My younger sister is currently studying for her GCSEs, the other day she asked for some help with her science homework. Of course, willing to help and thinking I’d know the answer, I walked over to assist her. On reading the question, I recognised the term homeostasis. However, seemingly, I could not explain the answer at all.
The same thing has happened multiple times since with other subjects and questions.
In these moments I have come to realise, that even with the subjects I enjoyed and had done well in, the information seems to have been erased from my memory. Just three years after taking my GCSEs, the things I learnt that are not still in use have been forgotten.
Nonetheless, skills such as basic numeracy, presenting, teamwork and essay writing are still there, and are getting better over time. These are the soft, transferable skills that I use all the time at work.
These are the skills you often don’t even realise you are learning, but should there be a bigger effort to teach these skills and make sure students are well equipped for life after exams?
Of course, learning all these subjects that are now forgotten was essential, not only to help gain these transferable skills, but also to give you options in life. Looking back though, I realise that my school, and probably most others, could place more emphasis on transferable skills, even within their structured lesson plans. Those infrequent class presentations (which I hated at the time) have been much more crucial to my life in the working world than other knowledge I gained at school. Could schools incorporate more presentations, team exercises and research tasks into lessons?
School 21 in East London is a fantastic example of how lessons can be made more interactive and equip students with these invaluable skills. School 21 is an oracy school which focuses on how students talk and present to people. They set collaborative projects where teachers work together to link subjects to make lessons more engaging, but also to give every subject a meaning and purpose. This means that students enjoy their lessons much more as they understand why they need the skills and knowledge in real world situations. Students also go on a 17 week placement where they can put their skills into practice in a working environment and gain additional skills and knowledge.