I had a wonderful opportunity this afternoon to participate in another “education salon” with my friends Sarah, Spencer, Ashish, and Will (in Absentia). Every couple of weeks we get together to discuss our shared passion of improving education. We have been focusing on sharing compelling research, noteworthy schools, and our own notions of what school should be about.

This week we discussed the question of “What everyone should know by the time they graduate high school”. I took a stab at detailing a list of skills which I think everyone should have by the time they graduate. The list deliberately excludes all the interesting content like History, Art, Science, Math and Literature and just focuses on the underlying capabilities I think everyone should have.

Skill-building Skills
Students will be adept at manipulating themselves

  • Identify successful habits which increase your productivity
  • Learn effective strategies to memorize information
  • Become competent at following your own rules
  • Refine your intuition through analysis of personal failure
  • Develop consistent motivation by setting achievable goals

Expository Skills.

  • Read and write confidently in essay and story form
  • Film and record audio to make compelling arguments
  • Use Acting/Drama to understand human motivation
  • Use drawing and programming to “speak in pictures”

Logical Skills

  • Know when you have made a strong argument
  • Detect and identify your assumptions
  • Use logic to reason about the unknown
  • Recognize logical fallacies easily
  • Wield words exactly when necessary

Social Skills

  • Learn how your ego affects your own actions towards others
  • Understand group dynamics and how it affects emotions and reason
  • Learn successful methods of collaboration
  • Learn to be persuasive one-on-one and in a group
  • Learn effective strategies to manage other people’s time effectively
  • Develop an appreciation and tolerance of other people’s ideas

Healthy Living Skills

  • Have sufficient knowledge of physiology, nutrition, and chemistry to make informed choices about diet and exercise
  • Understand how to cook a variety of foods and meals
  • Develop a practice of regular exercise

One immediate problem with this list is that it does not specify at all how to teach the skills. This was intentional insofar as I am still developing my ideas on that. What do you all think?