If you’ve read my about page, you noticed I am studying Communications. People tend to assume varying reasons as to why people choose to major in this field from not doing too great at math (which I wasn’t) to just being a people person (which I am, except Mondays). However, believe it or not, there are a lot more reasons why people choose to devote their academic and professional careers to this pursuit. Personally, I find it an imperative skill to effectively make change in society. Communication has oddly been my greatest strength yet my biggest struggle in my life. Growing up, I saw the importance of it in how people overcame obstacles and why some succeeded and others didn’t. In fact, on a night babysitting my younger sisters , I was so compelled to send an email to my local school board about the importance of teaching soft skills in schools (because isn’t that what every teenager does when they are babysitting).
Here’s a revised version of what I wrote:
I have been a pre-k to a college student who has also been a part of the public school, charter school, and even a magnet school program. I’ve witnessed all types of students with different social problems facing school systems. Our current school curriculum is very adamant in teaching hard skills such as reading, science, and math. But what about other equally important but often overlooked communications skills? These lifelong soft skills include conflict resolution, cooperation, and stress management and are imperative for the workplace and for life. My proposal is to make a communications curriculum accessible to K-12 grade levels to compensate for this lack.
The current educational system emphasizes hard skills, meanwhile, many teachers and administrators assume that each student comes equipped with soft skills even though each student comes from a varying home life. These assumptions perpetuated by the current school system need to be talked about because, as a society, we can do better. In the context of our tumultuous political, economic, and social climate of our country, the investment in teaching these underrated skills is very much needed for the future of America— the youth.
President Obama has mentioned that “education is the great equalizer.” For this statement to be fully true it must take into account a well-rounded education. An education that not only includes teaching trigonometry and grammar but also includes teaching cooperation and empathy. From my experiences in volunteering with 3-5 year-olds, I observed how it was difficult for some students to control their behavior in the classroom. As time went on, I learned that some of the kids who displayed these difficult behaviors were dealing with onerous lives, from lack of parental support to living in foster homes. We need to level the playing field for these students, many of whom may have come from difficult homes and therefore may not know proper conflict resolution skills when working with others in teams. Overall, these kids are put in disadvantaged places in their current institutions, future careers, and future life dilemmas. For this reason, the public school system has to be held responsible in giving these students a second chance at excellence. After all, isn’t that what the American dream is all about?
My proposal of a standardized communications curriculum is not a very simple or easy one to implement. However, it is a necessary one. One way to go about this is that in many public universities there is a required course that is aimed to teach skills for success in college with an effort to decrease the dropout rate. We should absolutely do something similar in the K-12 curriculum. This may take a lot of upfront costs. Yet the investment in empowering students through the use of communication is one that will greatly benefit the institutions with a more cooperative learning environment, give more opportunities back to the students, and redirect the future of this nation to one that is brighter and more hopeful.