We’ve all been there – sitting in a required high school or college class and wondering why we have to learn this ‘useless’ information that we’ll never need in real life. If you feel like you’re wasting time in school learning irrelevant facts and skills, you’re not alone.

Many students and parents have questioned the value of some of the standard subjects and activities taught in traditional education. However, there are actually some very good reasons why schools teach the things they do, even if the purpose isn’t immediately clear or useful to every single student.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Schools teach some seemingly ‘useless’ things because they help develop important skills like critical thinking, communication, and learning how to learn – abilities that will serve students well in any future career or pursuit.

Specific topics also provide cultural literacy, introduce new interests, and give context to the world we live in.

Developing Fundamental Skills

Many students often question the relevance of certain subjects taught in school, deeming them as “useless” or unnecessary. However, these subjects are essential for developing fundamental skills that are crucial for success in various aspects of life.

By focusing on critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and learning how to learn, schools aim to equip students with the necessary tools to navigate through the challenges of the modern world.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a vital skill that allows individuals to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and make informed decisions. By teaching subjects such as mathematics, science, and literature, schools encourage students to think critically and develop logical reasoning abilities.

These skills are not only valuable in academic pursuits but also in everyday situations, enabling individuals to solve problems, avoid biases, and make well-informed choices.


Effective communication is an essential skill that plays a significant role in personal and professional success. By learning subjects like language arts, public speaking, and even group discussions in various subjects, students develop their ability to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions clearly and concisely.

Effective communication fosters healthy relationships, promotes understanding, and facilitates collaboration.


In the real world, working collaboratively with others is often necessary to achieve common goals. Therefore, schools emphasize collaboration by incorporating group projects and team activities into the curriculum.

These experiences teach students how to work effectively with others, respect differing opinions, and contribute to a shared objective. By learning to collaborate, students develop skills such as compromise, empathy, and leadership, which are valuable in both personal and professional settings.


Creativity is not limited to artistic endeavors; it is a skill that can be applied to problem-solving, innovation, and thinking outside the box. Schools encourage creativity by providing opportunities for students to engage in activities such as art, music, drama, and even science experiments.

By nurturing creativity, schools help students develop their imagination, resourcefulness, and ability to approach challenges with innovative solutions.

Learning How to Learn

One of the most valuable skills that schools teach is the ability to learn how to learn. While the specifics of certain subjects may not be directly applicable to every student’s future career, the process of learning itself is universal.

By teaching students how to acquire knowledge, analyze information, and study effectively, schools prepare them to adapt to new situations and continue learning throughout their lives. This skill is essential in a rapidly changing world, where new technologies and industries emerge constantly.

So, while some may perceive certain subjects as “useless,” they actually serve a greater purpose by developing fundamental skills that are essential for success in various aspects of life.

These skills, such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and learning how to learn, equip students with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of the modern world.

Building Cultural Literacy

Shared Knowledge and Context

One of the reasons why schools teach what some may consider “useless” things is to build cultural literacy. By learning about a wide range of subjects, students gain a shared knowledge base and context that allows them to better understand and communicate with others.

For example, studying history helps students understand the events and decisions that have shaped society, while learning about different cultures and languages fosters a sense of global understanding and empathy.

This shared knowledge and context is essential for a well-rounded education and for fostering meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds.

Appreciation for the Arts and Humanities

Another important aspect of education is cultivating an appreciation for the arts and humanities. While some may argue that these subjects are not as practical as math or science, they play a crucial role in developing creativity, critical thinking, and empathy.

Through studying literature, music, art, and philosophy, students are exposed to different perspectives and ways of thinking, expanding their worldview and enriching their lives. The arts and humanities also provide an outlet for self-expression and can be a source of joy and inspiration.

They are essential in fostering a well-rounded individual and nurturing a society that values creativity and the human experience.

Sparking Interests and Passions

One of the reasons why schools teach a wide range of subjects, including those that may seem “useless” to some students, is to spark their interests and passions. By exposing students to various subjects, schools aim to ignite curiosity and help them discover their true passions.

Trying New Subjects

When students are exposed to a diverse curriculum, they have the opportunity to try new subjects they may have never considered before. While some subjects may not immediately resonate with them, others might surprise them and awaken a new interest or talent.

For example, a student who never thought they would enjoy art class might discover a natural talent for painting or sculpting. By trying new subjects, students can expand their horizons and unlock hidden talents they never knew they had.

Discovering Hidden Talents

Not all talents are obvious from the start. Sometimes, it takes exposure to different subjects for students to realize their hidden talents and passions. By providing a well-rounded education, schools give students the opportunity to explore various fields and find what truly captivates them.

For instance, a student who excels in math and science might discover a love for computer programming when exposed to a coding class. This newfound passion could open doors to future opportunities and potential career paths.

Preparing for Future Careers

While some subjects may not seem directly applicable to future careers, they can still provide valuable skills and knowledge that can be transferred to different fields. Schools aim to equip students with a broad foundation of knowledge that can be applied in various professional settings.

For example, learning history may not seem directly relevant to a future career in engineering, but it can help develop critical thinking skills and an understanding of how societies evolve. These skills can be beneficial in problem-solving and decision-making in any career.

Additionally, being exposed to different subjects allows students to explore different career paths and make informed choices about their future. It helps them make connections between subjects and potential career options, enabling them to make better-informed decisions about their educational and professional trajectories.


While not every subject or activity in school will excite or interest all students, most do serve a greater purpose beyond just memorizing facts from textbooks. The useless-seeming skills and knowledge areas taught help provide context for the world, prepare students for professional endeavors, and give young people exposure to subjects they may want to pursue later in life.

While schools certainly aren’t perfect, understanding the well-intended reasons behind even the most mundane lessons can help students get the most from their classroom experiences.

Similar Posts