot her mistakes…


  48. PsyDev Says:

    How about the fact that the country they live in has been supporting or participating in atrocities all over the world in the name of greed pretty much since it was founded? Giving some examples, say, the terrorist war we started in Nicaragua which devastated the country or the hundreds of thousands killed in East Timor–a genocide–by Indonesia, whom we were providing with the weapons and the political support they needed to get away with it. Just to name a few…

  49. mighty Says:

    GREAT ideas. the only one i disagree with is sales.
    if everybody becomes a “salesman,” than all competition
    becomes equal. if everybody sells themselves the same
    way on a specific interview, how does the job choose
    which to hire? leave sales to the people who want it.

  50. Τα 5+1 πράγματα που θα έπρεπε να διδάσκονται στα σχολεία « Νυστέρι Says:

    […] Τα 5+1 πράγματα που θα έπρεπε να διδάσκονται στα σχολεία Published March 14th, 2007 Κόσμος , Σκέψεις , Κοινωνία , Ελλάδα Βρήκα αυτό εδώ μέσω Digg, post στο blog ενός Αμερικανού, του Brian Kim, που λέει τα έξι σημαντικότερα πράγματα που θα έπρεπε να διδάσκονται σε κάθε σχολείο της Αμερικής. Επιγραμματικά, αναφέρει […]

  51. bob Says:

    Schools do teach social skills.. it’s called recess

  52. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you for adding to the article and I think you’ve got something going there. Language acquisition is stronger in younger kids – good thinking!

    Katrineholm Review

    I didn’t know what those terms were so I had to Google them. The most unique contribution so far ;)


    Thanks for letting us know about that. I had no idea Florida had that kind of course. It’s good to know. It disturbs me though when you say teachers don’t know much about these subjects. Perhaps we need to rethink the whole standardized test system.

    G Poirier

    Thank you very much for your input and you’re absolutely right when you say it’s up to each student to learn.

    And thank you for going the extra mile in teaching your students to communicate clearly, speak clearly, and be polite and respectful. That’s refreshing to hear.


    Interesting proposal – ban cursive handwriting? – But I like cursive writing ;)

    Critical thinking and decision making – excellent choices. Two thumbs up.

    Feedback Secrets

    I agree and I think this generation, more so than any other, has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. We should start giving out more options.


    You bring up very good points and from reading your post, I think we all agree that our entire educational network needs a major facelift.


    There will always be more things to add – Ethics is a good one as well 


    I’m glad you had that type of teacher. That’s very rare nowadays.


    Logic and reasoning – good points as well.


    Parenting? Interesting you say that. What about the people who don’t want children?


    Absolutely. Respecting other cultures and beliefs is extremely important.


    I agree with you. These things should be taught by the parent, but unfortunately, they’re NOT. School would be the next best choice on my list as that’s where they spend most o their time.

    And thank you for the kind words!


    That’s an interesting perspective you have and I think it has great merit. I’ve never thought about it that way before, but it does make sense.


    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion and I respect that. If that’s your take on it, then that’s your take on it.


    Thank you for bringing up those interesting points. They raise quite an eyebrow.

    I didn’t know the UK Prime Minister took those subjects out – that distresses me greatly.


    Thanks for the kind words.

    I see your point. Survival of the fittest I say :)


    I see. But what about the introverted kids? Who will teach them social skills?

  53. bob Says:


    Recess teaches social skills far more effectively than could be done in the classroom. But like subjects taught in the classroom, there are some who will succeed and some who will fail. nothing can be done about that…

  54. Brian Says:

    I totally agree with your points. I feel that an increasingly high amount of todays youth are losing the ability to interact socially when myspace.com, facebook.com, Instant Messengers, Text Messages, etc. are stripped from them. Perhaps we can have some mandatory classes on learning the finer points of Real human to human interaction. I feel the youth loses the ability to communicate with positive expression. Perhaps this new addiction to online communication has something to do with the fitness issues that are plaguing the youth. Sitting on myspace.com for 4 hours a day doesnt encourage many healthy habits!

    Keep thinking! Your thoughts are shared by many!

  55. Defymedia.com » Blog Archive » Wednesday, March 14, 2007 Says:

    […] 5 things that should be taught in school (really.) […]

  56. MikeBenton.org » Blog Archive » Learning ala Army Says:

    […] In addition to learning better, Brian Kim suggests some courses every student should take. […]

  57. Mike Benton Says:

    Brian, great article. I referenced it from one on my posts on learning http://www.mikebenton.org/archives/128

  58. Please Says:

    This is great article. Could you make the content any narrower? I am not quite bored enough with scrolling. Thanks.

