Why do we not teach decision making skills in K-12 education? Our entire lives revolve, in a practical sense, around making decisions both large and small. We certainly, for example, ask students to make sound decisions by “making wise choices” about their behavior! Do we ever explicitly instruct students in the process and skill of how to actually make a wise decision from a series of presented alternatives? Do we further instruct them in ways to locate, investigate, and evaluate plausible alternatives?
As an instructive example, if you are teaching middle or high school students about personal finance, one might approach the evaluative and decision making process as follows:
PERSONAL FINANCE: the overall picture
Lesson objective: to be able to see your financial situation as integral to your life. This helps with setting goals, objectives, and forward planning. We will learn to think about maximizing opportunities, and minimizing risks.
Consider your “financial self” as an avatar that you are responsible for. It has inputs and outputs, and you are responsible for its well-being. The inputs and outputs are very closely tied to one another; they feed and nourish each other in a continuous circle. Mentally, this gives you an opportunity to look at your life objectively from a distance.
Inputs: what does your financial avatar need to survive and thrive?
Circle of support
Outputs: what does your avatar produce as output?
- What are some ways you can work towards making a positive impact on your financial future?
- What are some ways you can assess and minimize risk?
- Why is it important to set goals, and measure achievement?