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Education for self-sufficiency

April 1, 2014 by Tunya

Education For Self-Sufficiency

Every year, in our neighborhood, I see the same pattern repeat itself — the pair of crows raise a chick or two that eventually seem to disappear into self-sufficiency (I hope) — the mother skunk has her babes that also seem to disappear into self-sufficiency (I hope). The fact is, I see these same parents start afresh every new year. The parents have brought up their young to such a point for them to be free on their own.

Janet Lane, in this well-argued article, also hopes that our children will eventually “move out of the basement” — to self-sufficiency (we hope). The point of her article is that education should be realistic enough to help place students eventually into

gainful employment, thus, why not have business provide input into school curriculum? Many jobs will come from the private sector.

So should students also learn about entrepreneurial, charity, environmental, public service and hosts of other occupations as well as continuing in post secondary education for professions?

How this is to be done may, however, need more ideas than just the school visits by representatives of job fields and counsellors. I have an idea, which would also add the needed dimension of “critical thinking” that Janet Lane also mentions as a

requirement for future jobs.

Also critics would be part of the action and provide their input.

I propose the development of texts and curriculum to provide Opposing Viewpoints. This is a double-barrelled approach whereby students not only learn opposing viewpoints on a topic but also learn to identify propaganda techniques.

I have in front of me — Zoos, an Opposing Juniors Viewpoints book. Students learn the techniques of slanted words and phrases, scare tactics and the difference between sound reasoning vs propaganda. Viewpoints are presented — I like zoos, I hate zoos — Zoos provide wholesome entertainment, Zoos exploit animals for entertainment, etc.

It would be great to use this approach to learn about the pros and cons of the oil industry, for example, or any other employment related topic. But instead of one author as in the Zoos book, spokespersons for different viewpoints would present, with an overall editor examining the presentation/propaganda strategies used.

I like this approach to critical thinking using real examples. Is this a good idea?


[published in National Post, 31 March, 2014 re opinion piece by Janet Lane, A Place for Business in the Classroom

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