There was a very salient piece in the Huff Post recently. The author addressed the topic of what she called “life skills”, then later “executive functions”. I’ve written significantly about these in this space. They are the “be all and end all” of education as far as I’m concerned. Without these you cannot live your life successfully. Full stop.
Why is this so evident to me? Because life requires you to take command of YOUR life, which requires self-control, efficacy, emotional regulation, communication skills, and the like. This tangent is what will make it or break it for most. You can have all the academic smarts possible, but if you haven’t developed the above then life will not be a fulfilling and joyful experience. I think we all know this. This is not controversial.
The fact that there is research supporting the long-term effects and benefits of early development of these skills (executive functions, self-regulation) surely will help to get some attention, but the fact that they are essential skills should not be questionable.
So where does this leave us? We need to get serious with retooling education, that’s where. There are small glimmers of change here and there, but we can fast-forward very effectively and implement a highly successful model now rather than stumble forward ever so slowly and maybe make a bunch of missteps along the way. We can do this if we look carefully at Montessori schools. The Montessori model has an integrated approach to developing these essential life skills along with all the academics you could imagine.