Why Personal Development Is Not Taught In School – Five Fundamental Subjects That School Won’t Teach Your Child

What Schools don't Teach Personal DevelopmentMany of my posts on this blog are inspired by discussions I have with clients or friends.  The idea of this post came from a discussion I had with a friend last week.

As he was asking me why he made all the mistakes he made throughout his life I said; “well, most of us had no clue. We don’t know what we don’t known, and personal development is surely not taught in schools.”

When I said that, he said: “yes, you’re right, but why is that?” That’s when I had a light bulb flashing in my head and I knew I had a post there.

Good question!

Why is personal development not taught in schools and what are children missing because of it?  Would we be better prepared in life if personal development was taught in schools?

Let’s go back in school time, and then let’s analyze why personal development is not taught in school. I have my personal ideas about that, but you can share your own after you’ve read this post.

NOTE: Please, understand that I’m not bashing teachers here. I know that there’re are some exceptional ones here and there, but for the most part, they can only follow the system there’re in or what they know themselves. At times it can be wonderful, but at times it can be quite dramatic.

The Schools of the Old Days

Nowadays, at times, you hear a teacher scandal here and then, and people are all chocked and everything.  But frankly, either they have amnesia or there’re very young.  If you are anywhere from 40 years old and up, I’m sure you know how school teachers used to be.  Don’t you?

I mean some of my teachers were pretty bad, but they were even worse when my mother was in school.

Back then, teachers were allows to yell, humiliate, and hit their students.  And at times it even went haywire. I have an uncle who is now around 60 years old who had a teacher who used to hold misbehaving students by the feet in a stair case. How would you react if your child was treated like that in school today, no matter what he did wrong? Well, this was “allowed” back then.

Up until the early 1980’s teachers were not in any trouble if they hit a child on the hands with a ruler (which is pure torture), slapped them in the face, or spanked them publicly.  All that was allowed, in Europe and in the US.

While none of my teachers ever touched me because my mother would always make it very clear that if they touched a single hair of my head they’ll be in big trouble, there were no rules that prevented them to mistreat children’s whose parents were not as scary as my mother.

No doubt that back then, not only personal development wasn’t taught in schools, but it’s obvious that those working in such schools needed personal development themselves.

Schools are just like any other institutions; they are managed by people who are far from perfect and who are there to do their job and go home once they’re done. They have a program and a schedule to follow, and such program doesn’t include much of anything that has to do with the spiritual development of the mind, or even practical success tips.

Sad? Yes.  But true.

This type of things wasn’t and still is not in school programs, and I’m afraid it will be that way for a very long time if you ask me.  So don’t count on school to teach your kids anything else more than the basics.

Here are Five Vital Success Tips that your Child won’t Learn in School…

School won’t Teach your Child – Don’t’ Compare Yourself to Others

Actually some teachers will and have taught children the other way around. They’ll say things like, look at “Jane Doe how well she did!” or “Why aren’t you like Joe Moe?” They will pick the student they favor to do certain tasks, based on they own personal preferences and judgment.

I’ve seen people being compared in school, more than anywhere else I’ve been as an adult.

Don’t compare me to Jane or Joe, compare my own progress to ME. How far did I go since the beginning of the year? How can you help me to get where I want?

Comparing a child to another is not helping them for their adult life, because comparing yourself to someone else can create inadequacy or even jealousy.

This is not personal development teaching by any mean.

School won’t Teach your Child – Setting Goals

Were you taught how to set goals in school?

If you were, then you are one of the few fortunate ones.  I have never even heard the term goal in school, and if I did it had nothing to do with creating goals for success, whether they were short term goals or long term goals.

As a matter of fact, I had no goal for the longest time. I knew absolutely nothing about goals. Not something I’ve ever heard around me in my younger days, and certainly not in school.

Something as important as setting goals should be taught in schools to help children plan for what they want in life, rather than let life plan for them by just “happening” to them.

The earlier we learn about goals, the better we will be at making them.  Having goals is such an important thing that we should learn it in school.

School won’t Teach your Child – Visualize your Results

Well, it goes without saying that if the school system hasn’t taught you to set goals, they haven’t taught you to visualize such goals as if they had already happened. I only wish I had learned that in school. Boy how great would that have been?

