From the Classroom to the Real World

From the Classroom to the Real World

by Anthony Teles
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Mathematics, social studies, and science are all great for improving your knowledge and exercising your brain. Yet it is not always obvious how to apply them to the real world. How can equations, historic events, and the water cycle possibly help you outside of the classroom? The answer is in many indirect ways. You can take a lot of what you learn in school to help not only yourself, but others who could really benefit from it.

Research, and likely your own personal experience, has shown that tests and exams are not the best way to discover how learning can help elsewhere. They are great for testing your memory and skills. But schooling is really about the “transfer of learning,” the term for taking what you learn and using it in a different situation. There are “near transfers” for situations that are nearly the same, such as using writing skills in English class to help you with social studies. “Far transfers” are for two very different events. For example, you could take a history lesson about hundreds of years ago and use it to think about things happening in the world today.

Those “far transfers” can happen in different ways. When you are learning something in school, try to think if you have already learned something like it in a different class. Also try to focus on how these things can help elsewhere, even if your teacher does not say anything about that. Maybe some of the math you learned could help your family or friends add up the cost of items at the mall. The book you read in English class could have some good themes and lessons that would be perfect for a friend.

Ask yourself some important questions. What have you learned about yourself from your classes? You may have discovered some strengths that could help others – if you can easily explain tricky topics like the water cycle to your friends, try tutoring to help out younger, struggling students. Ask how you could take what you learn into different situations, and who could benefit from it. Learning the events of history could help you connect with your grandparents. They may have even lived through those events, and you could build a better relationship with them.

This takes practice. Every day you are at school, try to take note of at least three new things you learned that day. They can be very big ideas, new skills, or even very little facts. Then try to think of one way each of those things can help others. Once again, these can be big or small. You can use those ideas or skills in volunteer work, as well as tutor students or entertain your friends with facts. Even the smallest of acts can help brighten someone’s day.

Some days of school go better than others. Sometimes you learn great new things, while other times you are frustrated or even bored. Focusing on how you can use what you learn outside of school will help you get through the bad days and make the good ones even better.


Glulloni, Julie Winkle. “Putting Knowledge into Practice: From Knowing to Growing.” SABA Blog. https://www.halogensoftware.com/blog/putting-knowledge-into-practice-from-knowing-to-growing

Strauss, Valerie. “The real stuff of schooling: How to teach students to apply knowledge.” The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/24/the-real-stuff-of-schooling-how-to-teach-students-to-apply-knowledge/?utm_term=.7964b6c74e7b

Leave a comment!