Take our user survey and make your voice heard.


have your say

Did anything you learned at school prove useful for you in the adult world?


©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment


-2 ( +5 / -7 )

My own personal experiences and professional experiences especially were far more valuable than anything any educational institution ever taught me. Learnng two foreign languages on my own both English and Japanese with out attending classes and making mistakes which I still do both was and is extremely valuable to this day.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My school excelled in teaching us values more than academics. Now in my adult age, here's what I can remember: write everything down because remembering it is hard, home economics (cooking, sewing, basic home craft, electricals, etc.), maintaining hygiene (our school was very strict on this, you'd get scolded if you had long nails and a wrinkly uniform), speaking in English (we were forced to speak in English since grade school and were only allowed to speak our native language when school's over), taking drills seriously (earthquake and fire), and finally, reading and writing. There's a lot more, but here's what I can come up with.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Outside the simple obvious stuff like reading ( well that is questionable seeing I am severely dyslexic and it took until after I graduated for any teach to notice) math, biology, chemistry, physics and a few other basics, NO!

Unless you count, that life sucks, teachers are given a free pass to bully, people unable to really deal or work in the real world get jobs as philosophy teachers ( a bit of a joke that is), that to somehow make the education that could have taken a years and cost 1/4 the price ended up taking 4 times longer because you had to waste time in sociology, philosophy, humanities, art, etc... even though you were talking engineering, accounting, law, biology, nuclear science, etc...

Yes I learned a lot, that there are incredible ways to waste money waste children's and young adults time and money in what is one of the biggest legal scam in the world post secondary education

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Some people believe school should be a vocational training center to prepare you for your job of choice.

Not my idea of schooling.

Outside of the specialist tech schools, which are in the minority, a key focus for schools should be about developing skills and interests in as broad a range of fields as possible.

Obviously literacy and numeracy are the basic blocks of learning, but critical thinking, curiosity, creativity, imagination, caring, challenge etc are indispensable in developing character.

And the notion that one is a part of a whole (community) is important.

Personally my high school days were primarily a fun time with friends and the academic side was secondary. But it did instill in me a love for literature, biology, geography and history that has never left me. Due in part to great teachers.

Did I get a job as a biologist or geographer or historian? No. But that was never the intent of the schooling.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Of course the basics like reading, writing, calculating, physical, biological, chemical knowledge etc, but most importantly, staying curious all time and willing to learn new things through whole life. In addition some ethical issues, valuing own and other lives, peace, nature, but of course not at costs of own human well-being and survival. Also a few foreign languages to avoid problems when traveling or communicating, but not trying to be absolutely perfect, because it is sufficient in most cases if B fully understands what A wanted to say. Well, something like this little catalogue is what I took out of school and proved (more or less) useful later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In business, my limited school French and German has always been useful. English lit, definitely, as I've written several novels and plays. Occasionally bits of the sciences are useful but I learned gardening outside school (all schools should have garden clubs). History offered a context and perspective to our shallow society - live-in-the-moment, forget yesterday (especially the promises of politicians). Computing - nothing, as we had better kit than the school and were writing more advanced software than they were teaching. Home economics - yes, as an adjunct to learning at home. I've cooked for myself since university. Crafts? No, I'm a bodger and learned more practical skills from the BBC TV programme 'Blue Peter'. Maths. Not really. Business doesn't require anything beyond the basics. Sex education - one official lesson, of zero use by an embarrassed teacher. It's not as if they were going to teach us anything actually useful: techniques, 'G-spots' and the like. The government and media did its best to terrify my generation from sex with unhelpfully vague AIDS 'information films'. School also taught me to hate the petty, unjust misuse of power by inadequate people with personal issues. Witnessing some nasty acts of bullying and some responses to it, usefully informed me that bullies are trash, the best solution being to beat them to a pulp on the spot - something they don't expect. The look on their face is worth any punishment you might get. PE: That I was quite good at squash, although I only originally did it as it was the only mixed gender group.

Socially, we were mixed gender, poor to middle class. It's good that kids mix when young.