Imagine if school teachers started teaching children in class that they can visualize that specific good grade to actually pass that test and actually GET that specific grade?  Not only would they make students study harder, better and smarter, but they could greatly improve the level of a whole school.

I haven’t gone to school in this country, but I have had discussions with college kids who have told me how some entire schools are failing children badly. The grades are as low as they could be.

Imagine what they could accomplish with personal development.

School won’t Teach your Child – Your Attitude Creates your Reality

I can only imagine if I had been fortunate enough to have learned that in school.  Well, that sure wasn’t in the program, and my bet is that it’s still not.

There is no discussion in school about cause and effect, and how such cause and effect can affect one’s life.  In other words, anything that has to do with the law of attraction is simply not a subject taught in schools.

If it was, however, it could help children understand that they are responsible for their own success or the lack of it.

At a young age children could start learning and taking on the habit of getting into the right frame of mind. They would learn to adjust their attitude to be better achievers and happier young beings. They would be better equipped to be more successful and more balanced adults.

If this side of personal development was taught in schools, it could make up for lack of this type of teaching at home.

School won’t Teach your Child – The 80/20 Rule

Now, we sure learn lots of rules in school, but that one is not on the program. It certainly wasn’t when I was in school. Never heard of that rule until many years after I left school.

The 80/20 rule also called Pareto Principle or the Law of the Vital Few, means that about 80% of your results come from 20% of what you put in. Your best productivity comes from about 20% of your most focus work.  If you have a business probably 80% of your sales come from 20% of your most loyal customers.

If we were taught this rule in school we could learn at an early age to focus on those 20% more and less on what’s basically useless, time consuming tasks.  This could teach you kids how to be more productive and more successful.

Learning about the 80/20 rule could have a huge impact on student success in school and long after they leave school.

Why is Personal Development No Taught in School?

I’m sure that not everyone will agree with me on that one, but I think that the reason why personal development is not taught in school is that school is nothing more than a system within the system.

I’m not the first one saying this either.  I think that if schools taught too much of free, smart and productive thinking from an earlier, while it will be a good thing for the student, the system itself would have less control over its subjects.

Let’s face it, whether we are or think we are in a free country, we are always under some type of control that wants us to think and act a certain way. If you are not sure about what I meant here watch the movie documentary Thrive and you’ll see my point.

Thankfully, a lot has changed over the years, and what teachers were allowed to do years ago is no longer permitted.  Then you also have that exceptional teacher here and there that will teach you some very important life lessons.  But we have not yet arrived at a point where personal development will be part of a school program.

Because of this, as parents, it’s very important to teach your children all the things that they will never learn there, no matter how far they go in the school system.

Please, leave your comments below

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I hope you enjoyed this post, and will start applying those tips now. Please, let me know what you think and add your thoughts down below in the comments.
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21 thoughts on “Why Personal Development Is Not Taught In School – Five Fundamental Subjects That School Won’t Teach Your Child”

  1. You’re so right Sylviane, this isn’t taught at school. As a matter of fact your description of teachers and how they compare students is right on.

    I worked as a Teacher’s Assistant and now it’s all about passing the test to get money for the school. The kids didn’t even learn from books. They had worksheets that was similar to the TAKS test and would learn that plus it would be their homework.

    It was sad to see the kids weren’t really learning anything so teaching personal development is at the bottom of their curriculum. It’s going to take a special teacher to incorporate that into his or her teaching but for the most part, they follow the curriculum because it’s their job.

    I agree, that the responsibility lies on the parent. We need to make sure we teach our kids and start by leading by example.

    Great post Sylviane! Happy Wednesday!
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    1. Hi Corina,

      Well, as a mom and an assistant teacher, your comment is very valuable to me, and even though I knew I was right on this post, you so confirm it 🙂

      School are just not created to help little human beings to be the best they can, they’re just not and might never be, so yes, that falls back on the parents to teach the most important things to their children!

      Thanks for your input, Corina 🙂
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  2. I have to agree with you on that one Sylviane that I believe the school system is just a system within a larger system. For the most part schools are here to teach us subjects that can further us with our career goals. Of course that does not consist on becoming an entrepreneur or having the desires to even create your own business.

    If doesn’t encourage students to dream big or even remain positive that you can become whatever you want. They have certain courses that they are required to teach and that’s it.

