College Papers

Empowering period of heightened emotionality which calls for

Empowering
Adolescents through Life Skills Education

                                         
Dr. Manju Joseph & Mrs.Jincy Johny              

Abstract

Adolescence is a
period of rapid and revolutionary changes in the individual’s physical, mental,
moral, emotional, spiritual, sexual and social outlook. It is a period in which
the human personality develops new dimensions. Adolescence is a process rather
than a period, a process of achieving the attitudes and beliefs needed for
effective participation in society. It is a period of heightened emotionality
which calls for awareness towards personal and emotional adjustment. They are
unaware of the storm and stress that they undergo. Their school work suffers,
they quarrel with their friends and family when they are emotionally disturbed.
Hence, personal and emotional adjustments are needed to ease their emotional
tension. During this
period, they face
many issues such as famines, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual
abuse, smoking, juvenile delinquency, anti-social acts, etc. that have an adverse
effect on them and others too, to a large extent. These challenges require immediate
and effective responses from a socially responsible system of education.

Education
is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing these problems. It is
important in this period, to support adolescents to live better. Life Skills Education
bridges the gap between basic functioning and capabilities of the adolescents
and also strengthens the ability of an individual to meet the needs and demands
of the present society (Prajapathi, Sharma and Sharma, 2017). Imparting Life Skill
training through inculcating Life Skill Education will help youth to overcome such
difficulties in  their life.

In the
present paper the investigators go through the importance of life skills,
various life skills and Adolescent’s empowerment through the Life Skills Education.

 

Keywords: Life Skills Education, Adolescents

 

Introduction

 

Adolescence is a crucial phase in human life. It is a critical period of
rapid physical, mental and social and emotional development. This stage
involves a number of tasks and challenges that must be talked for successful
adult living. Adolescence have diverse needs and demands but their needs are
not fulfilled by our social system and they experience gab between school and out
of school reality. These lacuna in the education which is more obvious as in
the form of drug abuse, suicides, depression, violence, declined value system,
stressful competition, irresponsible sex 
and consequent  risks.     

            Life skill education is a basic
learning need for all learners. It will help the learners to empower in
challenging situations. Various skills like leadership, responsibility,
communication, intellectual capacity self esteem, interpersonal skills etc
extends  its maximum level, if it is
practicing effectively  among the
learners, we need to create life skill education as the cornerstone of various
education programmes. Keeping in mind the new advantages and new challenges,
this paper discusses  certain
strategies  of developing  life skills among adolescents for equipping
them for the global village of 21st century.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Need and Significance

 

Life skills are essential for the promotion of healthy child and
adolescent development; primary prevention of some key causes of child and
adolescent death, disease and disability and socialisation. Facilitating the
learning of life skills is the central component of programmes designed to
promote healthy behaviour and mental well-being. Life skills education needs to
develop as part of a whole school initiative, designed to support the healthy
psycho social development of children and adolescents, through the promotion of
child-friendly practices in schools.

 

Education systems have not typically focused on behaviour change. A
history of content or knowledge focus in education systems presents a
significant challenge to advocating for, and implementing life skills
approaches. In this context, the higher goal is behavioural change, and so the
life skill approach is distinct in not presenting all the information that
there is to know about a topic, but rather , presents only that information
considered necessary to influencing attitudes and achieving the higher goal of
reducing risk behaviours and promoting positive behaviour.

 

Life skills help in the application of knowledge, attitudes and values.
It promotes self confidence and helps in the assessment of behaviour patterns.
It will help equip ourselves for modernization, urbanization and globalization.
It promotes social cohesiveness, peaceful living life styles and international
understanding. The knowledge of life skills enhances the social behaviour of individual
and promotes social adjustment and understanding. Life skills develop
self-expression and gaining experiences to learn problem-solving abilities. So
it must become part of the educational process.

 

Significance of life skills are:

§   
Life skills help adolescents deal effectively
with real life situations.

§   
Adolescents require analytical skills to make
decisions, solve problems, become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, set
certain goals for themselves, and to gear their efforts towards achieving these
goals.

§   
Social skills help adolescents establish
positive relationships with other people and help them in communicating
effectively with peers, adults and others in the society.

§   
Negotiating skills are required to resist peer
pressures, temptations and to make mutual compromises.

Objectives of the paper

 

To mention about life skill education

 

To mention about important life skills

 

·        
To mention about Adolescent’s empowerment through the
Life Skills  Education.

 

(i)                
Life Skills Education

 

A
skill is a learned ability to do something well. Life skills are abilities,
individuals can learn that will help them to live a fruitful life. Life skills
are defined as “Skills that help an individual be successful in living a productive
and satisfying life” (Hendricks, 1996). Life Skills Education refers to an
interactive process of teaching and learning which enables learners to acquire
knowledge and to develop attitudes and skills which support the adoption of
healthy behaviours (UNICEF).

 

Life skill education aims to provide students with strategies to make
healthy choices that contribute to a meaningful life. It is a value addition
programme for the youth to understand self and able to assess their skills,
abilities and areas of developments. It also enables them to analyze their
capacity to enhance the function in a most productive way. Life skill education
allows the youth to get along with other people, able to adjust with their
environment and making responsible decision. It also incorporate to build up
their values and to communicate effectively. The main objective of life skill
education is to enable the learner to develop a concept of oneself as a person
of worth and dignity. It should help one to understand oneself and lead to growth
in personal responsibility. Life skill education is a basic learning need for
all young people. It will help the young people to empower in challenging
situations.

