I am a Maths graduate, a Maths teacher, and an all-rounder academic, yet in my twenties, when I began the process of buying a home, I had no idea where to start. I did not know how to get a mortgage, what shared ownership was, or when to get a solicitor involved. This is a problem, and this, I believe, is what needs to be taught from 16-18 years of age. The skills, opportunities, and options for young adults to simply move forward in this world.
My suggestion: (for those who do not take A-Levels)
To create a well-structured, virtual reality, cross-curricular running project about life, a little bit like an AI version of the ‘game of life.’ Students can begin the project in a virtual reality world of choice, and then slowly branch out depending on their interests. They can learn CV building skills, go to an AI job centre, choose the job they want to do and learn the skills for it by conducting research and completing online courses. At the same time within the project, students can be given a budget according to the job they are training for, in which they can forecast their savings and plan for the route that they would take in purchasing a property. Students would need to learn about shared ownership, the pros and cons of renting, the deposits needed for mortgage, all within a game format, like a PS5 game. This aspect of the project would be heavy with Maths. Students would be expected to write a final assessment piece summarising each of their decisions and why, which would include high levels of the English curriculum. To differentiate the project, we could ask students to use Geography, to find a country in the world where their skills may be more in demand and ask them to consider the possibility of relocating to another country for work, which would broaden the horizon of the project massively. They could look at tax laws in different countries, such as Dubai, and how that would benefit them in terms of salary, but what the importance of tax is in a country too. Students would get to explore countries which have free healthcare and schooling vs which countries do not. This would work on their analysis and deeper thinking skills.
The game-like format of this project would be ideal for disengaged students who did not thrive with the traditional style of teaching in schools. We could include potential for earning points in the ‘game’ for each additional piece of research they conduct, and a real-life benefit to earning those points too, such as Amazon vouchers, as rewards.
A project like this would enable all curriculums to get involved in, for students to understand the world better and a massive scope for AI, potentially asking Meta to design it, who are at the forefront of virtual reality.
To make it work, the project would require teachers from all fields to come together to form a curriculum that is inclusive, considers British Values and mirrors the real-life that we live in today. There is potential for psychologist to be involved to ensure we are considering mental health implications as well as parents/guardians, who would need to be onboard with this too.
In conclusion, I believe that 16-18 years do need guided learning that is standardised, but I do not think it is as simple as pushing Maths on to them. The future generation and their society will benefit from a holistic guided route to life, which will make them informed and educated individuals in topics that matter to THEM, based on THEIR lives, not chosen by us.
Give students control over their education, over their lives.