    As far as how students are treated by certain teachers I think that falls on the teacher themselves. Granted the school system should never allow any type of abuse whether that be verbal or physical so there is a definite problem within the system itself.

    When I was young and you did wrong you were either paddled in front of the entire class or slapped so hard on the hand with a ruler it burned for hours. I never was hit or mistreated in any way because I was a good student. Very obedient because there was no way I was getting into trouble.

    I do just believe there are some people who should not be allowed anywhere near our children and of course that’s not just limited to just teachers if you know what I mean.

    I hope I live to see the day that things change within the school system but I have a feeling I won’t. Kind of sad really.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      No schools don’t teach children to dream big for sure. Like you I would love to live to see this change, but I don’t think I will either.

      Like you, I was always a quiet and good student so I’ve never deserved to be punished, but just in case, I was ALWAYS telling my mother when one of my teachers hit another student in any way, so she would go to them and scare the hell out of them! My mother was a mother hen that could kill you if you touched her kids 🙂 She could be very intimidating and I knew that even if one day they felt like I deserved it they would leave me alone. And they sure did.

      Thank you for your valuable feedback, Adrienne, as always 🙂
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  3. Hello Sylviane,

    Coming from a background where my parents, and their parents spent their entire life teaching, I can easily relate to the post. Thank you for bringing it up.

    However, up till now, it’s mostly okay in India to hit a child on the hands with a ruler (which is pure torture), slapped them a little bit depending upon situation etc. It’s still okay but the effect of modern culture is catching up quickly and I am sure pretty soon teachers will start getting into trouble for those activities in future.

    Speaking of personal development being taught in schools, I remember researching about the book “Think And Grow Rich” and how Andrew Carnegie along with Napoleon Hill planned to persuade government to include that book as part of school curriculum (obviously it didn’t happen for whatever reason). I can only imagine the book would have had on today’s generation if they book would have become part of curriculum 50 years ago. Sad thing, it didn’t.
    Thank you for sharing these details and tips. Really enjoyed being here.
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    1. Hi Kumar,

      Wow, nice to know this about you, since I do not know you yet. You are from a teacher’s family 🙂

      When it comes to hitting children, actually our friend Harleena had a great post not long ago where she talked about that and had a video about how hitting a child is very bad for the psyche of the child. No kidding!!! Think about it? Do we hit another adult when he misbehaves?

      Just imagine that and you’ll realize how terrible it is to hit a child. I am sure than in a hundred years from now, this will be thought to be totally barbaric.

      I never knew about the Think and Grow Rich book supposed to be studied in school. Why it didn’t? I have my idea about that, but that’s another post 🙂

      Thanks for your valuable input, Kumar.

  4. Hi Sylviane, those topics should be taught in school before graduation. Even colleges are not teaching these. I’ve learned the 80/20 rule through sales training at jobs over the years and it really can be applied to most things in life.
    I think the no child left behind act really made a difference on teaching methods and most kids know they will pass no matter what. No high goals set for each student. It’s too general I believe.
    Great topic Sylviane!
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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for confirming that you have not learned the 80/20 rule in school. I don’t think that anyone knowing that rule have learned it there.

      Too general it’s a good term that describe school well. I call it one suit fits all institution 🙂

      Thank you for your input, Lisa.

  5. Hi Sylviane,

    I agree with you there – personal development is never taught in schools. Having taught kids myself, I can say this, though in our school we used to lay a lot of stress on teaching them the basics, because it was a play school and one can’t teach all of the above mentioned things, but we did.

    Like Kumar mentioned, in our country, hitting on the hands with a ruler is a common practice, but I must add, this happens mainly in the rural areas. The urban areas or cities mostly have students and parents very well aware of things, and they are all bold enough to lodge complaints against the teacher and get them banned in most of the cases, so the teachers are pretty aware and take care in this regard.

    I think what matters most is that parents of course, need to teach their kids about personal development, and I’m sure if they can somewhere intervene and let the teachers know, they too would start making a difference. My Mom used to do that with my teachers, and they started adding a few oral lessons before the day ended. Somewhere, somehow a change has to start, and even if it’s just oral for a while, it might just work.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week, whatever little is left of it 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Thank you for sharing what’s going on in schools in India. I have no idea about schools there or even other parts of the world that I’m not familiar with. However, as you have confirmed for our part of the world, personal development is not taught there either.

