But When Will I Ever Use This?

“Lines are stupid; I’ll never use these dumb formulas”

Every teacher has heard this, and we at Streamline Tutors hear it constantly: “why do I need to know this beyond this test? I’m never going to use the formula for a line in the real world, so why learn it now?”

There are multiple answers to this question, and we wanted to highlight a few of them. To do so, we will first examine this question. The question “why do I need to know this?” assumes that knowledge has a fixed goal. After all, this makes sense: I learn computer programming to build computer programs and I learn mechanical engineering to be an engineer. Why then should we learn stuff that we will not use?

“The Brain is a Muscle”

The simple answer: because we strengthen our intellectual muscles. If we look at an athlete, we notice that they do many exercises that do not correspond to the specific sport they play. While football players may bench press, it’s not because they have to lift a bar off their chest during a football game. The same idea holds true for studying fundamental math concepts. Yes, it is likely that students will not be constructing linear models in their everyday lives. However, by learning the ins and outs of math (or any subject on a standardized test), students strengthen their reasoning and flexible thinking skills that transfer to whatever they’re passionate about.

These skills and habits linger long after students have completed a standardized test, and speak to the value of education as a whole. Some things are worth pursuing for their own sake, like happiness. Happiness needs no justification for why one should pursue it, and we at Streamline Tutors believes the same holds true for education. Education is an end in and of itself and is a value worth pursuing.


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