  59. Brian Kim Says:


    I absolutely agree with you 100%. You make an important point about technology hampering social interaction that I should’ve addressed in my article. Thanks for filling that part in and thank you also for the kind words! I appreciate it.


    Thanks for the kind words and the mention in your article (btw, checked your site out, keep on writing those stories ;) )


    Is it that narrow? I think the width is ok for reading. Anyways, thanks for the kind words as well! I really appreciate it.

  60. Tim Says:

    I agree 100%. Some or bits of all were still in the curriculum when I was in school. It is all but erased. Between high stakes testing dictating curriculum and the push for over specialization (the middle school I teach is instituting majors next year as part of state wide mandate) there is no time to teach the nuances in life that we all have to have figured out to be successful. School should inlude a bit of real life too.

  61. ~bc Says:

    Good thoughts, but it’s not enough to say “these things need to be taught in school.” Lots of people have their lists. On mine I have personal finance and understanding media (so much of our lives revolve around the media now a days, people need to know when to call bullshit, when they’re being pandered to, when the wrong questions are being asked. Taking Comm Sci and Journalism courses in college opened my eyes to these realities, and that more people need to know why Fox News is often called Faux News. When is a headline being twisted to scare you into ratings? I also felt that art courses allowed me become a lot more alert to the world, through improved powers of observation.

    But talk about schools being broken are useless unless the people who think its broken get involved to fix it. Otherwise, all this is pie in the sky. Plus the question should be asked, when does school stop and life lessons begin? Can’t stay in school forever. Where do parent’s come in? Schools can’t teach everything. Along the lines of “70% of things learned in college are not learned in the classroom.” (eg, living on your own, etc…)

  62. Matthew Cornell Says:

    Great list - loved it. Regarding ’sales,’ I’m with you. I discovered Alan Weiss’s book “Value-based fees,” which gave me a major shift in how I value myself, and how I might be of values to others. This is essential as our workforce becomes more global and more competitive. Another great book around this is Chad Fowler’s book “My Job Went to India: And All I Got Was This Lousy Book”. Terrific read, and not just (or mostly) about what it sounds like. (See A few highlights from “My job went to India” for more - http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/2007/02/few-highlights-from-my-job-went-to.html)

    Finally, we’re on the same wavelength - I’m self-employed and teach GTD-inspired concepts, which I call “Workflow 101,” much like your “Real World 101″ for similar reasons - it’s (amazingly) Just Not Taught. And we’re not just talking kids - my clients are scientists and professors…

  63. 每个学校都应该教的五门课 » 生活帮-LifeBang Says:

    […] 如果你也觉得这些课很重要,而且学校还没有打算教你,自己救自己吧。还有一个办法,就是读生活帮,这些内容一直以来就是我们的主题,不是么? “五件每一个学校都应该教的东西”-来自BrianKim.net […]

  64. Kam VedBrat : 5 Things that should be taught in every school Says:

    […] OFF TOPIC: I saw a link to this post on 43 folders. Brian Kim writes about self-improvement and has some interesting suggestions for what every young person should learn before they venture out into the real world. Some great ideas there, and really good food for thought for new parents and for educators. Filed under: Life […]

  65. silverie Says:

    I think Brad has a point there. These things should be taught not just in every school, but in every family as well (by their parents).

  66. » 每个学校都应该教的五门课 XO,这厮不生猛 Says:

    […] 五件每一个学校都应该教的东西”-来自BrianKim.net,本文由Lifebang.com(生活帮)提供(转载请保留此链接) […]

  67. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School » izbrano Says:

    […] via Brian Kim blog […]

  68. Jomit Says:

    I absolutely agree to you Brain.

    This is the first article that I read at your blog and definitely would be visiting this site oftenly now.

    Great Thought and Great words for expression.

  69. Geoffrey Lee Says:

    Well said. I think you can sum up all of those points with one short phrase: modern survival skills.

