Well-Rounded Education Philosophies: Are they costing us specific skillsets?

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Whether it’s a kid who’s involved in a lot of high school sports and extra-curricular activities, or a liberal arts college that requires a wide range of general education classes, our society’s educational philosophy is one that promotes and often requires a high level of diversity.

The idea is that through exposure to a variety of different topics and activities that a child and young adult will become a fuller, better-rounded person and as a result, more educated and informed on a variety of different topics.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much more than a difference in methodology, that some might agree with while others might find inefficient. One certainly wouldn’t suspect that it could do any sort of damage.

But perhaps the diversity of our educational curriculums is costing us something, by taking time away from focusing on becoming an expert at something, and developing our abilities in a particular area or niche. Even after all the schooling we have once we’ve got a bachelor’s degree in hand, we are now increasingly needing further education in the form of master’s degrees to hone in on a particular skill set.

Educational Inflation

This means that our education is getting inflated and devalued. It’s not that difficult to get a bachelor’s degree anymore (aside from the cost), since the subject matter has been so greatly generalized and unfocused.

We still have majors and minors and it’s certainly possible to get a good job straight out of college. Yet it would seem that if the goal is to develop a specific skill-set and find work in that area, than the high amount of general education requirements and diverse high school experiences don’t serve us well.

In fact, those things detract and distract from our eventual goal of finding a trade or marketable skill. The task our young people have in front of them is really much simpler than school and universities have made them out to be. Certainly we need to be well informed and educated, but beyond that we need to be focused and qualified to work in a specific area of our choosing.

If we’re in school and college for a total of 17 years and don’t get to our major classes until the last two, than that has to be considered a tremendously scattered and inefficient system.

Focused Development alongside General Education

Now to be clear, I’m not advocating the conversion of our class rooms to pure trade schools, nor would I expect that the abolishing of general education requirements would be the answer to this problem. Instead, our schools and colleges should take a more balanced approach to educating our young people by giving them both a broad and well-rounded educational experience alongside of a cultivation of their interests and a development of a specific skill set that they can market in a world of business and commerce.

Not only is it important that our kids be well taught and well read, but it’s equally, if not more so important that they have a concentrated area of expertise that they can grow in and develop and translate into a sustainable income throughout their adult lives.

Lindsay Holland is a professional blogger that provides parents and guardians with information and reviews for after school care programs and day cares. She writes for The Learning Experience, a leading center for after school care in Wake Forest and after school care in Charlotte NC.

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