When I was a teacher, the most common question from students was, “What’s the point?” It was and remains hard to conceive in younger years how you might use your analysis of a Shakespeare play, for instance, later in life. Unless you plan to be a teacher or a book critic.
I am a teacher. But outside of that, here are some of the ways that I still use skills developed during my GCSE’s…
In English, analysing text often involves explaining the impact that literary techniques have. More importantly, it also leans on being able to read between the lines. That is, looking at alternate meanings and beyond the literal. Think about conversations you may have had where the speaker didn’t quite mean what they said, for example. Or perhaps of a thought-provoking newspaper article you read. Being able to analyse meanings in such context is a very useful skill-for-life indeed.
Basic arithmetic is certainly handy when you go to the shops and need to know how much change to expect. But how about analysing data? How can you determine and understand what a graph tells you, for instance?
Think about the UK’s current political climate, with Brexit taking central stage. How does one wade through the volumes of biased data to make an informed decision on who and what to believe? The answer lies in these very skills.
When I look back to my school days, I honestly can’t believe that I managed to juggle so many subjects. But like you, I did. It was one of my first experiences of multitasking. And what a great lifelong skill to have.
Not only was I juggling multiple subjects, I also had to do my homework. That, plus extra-curricular activities and, of course, organising my social life! This invaluable skill not only still helps me in my personal life, but in my professional one too.
If you are still in education, I have some bad news for you: Learning doesn’t stop when you leave.
As adults, we always have to learn new skills. It could be understanding how to use social media to promote your own business, or to achieve a professional qualification required for a promotion you are are chasing. Either way, learning is a lifelong endeavour. If you don’t already enjoy it, you will learn to!
Sumantha is an education and training specialist with over ten years' experience in developing and delivering adult and secondary level education. Her professional journey includes a six-year stint as a secondary school teacher. She is currently a freelance content writer and learning and development consultant. Sumantha also has a portfolio of private students who she teaches up to GCSE level.