  70. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School « Mamado Inside Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Filed under: productivity, education — mamado @ 3:06 pm It is strange that here in Egypt we regard the American education system as way more modern than the Egyptian one, though you can find on the web articles about the American system describing it as: the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at such a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope with the real world once they graduate. […]

  71. gertie Says:

    great article! i totally agree! we are homeschooling our 7 year old son. this semester some of our highlights: a field trip to a toy store to learn how to avoid IMPULSE purchases, spanish lessons, and friday video blogging. every friday jasper does a video blog to show what he learned that week. communication is SO important! another thing that we have implemented into our curriculum is self-grading. each assignment has a card attached to it where he writes his name, the date, and gives himself a Frown face or a Smiley face. if you can’t evaluate yourSELF, you will be worthless as a business owner or community leader. thank you for your blog! :)

  72. Uptonian Thoughts » links for 2007-03-14 - Thomas Upton And His Musings Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School I agree with most of these. (tags: education school article culture) […]

  73. News FS » Blog Archive » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

    […] I can ’t speak for schools outside the United States, but for those readers who went to school in America, I think you’ll agree that the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope…read more | digg story […]

  74. James Says:

    Some of you should learn how to spell properly before spouting off on what should be changed in the educational world.

  75. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you very much for your input. I agree with you as well. There should be some time set aside for real world education.


    You bring up an interesting point with understanding media – students should learn to become more aware of any tricks they may play, I agree.

    With regard to your second paragraph, all I can say is that for now, until the education system is fixed, family should strive to teach these things to their kids, whether it be parents, uncles, aunts, or older siblings. If not family, then who?

    Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate it.


    Thanks for the book titles. That one by Chad Fowler looks promising. I’ve added it to my list.

    “Workflow 101” – how I would’ve loved to take that in college ;)

    Thanks for dropping by.


    Absolutely. I agree. Parents should teach these things but it’s becoming clear with todays’ youth that some don’t. The reasons of course vary so if any parent is reading this, PLEASE teach your children because I wish mine had.


    Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

    Looking forward to seeing you ;)

    Geoffery Lee

    Two words: Well said!


    Thanks for the kind words!

    With all that training you’re doing with your son, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be very much prepared when he leaves the nest! (and I stopped by your blog – teaching assets and liabilities at age 7? WOW!)

    Don’t be a stranger :)

  76. links for 2007-03-16 « samchase Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School (tags: toread) […]

  77. that darn kat » two awesome posts from my feed reader Says:

    […] The second item comes to us from Brian Kim via 43Folders.  It’s an article on the top 5 things that should be taught in school.  I especially related to this part: If you look at this generation of students, you’ll find that most are “shell shocked” once they graduate because they had little or no preparation for what was to come. […]

  78. Will Says:

    Nice list of survival skills for modern life. I cannot agree more. I would add subjects like history and literature that give us a sense of who we are as a society and where we came from.


    HOW do you teach this stuff properly?

    Most of the data could be handed over with in a single day. But it needs much more if we are to train the skills, rather than just deliver the knowledge. And it needs reinforcing and time to sink in. Can anyone suggest a syllabus for each of the five subjects that takes the average semi literate and semi numerate 12 year old and equips them for life? (Or five year old, or three year old…)


    People are trying already.

    the compulsory (in Scotland) English and Mathematics are compulsory exactly because people need to be able to communicate and count (their money, mainly). So really at least two of the items on the list are more about how we focus these subjects on the real needs.

    Similarly, selling is not a million miles away from effective communication. Most English classes include debating at some point: why not include 1-1 listening and persuasion as well?

    I learned mind mapping from my chemistry etaher in the 70’s as a technique to help with revision. It has stayed with me ever since and is probably one of the three most important life skills I took away from school (along with writing and counting). It took about 5 minutes (about .0005% of the time I spent studying, unless I’ve dropped a factor of 10 somewhere).

    Time management would, I suspect: take a few minutes up front and then constant reinforcement and modelling.

    In the UK there is already an AS level (typically age 17) in critical thinking. At my daughter’s school this was mandatory (because it was seen as easy and therefopre a cheap way to inprove the school’s results? Children can be SOO cynical!). She got absolutely nothing out of it. She thinks quite critically already.

    I was surprised that you believe school doesn’t teach social skills: my dim recollection is that social issues had most of my mind share most of the time. Unfortunately, there was little support for those of us who flunked the daily, rigorous exams in the playground.

  79. Neil Says:

    “Cut the slang. Learn to respect customs from other countries. Learn how to listen – few people do. Learn when to speak and when NOT to (hint – you have two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that).”

    There probably is a reason for having two ears as it garners some evolutionary advantage by allowing you to localize sound (e.g. predators creeping up on you) in space. With that said, I don’t think that we evolved (or God made us with) two ears because we’re supposed to listen twice as much.

    I’ve heard the “two ears” theory mostly as a cute idea to remind people to listen more, but when it’s delivered with “hint… there’s a reason for that,” it not only becomes slightly offensive, I also feel like you actually believe it.

