The wisdom of seventh graders and you: Design a course

Raymond Chen

I’m out today to volunteer with grading student essays. The topic the students were given is one that I suggested: “You have been chosen to design a new elective for your school. Describe what it would be.” In a few weeks, you’ll learn what the students wrote, but my question for you is what you would propose in your essay. You can answer the question with the wisdom of adulthood (i.e., what course you would design for seventh graders), or, more challenging, you can describe what sort of course you would have designed if you were given this assignment as a twelve-year-old. (Please specify which category you’re submitting your entry to.) At the end of the day, I’ll update this entry with my answers.

Update: When I was in seventh grade, I would have wanted an elective in radio and television broadcasting and production. With the hindsight of adulthood, I would propose a course on “basic life skills”: From issues such as time management and personal finances (e.g. using funny-money credit cards to experience the consequences of missing a payment) to facts of life like “show up for work on time, no excuses”, as well as small skills like how to make change when you don’t have a calculator to give you the answer. Though on reflection, this might be more suited to high schoolers.


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