‘What’s your best subject?’

That’s what we always ask children. But it’s the wrong question. One of the most important things that school-leavers need to have is a clear sense of where their particular strengths lie so that they can be as competitive as possible in the employment market and thereby make the maximum contribution to the economy, and/or to society. Now although I’m sure that some children leave with a sense of where they are going, I suspect most only have a vague idea – ‘I was always good at History’, ‘I got an A* in Science’ on their own are of limited value. What they really need to be aware of are things like ‘I have excellent communication skills’, ‘I’m good at team-work’, ‘My strength is in finding things out’, ‘I’m a patient and persistent sort of person’, etc.

In our university-entry, subject-led curriculum  our schools are being diverted from what’s really important.

2 comments on “‘What’s your best subject?’

  1. So, how do you bring this into the bigger picture in a practical sense?
    Would there be some kind of (mention of dreaded word) “psychometric test” to identify people’s strengths and weaknesses in so called “soft-skills”?
    In a Neuro Linguistic Programming sense, I wonder if terminology is not in fact the responsible culprit for much of the perception about “filler” courses in education, for example it might be harder for the press to ridicule so much if it was called something more commanding. Also the word “vocational” seems to mean little in today’s world, maybe ‘practical’ or ‘functional’ would be a better way of re- branding this style of education.

    • Maybe it could involve some sort of psychometric test, combined with other forms of assessment such as evidence from project work contained in e-portfios – anything rather than writing essays!

      I agree the terminology is a major part of the problem – and a re-branding exercise would be helpful. For example, we could rename schools as ‘Educational Experience Centers”!

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