      I think that what you mom did is great. Wow, your mom was a smart woman. Thank you for sharing this with us 🙂

      Thanks for coming, Harleena and have a great weekend.

  6. Good question, Sylviane, and plenty here to think about. I think you know I used to be a teacher. And it’s still something I’m very passionate about today, even though I don’t teach kids anymore. To a large extent, my job is now about teaching grown ups about their businesses and how to market them online.

    I was lucky enough to work in private schools, which means I could create my own curriculum and there weren’t the same rules about what you had to teach, what text books you needed, what tests they had to take. So I really had a chance to help kids focus on themselves and the things that important throughout life, not just how well you did on a spelling test. More importantly, kids have to be taught how to think for themselves, and to your point, how to set goals and achieve those goals.

    I think that’s why you hear about so many successful entrepreneurs who never went to school or dropped out early. They weren’t taught to work, achieve and manage a business in school! Especially now with so many jobs becoming more service-oriented, kids really have to learn how to do a lot more abstract stuff like negotiating, building relationships, managing, leading. Math is nice, but it’s not going to give you the skills you need unless you just want to work at the cash register at McDonald’s for the rest of your life counting change.

    I do think there are great teachers, but I think they are few and far between. For the most part I think teachers a a victim of a culture of conformity that we’ve created to put everyone into a neat little box so we can churn out test scores and “productive citizens”.

    I truly believe education is broken – from kindergarten right through college. It’s quite sad but until we start to realize that there is so much more than following a rule and a taking a test, I don’t think it will change.

    1. Oh boy she found that post!

      Yes, Carol, I sure know that you used to be a teacher and was just telling one of my readers about that on my other blog where, as you know, I have mentioned you. That reader was saying that he didn’t know you yet and I said good things about you 🙂

      From what I remember you telling me you sound like you where a great teacher, and before some people try to accuse me of being against teachers, I included that note in my post. Thank God there are some good ones.

      But as you mentioned yourself, there are some that are not as good and those who are just victim of that stupid system.

      That’s a very good point you made here, entrepreneur type people actually leave school and start doing their own things. That’s because they are already so above and beyond what they could learn in school. In every way, shape or form.

      Yes, there’s much more than following the rules and passing a test.

      Thank you for your feedback, Carol. Really appreciate that!

  7. I’m with you on this topic Sylviane!

    I went to Catholic school and the nuns got such a bad rap because they hit us with a ruler. Well, I came to find out teachers in public schools did the same darn thing.

    Now, things have changed thank goodness, but it is still institutionalization that is my pet peeve. Now I know many people won’t agree with me, but in my observation schools are all behavior modification. Children pass and go to college that cannot even read or write!

    Even worse…If a child “misbehaves” they get put on drugs and/or get put in special education where they don’t reach the child’s potential. To me, it is just like sending your child to school to be a zombie…

    What if self development was taught in school? Well, kids will start thinking for themselves, instead of giving the teacher what they want. They won’t have to compare themselves to others and accept themselves as unique individuals blessed with unique talents. They will learn set their own goals, and so on. Now what the heck will those teachers do? If they were trained for personal development they would understand and be able to teach more hands on, and in other ways to reinforce each and every child.

    I had my niece live with me for a few years. I sent her to a “progressive school” whereby each child was reinforced to learn the way they wanted. I could write a book on this one, but I seen my niece with her strong spirit who hated school, go to this one and loved it. She was able to express herself. They even had a course in meditation and visualization. We were blessed to have this “progressive school” in our town. Everyone raised hell about it and said it was terrible, but at least my niece became interested in things. Her self esteem boosted and she was able to live a calmer life as a teenager.

    OK I’ll stop here! But this is a passionate subject for me ….glad you wrote about it Sylviane!


    1. Hi Donna,

      Wow, thank you for the great comment. Feel like I have not much too add.

      I had never heard of a progressive school, but it sounds darn good to me. I think that lack of self expression is prominent in schools, and it’s like one suit fits all kind of thing. The opposite of progressive. That’s why some kids do so bad in school while they’re actually very bright.

      I can say that it was kind of my case. School didn’t make me, it broke me, and I had to repair all the damage as an adult.

