Course Requirements

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Education

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*The answer to the above question is simple: We are specialists in our areas. If you were a hockey goalie, would you want a forward helping you with your technique? No. You’d opt for a specific goalie coach. Teachers were once students too…we all had to go through it. Deal.*

Upon my ventures through countless teacher blogs, I came across some student-run blogs. I had spent much of my time recently going over teaching strategies and stories that I neglected to hear what students these days had to say.

This student blogger (Jilly Dos Santos) of a particular post commented on how high school course requirements limit students. She claimed that high school students should be given the opportunity to choose what courses they’d like to take and shouldn’t be told. She claims: “It doesn’t make sense to sit a future scientist in four history courses, limiting them from taking courses that would expand their scientific knowledge…” Point well-taken. However, here is my rebuttal: First and foremost, very few high school students know what they want to be when they grow up. Taking a variety of courses can help gear students down a path of interest OR (perhaps more importantly) it may help students realize what they definitely don’t want to pursue. Secondly, not taking certain courses is what can truly limit students. For instance, in Ontario, high school students must take English literature for all four years of high school. Specifically, the grade 12-U course is essential in gaining access to University. If dropping English literature was an option, this would close off the door to University. Thirdly, grade 9 and 10 students are still too young to be able to make the mature decision as to which courses to take – guiding them in this way is crucial to developing a well-rounded student. Moreover, if you’re thinking age/maturity shouldn’t be a factor, think of it this way: Notice how there ARE more course options the older students are? There is a reason for that. Fourth, no one is stopping these “future scientists” from taking the time to learn about the sciences on their own. If a high school student is sure they want to be a scientist, but are not yet allowed to take physics, they can start reading up on it on their own time. Knowledge does not just have to take place in the classroom. Lastly, it’s good to simply have a basic understanding of most subjects. Personally, I knew I was going to be an English literature teacher since I was 9, so of course taking math courses in high school was painful. Now, I rarely use math. However, the basic understanding that I do have is important. This same reasoning applies to my very basic understanding of history, geography, and science.

 

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Comments
  1. pathaggart says:

    I would say that high school school is meant to be a “general” education so that students enter the world well-rounded. If you want specific education, get an undergraduate degree. If you want really specific, get a graduate degree.

  2. dmitrilee says:

    Thanks for the comment, Pat. I would agree. There are reasons why we have post-secondary education. The bottom line is that high school students are simply too young for such a narrowed stream of education. Again, thanks for the comment.

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