  80. MODE - A Vehicle For Change Says:

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  82. Jocelyn Says:

    Alberta (the Canadian province) has a Health/Career and Life Management class that high school students take that goes over pretty much these exact topics. It was a bit cheesy, of course, and I don’t know how much attention we paid to it. But there are some things already out there.

  83. » Blog Archive » links for 2007-03-17 Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Five things that should be taught in every school so that students don’t get railroaded when they enter the real world. (tags: blog education health finance lifehacks lists) […]

  84. dmiessler.com | grep understanding knowledge Says:

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  85. Fat Mobil Content » wonder woman fan fiction Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

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  86. David Says:

    I agree with the first two, but not at all with the rest. I know this is probably going to sound heretical but social skills are highly over rated. I work in a highly technical field, and I am finding more and more graduates from tech schools, colleges and universities posses more than adequate social skills, they just can’t do anything useful. Just like the emphasis on self-esteem that has generated almost a generation of individuals who can barely read, but they sure feel good about themselves. I don’t think the schools should take on social skills during their precious classroom time. I am a firm believer that people who characterize themselves as “people persons” are a dime a dozen, and not worth considering in a job interview situation, unless you are looking for a public relations person or a receptionist.

    The “real world” education will come whether or not a student learns a set of basic skills such as basic language (communication) skills, basic mathematics, and I would add in this day and age basic computing skills, which I think a student will be much better off if they master.

    Time management is important, but there is something to be said to occasionally throwing away the schedule and living instead of being a more efficient cog. We need cultural as well as asthetic training in order to have some sort of enjoyment above that provided by various chemicals, and just maybe some meaning. There is something to be said for not being overly efficient.

    I do think the schools should teach some basic health topics, as they do now, but no more.

    I think the schools should teach basic logic and ethics. Most students these days seem to lack the ability to make or understand basic arguments, and have a real problem understanding what is ethical behavior. If they even understand that decisions have consequences, maybe that will do something for the other problems.

  87. We Rule The School » links for 2007-03-18 Says:

    […] 5 things that should be taught in every school […]

  88. Larry Says:


    I too believe American schools need updating. In many of our schools are still delivering 1960 education; the factory model. I appreciate your list and I would add the topic of volunterism. Many of our students don’t know how to give back to their communities.

  89. David Says:

    While not all schools teach these 5+1, it may be interesting to note that we teach them regularly in Boy Scouts. Personal Management (a merit badge required for the Eagle Award) has requirements for personal finance, time management, etc. Communications MB (also required for Eagle) requires them to learn to speak in public and how to introduce others, etc.

  90. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for the kind words and for your detailed comments.

    Your bring up a good point when you ask how we’re going to teach these things properly and the fact that it takes time and reinforcement to sink in. I think if schools begin to realize the importance of teaching these real world skills, that an effective method of teaching and constant reinforcement CAN be created. It’s just a matter of how willing schools are to move forward on it.

    With regard to creating a syllabus for a 12 year old, my article was mainly geared toward high school and college students, but hey, the more earlier we reach them, the better :)

    Mind mapping – excellent tool. I agree with you 100% on that it’s one of the most important life skills and I use it down to this day as well.

    I didn’t know there was a course on critical thinking in the UK – that’s refreshing to hear to say the least.

    With regards to social skills, it’s not really “taught” in American schools, but only learned via experience with those student’s personalities that are more extroverted than introverted. My main concern is to educate those who don’t have the chance to learn through experience and while I’m not advocating that we force them to learn them, I’m advocating that we should at least make them aware of some of the things.

    Thanks again for your great input!


    Your opinion is certainly welcome and valid. I see how my statement might have come across as slightly offensive – it’s just that I’m a firm believer that listening is one of the most underrated and underused skills today so I just wanted to emphasize that aspect as much as possible.

    Thanks for your comments.


    Thanks for sharing that tidbit with us. It’s good to know that Canada has this covered. Looks like from all the comments here so far, the U.S. is pretty behind…


    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your viewpoints.

    I certainly agree with you that “real world” education lies on the foundation of mastering basic skills (which is still not being done effectively in schools today).

    Time management – I just threw that in there to offset the horrendous procrastination habits that carry over from school to the real world.

    Logic and ethics – good subjects to learn as well (considering the various recent scandals going on in Corporate America, they would make an excellent choice)

    Excellent points David. Thanks again for sharing.


    Thanks for adding to the article. Volunteerism – that’s a new subject that hasn’t been mentioned yet, but still a very valid one as I think it would add great value to our youth today.


