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1. To what extent should the educational system prepare people for the job force versus preparing them to think critically? Which is more important in your view, and why? Connect your points to a recent news article or event.
There is an old saying that, in short, if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. I will submit to you today that this idea may be just a bit antiquated. I believe that, while it is a good idea for the education system to offer some job force training options for students, there should also be much (MUCH) more of an emphasis placed on developing critical thinking skills.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May (released on June 5th), the unemployment rate was reported at 13.3%. While it is an improvement from the April numbers, it still reflects the need to stop teaching people to rely solely on a job to provide their income and instead teach more of them to be critical thinkers and industry disrupters. While no one could have predicted that there would be a global pandemic, most people have realized, in recent years, that it is getting harder and harder to get ahead in life (much less save for retirement) relying on what we have learned in school to get a job that pays a living wage.
A couple of generations ago, it was common for many high schools to have automotive technician, machining, plumbing, and other trade school classes. Young people who may not have had the desire or been financially able to go to college were still able to go out into the world a make a living but as the global economy has evolved, the expectation for today’s workers are much higher to be able to provide more value to organizations – not “just” perform a job.
I tend to fall in line with the conflict theorist when it comes to my thoughts on this topic. I do not want to teach my children to be a cog in the wheel and blindly work themselves into a corner. In order to earn financial freedom nowadays, one cannot rely one source of income from a job. It is necessary to have several sources of income and that requires using critical thinking skills to be able to recognize a need then fill the need with quality and efficiency – whether it is within an organization or creating a “side hustle” / side business. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but critical thinking skills can be used to make improvements within organizations, put an end to bureaucracy and red tape, and provide people with more security when it comes to employment opportunities.
Job skills are completely necessary but what happens when the job market dries up? People need to be able to analyze and reflect on what it is they do then apply what they know in new ways to be able to fill in the gaps to solve problems to support themselves and their families.
2. To what extent should the educational system prepare people for the job force versus preparing them to think critically? Which is more important in your view, and why? Connect your points to a recent news article or event.
This week I wanted to talk about job force preparation vs. critical thinking preparation as it is something that I feel strongly about. The educational system should prepare people for BOTH. By preparing people for the job force, people are learning how to master a specific skill that will ultimately set them up for success when they are seeking employment. Most individuals need to work in order to survive so it is crucial that they have a skill, passion, and the knowledge how to preform such.
Although preparing for the job force is a necessity, critical thinking is equally as important. The ability to absorb a situation, process it, and then react appropriately is a valuable skill that one needs in their everyday lives, including in their jobs. Not only doproblems arise in the work force setting, but they arise in relationships, finances, and in almost any personal way possibleand having tools to solve these problems are vital to anyone's success.
A great example of why education should prepare you for both is the recent pandemic that has affected the entire world, COVID-19. It didn't necessarily matter that you had a steady job or steady pay, as many businesses were forced to lay off their employees. With no job, personal problems quickly arose such as paying one's mortgage, feeding your children, and finding new work to sustain the bare minimum. With a lack of critical thinking tools, it would be extremely difficult to become creative in solving these issues and surviving an unfair tragedy
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