Functional life skills are those that we learn to help us live a happier, more satisfying life. They make it possible for us to live happily in the family and communities in which we are born. Functional life skills are generally necessary to find and maintain a career for more traditional learners.
Preparing for work interviews, becoming an entrepreneur, learning how to dress professionally, and calculating living expenses are all examples of common practical life skills. However, job skills are not the only aspect of life that can be taught in classrooms. This article lets you in on the important life skills to learn in the 21st century and what skills to teach students.
What are life skills?
Life skills are a collection of basic skills learned through learning and/or direct life experience that allow individuals and groups to effectively manage issues and problems experienced in everyday life.
Creativity, strategic thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, the ability to connect and cooperate, as well as personal and social responsibility are all necessary skills necessary for success in the twenty-first century, both for healthy communities and for prosperous employable entrepreneurs.
Life skills are concerned with topics such as:
- Real: they have an impact on people's lives;
- Often sensitive: they can have a personal impact on people, particularly when family or friends are involved;
- Contentious: people disagree and have strong feelings about them;
- Moral: they contribute to what people believe is right or wrong, good or poor, essential or unimportant in society;
Using these frameworks, essential and different life skills include:
- Focus and self-control.
- Critical thinking
- Taking on challenges
Why should you teach life skills?
When people assimilate life skills they become engaged, educated, and capable of taking responsibility for themselves and their communities.
Healthy societies depend on citizens who are, among other things:
- People who are respectful of their rights and obligations
- Informed about social and political topics.
- Concerned for other people's well-being.
- Able to express their ideas and arguments clearly.
- Capable of making an impact on the rest of the planet.
- Active in their neighborhoods.
- Responsible for how they conduct themselves as people.
These abilities do not grow on their own, they must be learned. While some life skills may be learned through daily experiences at home or at work, they are insufficient to adequately prepare people for the active roles that they are expected to play in today's dynamic and diverse society.
How does teaching life skills benefit young people?
It aids in the development of self-esteem and the effective management of major life changes and challenges, such as bullying and prejudice. It empowers them to speak up at school, in their communities, and in society as a whole.
It prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life by providing them with the knowledge and experience they need to claim their rights and recognize their responsibilities.
What are the 6 essential skills to teach children?
Depending on your life circumstances, community, values, age, geographic place, and other factors, these skills can be more or less important to you. The World Health Organization established the following list of life skills in 1999:
- Interpersonal and communication skills. This generally describes the abilities required to get along with and work with others, especially the ability to send and receive written and verbal messages.
- Problem-solving and decision-making. This term refers to the abilities needed to analyze problems, find solutions to them (alone or with others), and then act on them.
- Critical and creative thought. This defines the ability to think about issues in new and unusual ways in order to find new solutions or create new ideas, as well as the ability to carefully analyze knowledge and consider its importance.
- Emotional intelligence (self-awareness and empathy). It’s important to know yourself and be able to empathize with others as if their experiences were your own.
- Self-control, assertiveness, and equanimity. These are the abilities needed to defend yourself and others while remaining calm in the face of provocation.
- Resilience and problem-solving skills. These refer to the ability to bounce back from losses and see them as learning opportunities or simply experiences.
10 Activities to develop life skills in the classroom
Many teachers have established a strong emphasis on connectivity and digital literacy in today's digitally enhanced world. In and out of school, our children are spending an increasing amount of time on their computers so it's even more critical that we don't overlook certain life skills, especially those related to human interaction.
Encourage students to identify and talk about their feelings. This has the added advantage of improving language skills. This can be accomplished by simple games. Miming emotions is a well-known cultural practice in which students mime how they are feeling, and the other students guess the adjective.
Alternatively, students can use correct adjectives to mark emoticons projected on the board or on a worksheet (you can create one using websites like getemoji). Then, using the emoticons, ask students to share stories. You might also give them a story to work on before asking them to write their own.