    Thanks for bringing that up.

    It looks like the Boy Scouts are picking up the slack and that’s really good to hear!

  91. James McIntyre Says:

    I would just like to comment about the teaching of social skills in schools. I have worked in education systems in both the UK and Australia where the teaching of social skills is emphasised particularly for students with disabilities. I don’t know about the US but there are a lot of social skills packages that come out of the US. The effectiveness with which these skills are transferred across is something that I cannot comment about. I do not think that it is necessarily the popular ones who acquire these skills through some type of osmosis. Generally, the popular ones are the good looking ones and they are popular because they demand it and bully the less popular ones to do their bidding and these young people grow up to be grown up bullies. Those with the good social skills tend to be those who are more in the middle. They are quite happy in their own skin and do not crave popularity. A good book for your readers to refer to is Rosalind Wiseman’s “Queen Bees and Wannabees”. Having said this I believe that there is much to be said for teaching children skills in time management and personnal organisation.

  92. Kathy Miles Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I teach TLC 7th grade. All students need this information. Thanks for your interest and time to put it out there so, as students get older, with your help; hopefully, they will get wiser.

  93. Chad’s Blog » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

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  94. Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

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  95. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for sharing your comments with us. It’s interesting to see the take you have on which “group” can easily develop social skills. And thanks for the book recommendation. It looks to be a promising read.


    Thanks for dropping by (this article seemed to have drawn a lot of teachers :) and for the kind words. I hold the same hopes as you do.

    And more importantly, thank YOU for educating our future. I have a feeling they’re in good hands ;)

  96. Will Says:

    Someone suggested that it is a waste of time learning cursive. I understand that in Iceland there was a movement to teach italic joined script first, as it was considered easier than repeatedly taking the pen off the paper to print letters separately.

    http://briem.ismennt.is/4/4.1.1a/ gives complete instructions, by the consultant who set up the course. I found it both fascinating and useful (it includes remedial exercises - you’re never too old…)

  97. Brian Griffin - Says:

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  98. Communication at Work « Life in all its glory Says:

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  99. eldorian.com » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

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  100. Stephen Says:

    Cooking and Nutrition (to prevent everyone from weighing 400 pounds, especially since the parents all weigh 400 pounds and eat fast food 24-7)

    Public Speaking (a daily talk by a rotating student, a la the Japanese “chorei” custom, would do it)

    Critical Reading (= How to Think)

    (”Social Skills” is a little bit vague, “Sales” a little too specific, but something in this domain is needed)

  101. Brian Kim Says:


    You’ve added some great subjects to the list. Cooking and nutrition will also help people save money as well in addition to helping them keep a healthy lifestyle.

    Public speaking would probably be incorporated in communicating effectively. Critical thinking is another big one that I’ve been seeing often which should be on the lists well.

    Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it!

  102. SunniPath Blog - » MultiTasking and 5 Things That Should Be Taught in Every School Says:

    […] Two interesting links from Merlin Mann’s 43 folders this week: NYT published an article on the problems of multitasking. Brian Kim gives his thoughts on the top 5 (+1) things that should be taught in every school. […]

  103. Ty Says:

    I certainly agree that all of those things should be learned…but why in school? Perhaps parents could model them at home. What about all those tax-free church entities? Perhaps they could place some of those things on a to-do list. We can not continue to micro-manage public school systems. Consider this: Schools teach the concept of multiplication and provide time for practice to understand and apply the concept. Students must set aside time at home for drill. They don’t. They also don’t know their math facts in a timely fashion. This impacts all other math concepts. Students must perform at a specific level to score proficient on standardized tests and to progress to the next grade level. They don’t. What do you propose? Closing down the schools? Firing all the teachers? Holding a child in third grade unitl he is 90? Parents don’t want skills for their kids. They want grades. NCLB doesn’t want skills for kids; they want scores. Teachers are killing themselves trying to get it all in. The fact is that most of what they are asked to do, is the job of someone else in society. Where are the pediatricians and grandmas when it comes to obesity? Why is that the school’s job? Teachers don’t buy Happy Meals and chips and dip for the kids. Parents do. Try and teach respect in school. Parents don’t care if their child cusses another child or teacher. They care if they missed recess. They care about the child who told on their child. Everybody cares about someone else. Well…that’s not exactly the kind of caring society that will make us great. It seems that no matter what is wrong with our society, the schools should be fixing it. Fix it yourself! I’m a teacher. I am early to class. I stay after class. I do not talk on a cell phone, email my friends, drink coffee, sit at a desk, or assign mindless work to keep students busy. I work to exhaustion in an attempt to meet the demands of NCLB, administration, parents, students, and society. Want high standards in schools? Then fund small classrooms and clean work environments. I shouldn’t have to buy my own pencils or paper. Want field trips? Then fund them through your business or church or neighborhood. Want good character? Then mentor a child. Mentor your own child. Become a scout leader, Sunday School teacher, community volunteer, fishing buddy, or a parent. The top 5 things we need to teach in schools are: reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. The practice comes from the home. Kids can’t read because they don’t read, not because they don’t know how. Kids can’t write because they never write except in class. When is the last time your child wrote a thank you letter, get-well card, birthday invitation, journal entry, or a shopping list? The top 1 thing teacher should do is teach. Parents should parent, and that includes discipline. Bussiness leaders should lead their business. Blogger should blog. And NCLB bureaucrats should spend a week in my classroom. Teachers want the same great things for students that the rest of the world demands from us. Give me a cardboard box with kids who follow directions, listen, think, attempt, and apply themselves, and I’ll give you what you want. It’s not about the money. It’s not that teachers don’t teach or can’t teach. It’s that teachers have become the enemy. They are our excuse for not doing what we should be doing to make sure students learn what they need, to become successful citizens.

