Could we just abolish 7th grade?

At least once a year I like to promote the brilliant idea my wife came up with many years ago.  We should abolish 7th grade and replace it with a full year of instruction and practice on social skills.

Does anyone learn anything of an academic nature in 7th grade that’s really important?  By 7th grade the basics are in place. They know how to read, write and cipher.  The harder stuff (quadratic equations, calculus, quantum physics, Shakespeare) lies ahead.  Nothing really important happens in 7th grade.  Most of what is allegedly “learned” during that year will be re-taught and re-learned later.

That’s largely because 7th graders don’t care about academic learning. They only care about the peer group, their social status and how they fit in. Why don’t we recognize that and take advantage of it?  Let’s spend an entire year on things like:

1. How to shake hands with an adult.

2. How to get someone’s attention without being rude.

3. How to call someone on the telephone that you don’t know.

4. How to meet a new person.

5. The importance of eye contact.

6. Table etiquette.

7. Digital etiquette.

8. How to disagree with someone without being disagreeable about it.

9. How to handle awkward moments.

10. What real friendship looks like.

11. The difference between apologizing vs. making amends.

12. Resilience when things go wrong or are hard.

13. How to respond—not react—when you are angry or offended.

The list could go on.   Anyway….I think the idea has merit. What do you think?


Tomorrow: 18 minutes that changed the world….