Do subjects offered at school prepare you for life?Do subjects offered at school prepare you for life?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To answer your question directly and bluntly, I'm actually going to say no, the subjectsat school do not prepare a person for real life. Ask any non-teacher adult what he or she remembers from high school history and you will find that it isn't much. The same is true for any subject taught in school that does not directly relate to an adult's career path.

Real life is mostly about being able to problem-solve, make decisions, and learn from mistakes. Yes, schoolitself prepares people for all of these things, but the information learned directly in the subjects taught, in my opinion, are merely tools and avenues for learning how to learn. And, to be even more honest, today's educational system in America, with it's focus on standarized test scores and getting "through" a curriculum, relies much more heavily on memorization of facts than application. 

Most high school graduates I know have a very hard time with problem solving and critical thinking. Our education system simply doesn't enforce it nor require it.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

School offers a set of opportunities to develop skills, habits, perspectives, and attitudes that will be directly applicable to almost any walk of life. Certain subjects may challenge your modes of organization because they feature an emphasis on detail (like biology) and others may challenge your assumptions about how the physical world works (chemistry/physics) or how the social world works (psychology/civics). 

Every different teacher and every different subject you study will offer you a new way to think. This, on a basic level, is almost universally applicable to later life. 

Though the information you take away from a particular subject or course may not be applicable to your later life, the experience in the course will be applicable. 

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe they do, but there is a great deal of variability in this, depending on the student and the teacher.  It requires hard work on the part of both to make an educational experience meaningful for life. But if you are learning how to grapple with new knowledge, learning how to make connections between concepts, and acquainting yourself with the world around you, its differences and similarities, you are learning in a way that prepares you for life, since grappling with new knowledge, making connections, and learning how to get along with people and situations that may or may not be comfortable or familiar are exactly what you need to do to succeed in life.  This is as true for English class as it is for biology or social studies. 

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the previous posts that school, no matter the subject taught, does prepare you for life.  Post 2 makes it clear that the process of learning and dealing with people or struggles is what students need to do.  Life is a roller coaster of happenings which requires people to be able to deal with unexpected roadblocks, learning new skills, dealing with people who perhaps are difficult, and being flexible at meeting each challenge.  School requires many of these same skills; therefore, I think that school does prepare you for life as being able to approach and think through in new ways the newest set of obstacles life hands you.  

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I had a fantastic English teacher in 12th grade, and she inspired me to become one as well. Her class (and several other good English classes before that) prepared me for college and, later, classroom teaching. I also played in my high school band, and that experience prepared me for further playing in bands afterward. Although most of my other classes did not prepare me greatly for the outside world, I can think of two others that helped me immeasurably: driver's education and typing.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The subjects offered at school do not necessarily prepare you for life, but they should be preparing you to think. If you are able to think, you will be better equipped to cope with all the many problems of life. I have noticed, however, that many students seem to hate to have to think. They want to memorize facts and regurgitate them. They are hurting themselves and defeating the main purpose of higher education.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

They do prepare you for life in some ways, but not in the sort of obvious ways that vocational school might.  In vocational school, a person is trained for a particular line of work.  Regular school does not do this.  It does more in the way of training a person to think and giving them the basics of a variety of subjects.  It does not train them for specific jobs.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course it depends on the subject how it prepares you, but I think the process of school prepares you for life as well.  No matter the subject, you get used to learning new things.  You find ways to cope with your struggles to understand.  You learn study habits.  All of these will be useful to you no matter what your profession turns out to be.

wescarlyon337 | Student

It depends on the subject

sesh | Student

Yes, they do. I've learnt a lot with those subjects, especialy, literature. It's a subject for life and a study of the world we live. Other subjects too provide such kind of a help for the development of one's character, in different ways.

tprice1 | Student

What schools cover varies, but their overall goal is to educate their students and prepare them for their future. If you're planning on attending college and getting a professional job, then what you're learning right now is very important. Science majors use lots of math, and writing letters or emails is required in most jobs. While you may not always notice that you're using things you were taught in high school, ultimately it prepares you for later life. Even if you aren't using math for your job, you still have to do tax forms. You use language skills when filling out a resume. All these little things add up over time.

Some people argue that learning occurs not only at school, but at home and within the community. A good example of this argument would be “Serving the Purpose of Education” by Leona Okakok. She argues that education is not only within the schooling systems, but also the community and family. She offers a unique perspective, as an Inuit who experienced a schooling system that was unyeilding and sometimes incorrect in their 'facts' as they were regionally inapliccable. A link to her article is provided below.

Overall, I think that school subjects do prepare you for life. The education you recieve from your community and your family are also important, but schools teach skills which few members in your community or family might comprehend or have.