Want to prepare students for the real world?

We always say we need to prepare students for the real world, but do schools actually accomplish that? According to an infographic I found on Twitter, the answer is “kind of.” I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Part of schooling is about getting students ready for life after school. It's not always easy to prepare students for the real world though. Schools are starting to shift to policies that give teachers more opportunities to create lesson plans that reflect how a standard job environment would function, but only in some areas. An infographic posted by MindShift that was illustrated by Sylvia Duckworth with ideas from Alice Keeler illustrates some ways schools tend to fail when making their classes more like the standard job.

prepare students for the real world

In some ways, schools are starting to adopt some of the ideas on the infographic. Recent studies have suggested homework doesn't help younger students and movements such as flipped classrooms make it so students spend more time working on activities where they can reach a teacher rather than doing worksheets at home. More classrooms accept cell phones and some even incorporate them into lesson plans. There's also a new focus on collaborative work.

However, not everything reflects the real world quite yet. For example, students still have to use scholarly sources to site or get their information. For some situations, this makes sense. However, I seriously doubt any of the jobs those same students will have will involve having to make sure they're on Google Scholar first. Most classes still assign hours of homework that is easily solved by a quick Google search every week and scantron tests still put a heavy emphasis on memorization rather than critical thinking.

What ways do you think schools are benefiting students by becoming more like the real world? What ways are they failing? What can teachers and administrators do to better prepare students for the real world than they already are?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to editor@simplek12.com.