Recently, our Primary teaching staff got together to consider how we teach life skills within our classrooms. Education should prepare our students for the future, whether that involves going on to further study, joining the world of work or becoming an engaged member of society. Education is a process that enables students to take their place in society as effective learners, as effective professionals and as effective citizens.
There is often a mismatch between what students acquire in the classroom and the demands placed on them outside the classroom. Take the world of work, for example. In a recent survey in the UK, carried out by the research company YouGov, fewer than one in five employers thought that all or most graduates were ‘work-ready’. The overwhelming majority of companies said that graduates lacked key employability skills, such as teamwork skills, communication skills and the ability to cope under pressure. In another recent survey, two-thirds of company bosses said that graduates don’t know how to handle customers professionally, while half of them said that graduates were incapable of working independently. If one of the purposes of education is to prepare people for the world of work, it seems has not been achieving that purpose particularly well.
In a constantly changing environment, having life skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of everyday life. The dramatic changes in global economies over the past five years have been matched with the transformation in technology and these are all impacting on education, the workplace and our home life. To cope with the increasing pace and change of modern life, students need new life skills such as the ability to deal with stress and frustration. Today’s students will have many new jobs over the course of their lives, with associated pressures and the need for flexibility.
Our Primary teaching staff have been looking at new and effective ways of ensuring that the teaching of life skills is embedded within our every day activity in the classroom. By looking at fun ways of working as a team, building critical thinking and problem solving skills, building adaptability, flexibility and using creativity, members of staff shared some of the activities that they have used and collaborated on ideas to expand our own skills as teachers and develop the life skills of our students.
In everyday life, the development of life skills helps students to:
- Find new ways of thinking and problem solving
- Recognise the impact of their actions and teaches them to take responsibility for what they do rather than blame others
- Build confidence both in spoken skills and for group collaboration and cooperation
- Analyse options, make decisions and understand why they make certain choices outside the classroom
The more we develop life skills individually, the more these affect and benefit the world in which we live:
- Recognising cultural awareness and citizenship makes international cooperation easier
- Respecting diversity allows creativity and imagination to flourish developing a more tolerant society
- Developing negotiation skills, the ability to network and empathise can help to build resolutions rather than resentments.
- Develop a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others