  104. The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » What do you wish was taught in school? Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should be Taught In Every School [BrianKim.net via 43Folders] […]

  105. Brian Kim Says:


    First off, let me thank you very much for your comments and for showing us the side of things from a teacher’s point of view.

    I think teachers are doing a GREAT job despite the limitations that you have and I certainly agree with you when you point out that there are other places and people outside school and teachers that should be responsibile for teaching kids as well.

    Just the other day, I was speaking with a teacher and he said that it should all start from the household, meaning that parents should start getting more involved with their kids education and I think the family unit, especially in America is disintegrating with the high number of divorces, single parent families, and because of economic pressure, parents have to work more so when all of that is combined, kids don’t have as much parental guidance as they used to and the only adult that has any influence on a daily basis is mostly the teachers at school and I think that’s why teachers are an easy “enemy” as you point out.

    Again, thanks for adding your comments to the article. They’ve really contributed a great deal and a very fresh take on the article.

  106. mcdave.net » links for 2007-04-04 Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Estoy de acuerdo. Yo añadiría primeros auxilios. (tags: education lifehacks self-improvement school) […]

  107. Right Place @ Right Time » Blog Archive » 5 Things I Wish I Learned Earlier Says:

    […] Brian Kim’s marketing-heavy website has a ton of great insights and content. One article in particular made me thing about all the subjects we all study in the quarter of a lifetime in our school systems and how they relate to what I do for a successful living. […]

  108. Steve Says:

    “If I have _______, then I’ll be ____________. ”

    Image is everything. The right car and the right clothes sends a very important message about yourself.

    “Closely related to communicating effectively are social skills in general. After you graduate, you’re not going to be dealing with your high school or frat buddies anymore.”

    Ha ha, it really depends how mature your high school or college friends were (and hopefully your school had few or no frats). If you went to good schools and stuck around the smart people, you will continue to deal with people similar to yourself.

  109. Steve Says:

    Addenda: if you don’t believe my suggestion about cars, see the book Never Cold Call Again, by Frank J. Rumbauskas Jr.

    I’ve had the experience of changing cars and seeing what effect it has had on people in a business context.

  110. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for the comments. If you feel changing cars has helped you in a business context, by all means go for it. That part was more aimed toward people who strive to fill a need of self esteem through buying expensive material goods, which only puts them deeper in debt.

    Thanks again.

  111. 28 Links that Will Change Your Life « The Optimized Life Says:

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  112. Steve Miller’s Web Sites of Interest » links for 2007-03-15 Says:

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  113. Fatherhood Says:

    Should Time Management be Taught at School ??

    I am a great supporter of Getting Things Done, the time management system developed by David Allen. I use it pretty much all the time to keep up to date with the stuff which must be done in my daily life.
    I was surprised to hear that the education sys…

  114. Tjomsland Says:


    I think you could expand the 5 with 2 more: “How to find your passion” :) and Success through PMA, positive mental attitude, including building self-esteem. Included in the latter, could be the manadatory reading of several of Og Mandino’s books, Og Mandino’s Great Trilogy: The Greatest Salesman in the World/the Greatest Secret in the World/the Greatest Miracle in the World, for a start, and lots of Napolean Hill and W. Clement Stone. About half of their writings could go in the Sales course and the other half in Success/PMA. And, don’t forget Brian Tracey.