I did miss quite a lot of school due to severe allergy issues, before there was any effective medication for it. I was lucky to be good at a number of subjects and to have a supportive family. At primary school, my mother was on the PTA so I spent a lot of time in school helping out with events and knew several of the teachers quite well. School can be scary and stressful for kids, and stuff like that helps. We forget that kids don't often know the best way to respond to stressful situations, and that can lead to them being labelled troublesome or backward.

It's amazing how beneficial one or two really good teachers can be to kids. Especially if their home life is difficult. It is so important that people only go into teaching as a vocation. It can be quite damaging to kids to have a lousy, uncaring teacher. I was particularly lucky with English teachers.

A British comprehensive education in the 80s was pretty good. We had no social media or internet, we read more books and played more football, we taught ourselves computing from magazines, our real sex ed. came from magazines we found in the woods, we had a freedom that parents seem to fear to give to their kids today, our language wasn't censored by activists and most of us did plenty of things growing up that you get locked up or ostracised for today. I feel a bit sorry for kids growing up nowadays in an unforgiving, intolerant, quick to cancel, puritanical society with lockdowns, wars, climate change, declining career options and ever decreasing hope for the future. My generation may have been quite lucky.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Education has extremely high correlation to income. Yes, there are people who succeed without doing well in school, some even in academia or science themselves, but they are the minority. A high correlation between education and earnings shows up in every study into it.

When rich people stop sending their kids to expensive schools and start doing something else, that's when you should start questioning the value of education. As it is, it is a clear way to get ahead.

Could schools do better? Yes of course they could. But so could the health system and all other forms of government spending.

As for me personally, the social sciences I studied at university were interesting, but have proved next to useless. In terms of vocation, going to uni simply qualified me for the humanities visa I needed to work in Japan. Most of my career has been tech-related work, and in this, the grounding I got in school from maths and physics A level (what would be a Kosen or other academic science high in Japan) has been invaluable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Woodwork, which was my father's trade. Surveying. Engineering Drawing, which helped my freehand sketching. Physics, Chemistry, and Maths were a major part of my first job. Several out-of-school activities like the theater group. I was the light operator. Sailing and canoeing were a favorite. The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme enabled mountain climbing, first-aid, fire fighting, mountain rescue, and sailing. I learned chess at school when I was 5 and played it until recently.

I went to a working-class secondary school but the teachers made an effort. School should be about developing the potential of the children and a journey of discovery about themselves and life. Not just one program fits all.

We chose the subjects we wanted to study.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The three R's. How to get on with people across a spectrum of social and economic backgrounds. Some minor other linguistic skills. How to bend (and sometimes break) silly rules without getting caught.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, routine, desipline, respect for others, maths etc.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I do wish schools would teach financial literacy, critical thinking and conscious consumption.

Think what a happier planet we'd have. The banks mightn't like it, though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Reading, writing, math and sex.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Time management and the benefits of a routine. Also all of those research, writing, proofreading and editing skills needed for essays and dissertations have come in handy for my line of work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Plenty - all the basics, plus French and a bit of Latin helped to understand the roots of myriad English words, exploding my vocabulary and comprehension skills.

I was also fortunate enough to do a year of school in the mountains. On top of normal schoolwork, this included boarding with a couple of hundred other kids, hiking in tough terrain, bush survival, chopping wood for our limited hot water, regular cross-country runs of increasing length, orienteering, community service, campus cleaning and maintenance, terrible food, environmental conservation, and so much more.

This experience taught me resilience in the face of hardship, various aspects of human behaviour and interpersonal relationships, and a love of the outdoors that I have continued to use in the many years since.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Semi-off topic, but an educator by the name of John Taylor Gatto had a lot of interesting things to say about school, the good and the bad. He was New York teacher of the year twice, and was invited to speak to teachers all around the world about his insights.

He died a couple of years ago, but modern schools could do much worse than apply his wisdom to their curricula.

