The Base of the Learning PyramidPosted: November 18, 2020
By Vincenzo Capone, Managing Director of Overcoming Obstacles
As coronavirus cases continue to spike and we inch closer to a holiday season we may not be able to spend with our loved ones, I worry about how students are experiencing this pandemic and whether they were taught the skills they need to process and manage these difficult times. We know they are learning how to solve complex math problems and how to read and to write as a regular part of their school day, but what about coping strategies and stress management? What about the ability to persevere and pursue meaningful goals despite the hardships this year has thrown at us? It is more important than ever for our youth to learn these skills, making the need for required daily life skills instruction a must.
In ancient Greece, a wise person said, “What we do to our children, they will do to society.” When we look at unemployment rates, substance abuse rates, and how young people are struggling to make it in this world, what do we expect their and our future to look like? Obviously, the pandemic is amplifying a lot of these issues right now, but they have existed before and they will continue to exist unless we do something. We need to make sure that, every day, our students are learning essential skills like communication, decision making, goal setting, conflict resolution, empathy, respect, and resilience in order to survive and thrive now and after the pandemic.
The lessons in the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum provide a complete guide on how to develop all of these skills. Elementary, middle and high school students learn about themselves, what they value, what their hopes and dreams are, and how they can determine where they want to go. Nobody chose for a pandemic to completely change the world as we know it, but we can help our students choose how to handle it.
A strong understanding of mathematics or history has important contextual usefulness, but life skills are always useful. We wouldn’t be lax on teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, so why not prioritize life skills just as much? It’s time to ensure that the base of the learning pyramid – life skills – be required instruction in elementary, middle, and high school. Only then can we be certain that our students are prepared for the trials and tribulations of the weeks, months, and years to come.
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