Include activities that enable learners to collaborate and solve problems together. Asking them to make a mood poster is a good place to start. They can create a poster or Venn diagram in which they map various emotions in small groups, such as happy, excited, worried, angry, and so on.
Posters can be hung on the wall. In a class, every now and then, ask students to work in pairs and use the mood posters they created to indicate how they are feeling. They can discuss why they are feeling this way, and their partner can empathize or provide advice to help them feel better.
Assist students in recognizing and empathizing with others' emotions. This can be accomplished through stories and creative experiences that encourage students to put themselves in other people's shoes. You can show a snapshot of people in interesting situations to your students.
Ask them to pretend to be one of the people in the picture. What are their thoughts? How might they be feeling? Students can share their thoughts before engaging in a role play in which they pretend to be the characters in the pictures or by writing a story reflecting on the other person’s experience.
Becoming aware of what you don't know
Admitting to ourselves and others that we do not know something is a valuable ability, but it can be challenging for both high-achieving and failing students. Motivating students to ask questions in the classroom is one way to effectively cultivate this ability. Many students might say that they have no questions at first once you’ve finished reviewing a topic.
Being wrong is okay
Even the brightest students have trouble advocating for themselves. To encourage students to develop this habit, create a risk-free atmosphere in the classroom, where giving an incorrect response is seen as an opportunity for development and reflection rather than a source of shame. In class discussions, spend just as much time discussing incorrect answers and why students make them as you do with correct answers.
It is the teacher’s responsibility to assist students in learning, but it is the student’s responsibility to inform the teacher if they don’t understand something. Students are more likely to share areas of misunderstanding or ask for clarification when teachers create a safe place to ask questions.
Teachers should intentionally teach a growth mentality at school. A way this can be done is by holding goal-setting sessions and discussing what to do if the results aren't as anticipated. Individual discussions should go as follows: Fantastic outcome. What are you going to do now to build on this and continue to grow?
It improves student relationships, and students increase their progress. It takes time, but it teaches young people to set achievable goals and continue to build upon them.
Students benefit from having meaningful, long-lasting discussions. Students' ability to closely read an extended nonfiction text, perform and simplify analysis, contribute to a topic-centered meeting, and synthesize results can be assessed in chat rooms exercises.
While speaking and listening are the primary focus of this activity, participants will have the opportunity to explain their interpretation of the text and research. Students can host a meeting with three peers about a subject on a designated day.
They can talk about the facts and incorporate the article into the conversation. Suddenly, the moderator is in the middle of a mature discussion of fair participants. Rotate the positions and do it again!
Ask difficult questions
Invite students to investigate a subject they’ve always wanted to learn more about. Questions of this type could be asked:
- Are disabilities illnesses or gifts?
- What motivates people to achieve success?
- In today's world, should we be selfless or selfish?
Students should look for and read a couple of books or sources that will help them get closer to a solution. Students could then use innovative projects to present their results. This exercise can help students investigate challenging questions, find satisfying answers, and understand others.
Perfect tool to help your students build life skills
If you are looking to help build life skills then you should check out Studyo, a digital planning tool that helps students become autonomous and organized. Our school planner:
- Enhances student autonomy with preparation tools within a Learning Management System. Studyo helps the user in and out of the classroom by allowing him/her to self-manage, take initiative, and confidently solve problems.
- Encourages the user to set next steps to help them start their work on time. In Google Classroom, the user can now stay on track and prepare ahead.
When users are given a straightforward direction to follow, they are more likely to excel. Progress monitoring, customizable templates, and step-by-step assignment breakdowns are all included in our planner, making it simple to keep organized and plan out schoolwork.
Studyo enables you to form the variables under your authority in order to prepare the user for academic and lifetime success. Our dashboard assists you in getting there by highlighting problems and trends that serve as roadblocks to success.
Every day of the school year, approximately 90% of users spend 15-30 minutes with their planners. This allows students to build healthy study habits, focus on learning, and ultimately gain confidence when taking on large projects. Don’t hesitate to book a demo or contact us if you have any questions!