Monday, 13 May 2013

Are maths and English that important?

One thing I hear every year, sometimes every week, is students saying 'why do we have to do maths and English anyway?' They seem to think it is a completely usless skill that people don't need. So here are my main arguments for, and in an effort to be fair, against the argument that everyone should have a level 2, or C grade in maths and English.



  • You need maths for shopping - to estimate your total bill
  • You need maths (weighing, estimating, converting) to cook food from scratch rather than relying on microwave meals
  • You need maths to read timetables and organise journeys.
  • You need maths to redectorate a room (how much paint is needed, how long to dry, how much carpet)
  • You need maths to budget, understand payslips and set up accounts with interest rates
  • You need maths in many different careers - it is a gateway to many jobs
  • One day you may need to help your child with their maths homework

  • Some elements of maths probably won't be used very often - such as pythagoras or algebra
  • Many people find techniques to avoid using maths, or live lives that don't require a high level of maths - such as always using instant meals and working in low paid jobs 



  • To get a job, you need to write a convincing application or CV
  • At interview you need to show advanced speaking and listening skills in order to secure highly paid positions
  • To access education at a higher level (A levels or degrees) you need to write with a clear structure and in an effective way.
  • Many jobs require a certain level of English
  • A good understanding of English will help to study other subjects and to understand teaching.
  • Many jobs require staff to write effectively.
  • You may need to help your child with English homework.

  • Microsoft word corrects your spelling and grammar for you.
  • Most people email rather than write letters.
  • Many people have good careers without having excellent English skills.
Obviously, I am of the opinion that English and maths are life essentials. In order to live an independent, comfortable life I think that you need to have good English and maths skills. However, there are exceptions. Sometimes people can be good at one subject and not another and this can be enough - such as being amazing with figures but having terrible spelling. Yet, to me, it is always worthwhile to push your learning in these subjects far enough to feel confident in your own abilities. What do you think?

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