      Thanks for your input, Donna

  8. Hello Sylviane,

    I think the points you make should be taught in school, and not wait until the “higher education” we receive from life experience teaches them to us.

    I saw the Thrive movement video last year and was fascinated by many of the concepts in it.

    Yes, there are many things they do not teach in school, another being that many
    hurtful remarks made about you by people “in the know” simply aren’t true.

    When it came to the strap, we couldn’t win. Our stepmother intentionally made us late for school, then we would be sent to the principal’s office to be lashed with a leather strap. For the sake of children in school today, I think there needs to be some degree of discipline, but not in anyways hurtful.

    All the best!

    1. Hi Bill,

      Wow, I’m so sorry you had to endure such harsh torture. I can only imagine. How mean that person inflicting the wiping might have been? Wow, scary to me.

      Yes, discipline is one thing. Hitting, wiping, inflicting pain and scares it’s a whole different game. It’s a crime, and it’s barbaric.

      Thank you for adding your experience in you comment.

  9. Hey Sylviane,

    I’ve had this discussion with many of my friends before. And after reading Rich Dad Poor and Conspiracy Of The Rich it actually support my opinions even further.

    Yes we are in a system within a system. I work in a school district now, and the teachers here actually do teach personal development. I thought it was great when they were teaching elementary school kids how to run a business. Also the high school kids have a “virtual business” class where they divide each class within groups to start their own business.

    I’ve talked with a couple of students who are familiar with some of the personal development books, which surprised me at the time. When I was in school I didn’t know what personal development was. It was more about getting good grades and doing what the teacher say. Now when I think about it, I thought it was more brainwashing than helping me to become a better individual.

    But in all, I definitely agree with what you had to say about this subject! Thanks for sharing your opinion!
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    1. Hi Sherman,

      So sorry for this late reply, but my blog had few technical issues that took me extra time on top of everything else.

      Wow, this is the first time I hear that personal development is taught in a school. That’s really great. I also read Rich Dad Poor Dad, but not Conspiracy of the Rich, but I bet that’s what the documentary Thrive is talking about. Sad, but true, but it doesn’t mean that we need to keep on being stupid. The more those things are revealed the less power to them.

      Thanks for your comment.
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  10. Hi Sylviane,

    I guess I can’t say anything more than what everyone else has already said. There is no doubt that the system is broken in many ways. I remember being petrified in school of getting in trouble and getting a beating. I went to school down south.

    Your topic is an interesting one. So although self-development as a course or subject is not being ‘taught’, just in the last couple of years, the focus has been on bullying and self-esteem and self-development. This is a current theme that is in the public light and many people are jumping on the bandwagon.

    My point is that there is a starting point and people are starting to notice that children need their self-esteem which I think will lead to more self-development in schools.

    Sure enough, we have an extremely long way to go, but this self-respect and self-help coming along with ‘bullying’ being brought into the light, is a first step. A small one, but a first step.

    I also believe that it starts with the children. If we as parents raise confident children who field loved, most of them would not accept this behavior and abuse from teachers and report this. I raised 3 strong, confident children, despite the school system, so we can’t blame it all on the school system. If anyone had touched my children, they would have relished, running home and telling me just so they could see me hand a teacher his or her head!

    So we need to teach our children what is acceptable and what is not and maybe that is the second step to change.

    Personal and self-development (despite the fact that it is not taught in schools), can be taught at home. When we know our children are lacking in something in life, then it is our job too to enlighten and provide that ‘absence’ for them.

    Anyway, just my two cents.
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    1. Hi Barabara,

      Sorry for this late reply, but here I am finally.

      Granted, self development should be taught at home first, but how good it would be for those who don’t have the best homes, to be taught great stuff in school. It’s a good thing that it’s slowly getting a bit better.

      I was a child just like you’re saying. I mean if a teacher had touched me I would have run to my mother and tell her right away, and she would have reacted just like you 🙂 My mother always told me and my brother what was not acceptable and we would have never taken any kind of abuse from anyone because of that.

      Thank you for your valuable comment.
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  11. Many times the teachers need more self growth than the actual students. This is pretty sad. I credit all the growth I’ve gone through to working on myself and having done so much reading on subjects NOT taught in school. You are very right. Great post!

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