school idealism

If anything schools try to teach us, it is the art of being ideal; from the perfection of the attire, to the perfection of the grades, the behaviors, the writing,  and speaking skills. But there is something nobody teaches us at school.

Ten years later, a high school graduate figures that the most important skill that nobody ever mentioned was the art of reading between the lines.
In fact, it is widely accepted by now that schools must have a greater role in arming students with communication and life skills. Those, however,  remain only indirectly embedded in programs through activities that only implicitly impact one’s social and life skills. Till day, most academic curricula lack structured courses that teach leadership and communication skills, and most importantly political skills.

In their book Survival of the Savvy (High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success), Brandon and Seldman discuss the importance of admitting early in the process that politics do exist within groups and organizations, knowing how to detect and identify political pockets, and finally deal with them savvily in order to survive and go up the organizational ladder.

People vary in political styles, and there is a continuum along which styles are spread, from the borderline under political who favors the power of ideas, to the borderline over political who uses the power of people to get things done. People like scientists are usually on the first end of the continuum while people in business tend to take the opposite end.

Unfortunately, schools so far seem to have an idealistic approach to how to think about this topic, if mentioned at all. The idea that the world thrives merely on our technical success should be dropped. It is understandable that institutions try to raise kids on the best possible image of society, but if human nature and the world are made up differently,  it would be just more effective to pro-actively prepare teenagers to realism, and the art of dealing with it.



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