    My son was introduced to all of the above classes by the time he was 16 to 18. He had read the Law of Success, all 1076 pages, 3 times by the time he was 18. He now owns his own company at age 46 and is a multi-millionaire earnings $4 to $5 million a year using these lessons and principles.

  115. Brian Kim Says:


    - Find Your Passion
    - Success Through PMA

    Excellent additions if I do say so myself ;)

    With regard to the former, this article I wrote
    http://briankim.net/blog/2006/07/how-to-find-what-you-love-to-do/ may be able to help with that.

    With regard to the latter and all those other books you mentioned along with it, I wholeheartedly agree. They are great books that teach a lot about how to maximize human potential.

    I’m glad your son was able to read such great books at a young age.

    It looks like it has really paid off ;)

  116. John Says:

    Actually, Health and Sales are taught at my school. In fact, one semester of Health is a requirement.

  117. Brian Kim Says:


    It’s good to know that health and sales are taught at your school. May I ask what level of education you are currently attending? (i.e - high school,college,etc.) just out of curiosity?

    Times have sure changed since I went to school ;)

  118. Sebastian Says:

    Great article. I’m only worried that if it was thaught in schools, students would resist it as sth they HAVE TO learn. I had classes on entrepreneurship and it was highly useful knowledge but I have noticed that students treated it as all the rest of hated subject - learning it by heart, cheating on tests etc. Maybe just teaching them how to love to learn new stuff themselves would be an idea.

  119. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Sebastian,

    Thanks for the kind word. You raise interesting points. Maybe instead of teaching them how to love to learn new stuff, we can give them the ability to figure out what they love so they can do it naturally.

  120. Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School » TeachingTech.org » Blog Archive » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

    […] Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School […]

  121. Gustavo Says:

    I live in a developing country and none of these things are tought at schools.
    As a professional I had to achieve this sills along the years in the real world, after school, and believe me, it wasn´t easy.
    I believe that teaching these things would even change our society, making professionals more awareness of their position on it. And perhaps becoming our country into a developed one.

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  124. Technical Related Notes » Blog Archive » links for 2007-03-15 Says:

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  125. 5 Things that should be taught in schools - Part 1 « Father sez…… Says:

    […] http://briankim.net/blog/2007/03/top-5-things-that-should-be-taught-in-every-school/ […]

  126. Genida Says:

    I got through almost half of the comments, so I may have missed this already. Personally I think that it you’re discussing school in any way, John Taylor Gatto’s Seven Lessons;
    - should be included in the discussion. Considering how many people simply call school a factory for mediocrity and slavemindedness, they may actually want to back it up. Gatto provides.

    Otherwise a perfectly viable list, it should be implemented. However, as Alfie Kohn and John Holt says, shouldn’t we start by teaching the way children learn instead of making children think the way we want them to(that is to say, not at all)

    I’ll back up ‘critical thinking’, Waldorf and Montessori schools are doing quite well in making that happen, should listen more to the pedagogues who actually produce results.

    Be well, everyone :)

  127. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and I absolutely agree with what you when you state that teaching these skills in the classroom will help develop your country.


    Interesting link you posted there. Thank you very much for that.

  128. Genida Says:

    Gatto’s Seven Lessons aside, being that it’s his main and first argument among many, there are plenty of more links on the subject of school as a subjugating institution.

    Almost everyone agree that education is important and that it should change, but how many actually know from what? What shape was school as an idea built in? Where did the idea of mandatory schooling come from(India, maintaining a caste system), why was it implemented(obediance, military draft; Prussia) and how similar is that creation to the one we all abide by today?(remarkably so)

    If you find it interesting, Mr. Kim, I suggest you read Gatto’s book ‘Underground History of American Education’, and look into the authors John Holt, Alvin Toffler, Alfie Kohn and whatever amazon links to them :)

    I find that people who’ve survived the mindnumbing techniques of mandatory schooling tend to aquire a personal education(a real one), which surely includes social skills and confidence in communication, oftentimes combined with critical assessment, personal discipline in terms of health and productivity as well as a drive in life.

    Again, your list is poignant, but flawed in the fact that it implies schools actually work in the purpose we believe it does - it doesn’t. Knowledge can’t be taught without intrinsic interest. Why then, do we hold it to be tradition that it can be?
    Just a reply, really. I urge you, Mr. Kim, study this. Thank you.

