7 Real-Life Skills Students Want

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If it were up to students, there would be a fourth ‘R’ to the traditional reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic: real life.

On October 15 and 16, 2013, a group of students from eight New Brunswick school boards and the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) gathered at the NBCC campus to participate in two It’s My Future forums hosted by The Learning Partnership in both English and French.

Each four-hour session asked young people to weigh in on what is working in education, opportunities for enhancement and how education helps them think about a job/career after high school, in an effort to capture the Student Voice on education.

The New Brunswick student group generated several enhancement ideas and allocated “votes” to priority items. Top  responses included:

  1. Applicable, life-based courses
  2. Stress management and coping skills
  3. Real-life preparedness/life skills
  4. Money management
  5. Resilience and leadership training
  6. Confidence building
  7. Goal-setting

Throughout the sessions both English and French groups returned to the same top three themes:

  • Student-loans, financial support, cost of education
  • Co-op and a need for more opportunities to learn outside the classroom – especially experiential learning opportunities in the workplace
  • Individualized learning – recognition of learning styles

The It’s My Future intiative was launched in response to The Learning Partnership’s 2012 Summit on the Future of Education in Canada. One recommendation from the summit was to ask students across the country what they wanted from the educational system. As a result, 10 youth forums in seven provinces and in two official languages are being held across Canada that, together with an online survey (www.surveymonkey.com/ItsMyFuture) open to all Canadian students, will capture the Student Voice.

Our Policy and Knowledge Mobilization department will combine the results from the New Brunswick sessions with findings from the focus groups scheduled in the other six participating provinces in a report to be shared with government, education and other stakeholders.

Do you agree that schools should teach real-life skills? What skills do students need to prepare them for their transition to the world of work? What gaps do you feel exist in this area in today’s educational system? How can our schools provide appropriate and realistic career advice to their student bodies? We would love to hear your thoughts.


Akela Peoples

President and CEO
The Learning Partnership

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