Look him up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes. I was a child of ten years when I learned the most important thing in school : How to defend myself when bullied by someone who has authority over me. In the classroom of a school in Malaya known today as Malaysia, my desk was in the front row near my teacher's. I do not remember what he accused me of when he told me to come up to his desk. When I came up he said, "Hold out your hand!" When I heldout my hand, he said, "The other side!" So I turned my palm down. Down came his rattan cane on my fingers. "Now go! Stand at the back of the class!" In tears, I quickly went to the back of the class. Standing there I looked at my hand, I saw the middle finger blue/ black and swollen. I ran back to my desk. "Did I not tell you to stand at the back of the class?" I took my books and with my hand behind my back, picked my ink well and splashed its contents on Mr Suppiah's face, white shirt and trousers. The class stood up in uproar as I ran out and ran home crying. I was expelled from St Anthony's School. My father enrolled me at another school. Near the end of the first year's class, my teacher Mr Vendegasalam called me out the classroom and, looking at me in the eye, said, "Stephen, did I not tell you twice to tie up your shoelaces?" I quickly bent down to tie them and when I stood up, Mr Vendergasalam offered his handkerchief to dry my tears and, when he said, "Stephen, when you first joined my class, headmaster Lee Choon Eng warned me about you. But I found you to be one of the nicest boys in my class." When Mr Vendergasalam put his arm around me, his handerchief was quite wet with my tears. This happened in December, 1941. Today at 92 years, I still remember that day as it happened in 1941.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My knowledge of the law of probability,could make me extremely wealthy in the next few month

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Not really. There were many things, both quite new and complicated I had to learn after leaving school. Teachers tend to know little about real things in society outside school. For example, they know little and experience little too, as to how to develop a career or how to survive in a professional life (except school environment).

In Japan, the profiles of teacher staff are less diverse as many young assume positions right after their graduation and license acquisition. Many blanks or unknown periods in career history for job hunting resumes are still considered inappropriate. I'd suggest a "revolving door career development model" with teachers or prospective ones working awhile outside the school yard into society. Some may feel culture shocks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

our real sex ed. came from magazines we found in the woods

Haha! Yep, spent many an hour carefully drying out sodden pages so as not to tear the tissue-paper like consistency of the jazz mag!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Learned enough geo-politics and history so as to be able discern the nonsense spouted out by some posters here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I learned that most history textbooks were full of myths and falsehoods.

I learned how to spell the word lose.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I studied chemistry for five years. I remember two things:

1: The first ten elements of the periodic table, which I can rattle off even now, forty years after Brother Nicholas told us on Monday that any boy who had not memorised them by Wednesday would be given a beating;

2: You don't muck about with Brother Nicholas.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was bullied more by one particular teacher than more than another kid ever bullied me. Nobody listened to me. Not blaming my parents as they had a tough job bringing up my vast family.

Parents...listen to your kids. The school isn't always right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yup! Arithmatic - It's handy for doing my taxes. Buyer Behavior is helpful about consumers' reactions to the results of price increases and size shortening of snack products that are still priced the same or increased. Home Economics for making my kid's favorite chocolate chip cookies after school.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Life isnt fair and rich kids suck.

Sorted this out on the rugby field though

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Reading, writing, and math.

Recess taught us to form alliances with likeminded kids against the morons.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Latin - for English and other languages

Times tables to 13 and mental arithmetic

That after school you are suddenly without input, just what you get on your own.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, everything.

Except Algebra.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Socialization away from the family. There is a different dynamic.

How to show up daily for something, even when it wasn't fun. Bus, classes, after school sports.

How to plan ahead. If I didn't make a lunch to take, I didn't eat. I still remember the day I "forgot". Being responsible for yourself.

How to think. How newspaper articles are written. Headlines, major points, more details to support the major points.

What a Nazi is. Actually got in trouble in 3rd grade over that.

How to analyze complex problems and work, step-by-step towards a solution.

How to read music and play multiple instruments.

Foreign languages, math, geography, electronics, auto repair, and a bit of history.

How to actually read a {math} book AND learn the material, not just listen in class and learn only what the teacher goes over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites