When Will I Ever Need This?

Originally published in Parentology – November 8, 2019

We’ve all been there at some point or another during our teenage years — sitting in a calculus class we’ve been assigned, wondering: “When will I ever need math?” Or biology, French, English Literature… fill in the blank. Yes, the age-old question persists — will we ever really need the information being relayed upon entering the post-high school world.

A recent survey sent out by Tallo, an app that helps students, educators, and employers connect to promote individualized career paths, talent networking; and K12 Inc., an online-schooling company that provides education courses for students pre-K through 12th grade; found it’s not only students asking that question, but parents, too.

According to the survey, only 5% of students and 13% of parents strongly agreed schools are teaching kids “useful skills that will help them in the real world.” When asked if schools are “doing enough to prepare students for a career after graduation,” the majority of students and parents said no — 60% and 53%, respectively.

The last major finding came when asking students if they felt confident they’d be able to find a well-enough paying job after graduation. The result? Only a quarter of students said yes, they’re very confident they’ll find a financially supportive job post-school.

Jennifer Perrow, founder of JRP Leadership Coaching and a former recruiter and hiring manager, tells Parentology the current way most high schools are approaching their students’ futures isn’t working. “We’re cramming more info down their throats — which means nothing to them — just to reduce the cost of college. Meanwhile, kids’ anxiety is through the roof, and we’re not preparing them to be well-rounded adults.”

Perrow continues, “We’re pushing our kids too hard to pass tests and rack up credits. This has resulted in kids learning how to take tests and memorize chunks of info for short periods of time.”

“Skills like how to actually learn, acquire and retain info, and problem-solving aren’t being taught,” Perrow says, noting that current classwork also simply isn’t engaging students. “Social skills and basic life skills, like money management and conversations, are also missing.”

Simple rote memorization isn’t cutting it anymore in the minds of students, or in potential employers.

According to LinkedIn’s annual Global Talent Trends 2019 report, employers aren’t looking for people to list all the facts they know. Instead, hiring teams are looking at soft skills like collaboration, communication, punctuality and leadership.

As the report says, soft skills can make or break a hire. Yes, you still need those technical skills, but you also need to know how to think, learn and work together.

To learn more about Tallo, visit https://tallo.com/

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