Life skills

Topics: Critical thinking, Decision making, Problem solving Pages: 9 (3189 words) Published: June 6, 2015
Human beings live in a world of challenges and they need life skills to cope with the challenges. Life skills recognize that children come from diverse backgrounds and problems. Such diverse backgrounds include cultural and religious beliefs, family expectations alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, orphan hood as well as academic failure. Such backgrounds and problems if not addressed may result in pitfalls and unbecoming behaviour. Unbecoming behaviours include truancy, stealing, drug and alcohol abuse, unwanted pregnancies just to mention but a few. It is for these reasons that life skills education is an important aspect of Primary school curriculum. This write up aims at discussing the possible strategies that a Primary school teacher can use to develop the following skills in the pupils they teach: critical thinking, decision making, assertiveness, peer pressure resistance and effective communication. The term life skill will be defined. Life Skills have been defined by the World Health Organisation (2003) as abilities for adaptive a positive behaviour that enables individuals to deal effectively with the demands of everyday life. According to Mubape (2011) states that, life skills are those skills which will assist an individual to interact with his or her environment as independently as possible. UNICEF (2012) defined life skills as a behaviour change or behaviour development approach designed to address a balance of three areas which include knowledge, attitude and skills. Blackman (2005) propounded that, the term life skills refers to a large group of psychological and interpersonal skills which can help people make informed decisions, communicate effectively and develop coping and self management skills that may help them lead a healthy and productive life. The writer defines life skills as those skills that permit an individual to problem solving appropriately and responsibly in life situations. This implies that, one is able to explore alternatives, weigh pros and corns and make rational decisions in solving each problem as it arises. Besides, it also includes being able to establish productive interpersonal relationship with others. Chikutuma (2012) propounded that life skills are the abilities that help to promote mental well being and competence in young children as they face the realities of life. Life skills are of paramount importance in one’s life especially to the children at primary school level. According to UNICEF (2012), life skills provide school children with strategies to make healthy choices that contribute to a meaningful life. Also, they help children to take positive actions to protect themselves and to promote health and meaningful social relationships. Moreover, Life skills facilitate a complete and an integrated development of individuals to function effectively as social beings. Furthermore, they enable children to develop a concept of oneself as a person of worth and dignity (Drew and Rankin 2004). Life skills education is a value addition programme for children to understand self and to assess their skills, abilities and areas of development (WHO 2003). Also, life skills education allows children to get along with others, to adjust with their environment and making responsible decisions. Besides, the education builds up children’s values and helps them to communicate effectively. Beel (2006) defines critical thinking as an investigative, logical and diagnostic manner. Suggested by Cikutuma (2012), critical thinking means an attempt to understand what really constitute a problem and thus influences decision making. The same author went on to say that, critical thinking means analysing the problem and what may have caused it to emerge. It is an ability to a identify health problems so as to seek appropriate help. The skill also helps children analyse information pertaining the germs, viruses and HIV and AIDS. Critical thinking contributes to health by helping children to recognise and assess...
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