Relevance of Life Skills in the School Curriculum


A new age phenomenon has given birth in the education space called life skills, something we didn't experience while getting the education in our times.

This phenomenon is path-breaking and surely revolutionary. It changes the way education is imparted to our children and could be a holistic way of learning and development. The current state of education in India has not been kind to accepting life skills and adopting it into the curriculum and not many schools are adapting to the new way of teaching.

So, what is the new way? What is this path-breaking education system? How will it make lesson plans far more interesting for children and make them want to go to school? It all begins with identifying what the life skills you want your children to learn. It is negotiation skills, employability, parenting skills, organization skills, conflict management, stress management, project management, financial know-how, problem-solving and much more etc.

What exactly are the life skills that you want your children to be future ready for when they leave the school and graduate into the external world? Nobody teaches you how to be a good parent right? So far, we have just learnt it on the job. No one taught us how to be a good husband or a wife, we just learnt along the way and stumbled our way through. Some collapsed and wished there was a manual given to us the day we got married. Having now identified the life skills which we want our children to learn in their school, the next step is to figure out how this needs to be incorporated in the syllabus and the way to teach these life skills.

We need to create a program to impart those skills to make our children better human beings and it's not easy in a world full of vices with so many distractions and negative influences all around. The teaching of life skills is crucial to enable the children to cope up with post-school environment, handle stress better, avoid conflicts as well as be more employable. How do we do this, what are the tools available to teachers? One of the ways of doing this is through lesson plans.

For e.g. let’s take conflict management. How would you teach a child in grade 1 to handle conflict management? This is what needs to be created in the lesson plan and then similarly this needs to be done for grade 2 children and so on so forth. And as you go up from grade 1 to grade 2, the way conflict management is taught through lesson plans changes and evolves with real-life situation management examples, storytelling and role play.

This is indeed a skill and not many are able to implement it successfully, which is why it is path-breaking and not many schools are including this futuristic method of teaching in schools. Effectively while providing the academic knowledge you are teaching a child important life skills, which make them future ready which I believe gives them that extra edge, the X factor that we talk about.

What’s important to also discuss here is that, which academic board you choose is not relevant to make the program successful, however, it is much easier if the board is the one, which is not rote based. I say this from experience because rote based boards have a fixed curriculum and don't allow much flexibility in the way lesson plans are taught. Clearly given what we have discussed above, we need flexibility. We need some room to manoeuvre and for that international boards are more adaptable and accommodating.

Finally, we can conclude by saying that life skills are critical to learn and acquire. The earlier we do this, the better equipped our children will be. My strong belief is that this can be learnt in school. The most practical way of teaching life skills in school is to incorporate them in the lesson plans so it's a win-win for all. Academics with life skills interwoven and we have a true winner.

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