  129. Digg Top OffBeat News of all times » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

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  130. Bietz Blog » links for 2007-03-18 Says:

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  131. do you LIVE or simply EXIST » Money is a tool Says:

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  132. A Product of the Public School System » MousePotatoPower Says:

    […] We’ll start off with the Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught in Every School. If I knew these skills by the time I graduated from high school, I would have been a better college student and I would have had a more organized career path. […]

  133. Acid Says:

    I completely agree with all that. However I think that there are additional things that need mandatory teaching for our youngsters.

    1. Simple household plumbing - Sink stopper broke? pipes clogged? Call the plumber! And pay an arm and a leg. Seriously, there are so many simple household plumbing jobs that can be taught in a classroom setting, preparing people for little breakdowns in the house.

    2. Auto repair - Sure it was an elective at my school, but it should have been mandatory. I know people who don’t know to put oil into a car! Most people will own a car eventually. Why aren’t we being taught to care for them?

    Just my 2 cents there. :)

  134. riki Says:

    one thing i would add to these 5+1 is conflict management…

  135. kyle krogman Says:

    I think that those r great things we need to remember but u should add stay out of trouble and teacher managment cause some teachers r tough. thank u for ur time.

  136. XO的日志 » Blog Archive » 每个学校都应该教的五门课 Says:

    […] 五件每一个学校都应该教的东西”-来自BrianKim.net,viaLifebang.com(生活帮) […]

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  141. John Lai Says:

    I wish school would do more to expose students to the work industry. So many people come out of school not knowing what they want to do, or have unrealistic expectations for their career. My friends, like me, came out of engineering and had a tough time finding jobs because we just didn’t understand what employers wanted. We thought we were rock stars because we could formulate time independent schroedinger solutions. But guess what? Engineering companies don’t care if you can solve antiquated math equations. knowing faraday’s law is trivial because engineering has had over 100 years to evolve since its discovery.

    I wish someone would promote awareness of the workforce among students. Then graduates wouldn’t have to regret wasting 3-5 years of their prime life and several thousands of dollars on a program that leaves them employed as a cashier or secretary.

    If anyone is interested, they can read the rest of my rant

    But I’m sure what I’ve said here isn’t just for engineering students…i’m sure it applies to many programs in post secondary institutions

  142. Brian Kim Says:

    Acid and riki,

    Great points indeed! I wholeheartedly agree.


    I’m sorry to hear about your situation and I’m sure you’re not alone in that sense as you’ve said.
    There does seem to be an ever increasing dichotomy between post secondary institutions and the work industry after graduating. I feel this is an issue that will grow and grow until universities are forced to change their curriculum due to pressure from the masses. It should be interesting to see how it turns out.

  143. Tranceform Yourself » Blog Archive » Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School Says:

    […] Here is the link to the original post by Brian Kim. […]

  144. Should real world subjects be taught in school? « Save Money, Make Money Says:

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  145. Sam Says:

    Hello Brian,

    This website is great! The part about taking responsibility for yourself before and after graduation was a great helper. I failed to network and relied only on job postings and it cost me. Fortunately I’m on the right track again and will incorporate cold calling and talking to classmates if they know anyone who’s hiring. I’m actually glad that my accounting career didn’t take off yet because I was unaware of office politics. If I were to make the same mistakes at my career that I have made at the odd jobs I’ve been working then my career would have been ruined. Getting fired because of a mistake is nothing as we are all human but getting fired because of backtalk is ruinous.

    #2 rings all too well for me. Sometimes I just ramble and hope against hope that the listener deciphered it. Speaking in meetings is also a problem for me too. Toastmasters helps with speeches, but do you have any advice on how to communicate effectively and not necessarily just in a speech format but in general?

    P.S introvert here so keep that in mind as well, Thanks.


  146. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your comments and for your kind word. I really appreciate it.

    It’s great to see you’re on the right track!

    With regard to your question, books can be written on the subject but here are some key points:

    1. Less is more.
    2. Keep it simple - what’s your point?
    3. Then, what’s your reason.
    4. Then, what’s an example to tie it all up.

    It’s the order in which the human mind processes information and the more you can stick to that simple order, the easier it will be to get your message across.

    I hope that helps!

  147. AndrewBoldman Says:

    Hi, good post. I have been woondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  148. MichaellaS Says:

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  149. Brian Kim Says:

    You’re very welcome Andrew and Michaella!

  150. michael leu Says:

    hey thanks Brian! as a high school senior i feel truly grateful that you wrote this article. much respect!

  151. Brian Kim Says:

    You’re very welcome Michael!

    I’m glad you had a chance to read this at such a young age.

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