How Can We Teach Teens in Order to Prevent Them from Making Future-Hindering Mistakes?

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Prevent this from being

Your Future

Learn to avoid big mistakes

Why this Topic is Important to Me: 

In children and young adults our brains and our decision making skills are still developing. Sometimes this really bites us in the butt and we make some really poor decisions that can greatly affect our future. Whether it’s DUIs, trespassing, shoplifting, or an academic integrity violation maybe these things can be prevented by taking a game theory course. This is important to me because I’ve got two older siblings that both did stupid things when they were my age, and it went on their permanent record. Which has made it very difficult to get any job years later.

When we are teens…

Our Brains are Still Developing:

To some extent we cannot avoid making mistakes for it is how we learn.

Maybe if schools taught game theory kids would be able to see where their best payoff will come from and calculate the pro decisions and the con decisions. My problem will be to come up with examples of game trees of different decisions to model for others how they can try this technique. Also, consider what percentage of kids will actually take the time to put this to use. However, I think if it saves even a few kids from making a mistake that could hinder them the next ten years of their life I think it’s worth it.

A Class that Teaches us How to Make the Best Decision for Ourselves

  • My Problem

Let’s say schools (like mine) offer a game theory class that they heavily push for their students to take but is not mandatory. When I signed up for this class (Game Theory) it was not what I thought it was going to be at all. However, it taught me how to make decisions in order to get the best outcome for myself. Percent of kids that take it would probably be about 76%. Then, probably only a few actually take it seriously and care about the work, 19%. Finally, even fewer will remember this and apply it to their life for the next years to come which would be less than ten percent, and those would probably be the kids that would make good decisions anyway because that’s their character.

Analysis of Solution:

I think a few adjustments should be made in order to optimize the impact of the class. I think there should be a mandatory version of this class in sophomore year/10th grade/when you’re 15 (one where it focuses on making good decisions in your life, not the “solving wars” that we actually do in my Game Theory class). This way they get the essence of game theory which is strategic thinking and it’s at an age before kids start/are starting to drive and party at least in the U.S. this way it’ll hopefully prevent some DUIs etc. on permanent records that you’ll never be free from.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Decision-making is a crucial skill for everyone no matter what career or interests they wish to pursue. I completely agree with you in that despite the importance of strategic thinking, not a lot regarding this topic is often taught in school. This can result in students graduating from school and struggling to make decisions, whether its finance or career choices etc. You mentioned some specific numbers in your presentation such as how 76% of students would take a game theory course at a school, and I was wondering what assumptions you made in order to reach this estimation. Also, more relevant visuals and infographics can make your presentation even more informative and engaging.

  2. This is an incredibly interesting proposal Melia. Decision making is a crucial skill to develop, however i wonder if a class such as you have proposed would be better if it combined game theory with some other skills. Perhaps a class like we have here in British Columbia, called Career-Life Education (which is mandatory in your grade 10 or 11 year), which teaches about career paths, university, and general life skills would benefit from a game theory unit.

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