Life skills education should enable children and adolescents to practice
skills in progressively more demanding situations. An effective implementation
strategy will help the youth to practice it in their life. Specific activities
like leadership training, communication interaction, understanding self, making
decisions, working with groups, socialization etc. add the quality of youth.
Life skills education contributes to basic education, gender equality,
democracy, good citizenship, childcare and protection, quality and efficiency
of the education system, the promotion of lifelong learning, quality of life
and the promotion of peace (Karpagam, 2012).

 

Skills based approaches in life skills education follows well established
mentoring techniques to develop students’ innate quality and also motivating
them to adopt socially acceptable pattern of life styles particularly, strategy
consisting of a group of people combined together to help themselves by
identifying their talents and directing them to choose an appropriate steps to
enhance their skill and abilities as a part of development. Through life skilsl
education one can move towards a more positive and holistic approaches in order
to educate the new generations and through them the future generations (Nair,
2010).

 

It is widely agreed that life skills are generally applied in the context
of health and social events. They can be utilized in many areas including:
relationship management, interpersonal communications, consumer education,
environmental education, and livelihood and income generation, among others.

            It is an accepted fact that young
people have a right to life skills education, since it provides them with
knowledge and enables them to acquire appropriate skills to protect themselves
against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted
diseases and HIV/AIDS.

 

(ii)              
Important Life
Skills

 

          UNICEF,
UNESCO and WHO list the ten core life skills strategies and techniques as:
Problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication skills,
decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship skills,
self-awareness building skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions.

 

They can be categorized under three main
categories

 

Thinking Skills

Social Skills

Negotiation Skills

§ 
Self awareness
§ 
Problem solving
§ 
Decision making
§ 
Critical thinking
§ 
Creative thinking

§ 
Interpersonal relationships
§ 
Effective Communication
§ 
Empathy

§ 
Managing feelings/emotions
§ 
Coping with stress

 

Self-awareness
includes recognition of one’s ‘self’, of one’s character, of one’s
strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Developing self-awareness
can help one to identify the feeling of stress or being under pressure. It
is also often a prerequisite to effective communication and interpersonal
relations, as well as developing empathy for others. Self – awareness
should be encouraged in the light of realizing self-worth/esteem and
confidence.
Critical
thinking is an ability to analyze information and experiences in an
objective manner. Critical thinking can contribute to health by helping
one to recognize and assess the factors that influence attitudes and
behaviour, such as values, peer pressure, and the media.
Problem
solving enables a person to deal constructively with problems in
his/her life. Problems left unresolved can cause mental stress and give
rise to physical strain.
Creative
thinking contributes to both decision-making and problem solving by
enabling us to explore the available alternatives and various consequences
of our actions or non-action. It helps us to look beyond our direct
experience, and even if no problem is identified, or no decision is to be
made, creative thinking can help a person to respond most appropriately
and adapt with flexibility to various situations/exigencies of our daily
lives.
Decision-making
helps us to deal constructively with decisions about our lives. Making
an appropriate decision generates ripples of positive consequences for the
health and well-being of oneself. It is most rewarding when health
behaviours are modified during youth, when habits are still being learnt.
Interpersonal
relationship as skills help a person relate to the people surrounding
him/her. This may mean being able to make and maintain friendly
relationships, which can be of great value to our mental and social
well-being. It may also mean having good relations with family members,
who are an important source of social support.
Effective
communication means that we are able to express ourselves, both
verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are relevant to the situation and
culturally appropriate. This means being able to express opinions and
desires, but also needs and fears. And it may mean being able to ask for
advice and offer help during time of need.
Empathy is
the ability to imagine a situation that another is experiencing despite
possessing familiarity with that situation. Empathy can help us understand
and accept others who may be very different from ourselves. Empathy can
significantly improve ones social interactions, for example, in situations
of ethnic or cultural diversity, it facilitates in relating to people of
various cultures and origin as well as being sensitive to their value
system(s).
Managing
feelings and emotions includes skills to express feelings and emotions
in a socially acceptable manner and essentially includes control and
management of anger and stress.
Coping with
stress means that we take pro-active steps to reduce the sources of
the stress, for example, by making changes to our physical environment or
lifestyle. It also means learning how to relax so that tensions created by
unavoidable stress do not give rise to health problems.

 

(iii)Adolescent’s
empowerment through the Life Skills Education

The idea of teaching Life
Skills is not brand new, but in the last few years, it has drawn more
attention, because of the federal mandates for more standardized education and
higher expectations. Critical parts of teaching Life Skills have focused on several
areas of adult preparation. Life Skills’ content itself should be integrated
with scholastic abilities and social skills, and potentially offer training in
Personal Finance, Health and Hygiene, and Practical Communications. To
facilitate these opportunities, teachers should partner and seek support from
business owners that might offer their workplace for job placement
opportunities. 

 

In order to promote an educational
environment that encourages students to develop problem solving skills,
“teachers should create a psychologically safe environment that encourages
students to express opinions and to defend answers” (Lombardi & Savage, 1994).
Teachers also must be models of good listening, respect, and possess the
willingness to allow their own erroneous thinking to be questioned. These
beliefs should be supported by the philosophy that ‘thinking skills can be
taught’, and ‘all children are capable of thinking at abstract levels, although
the quality of thinking may differ’.

 

Different activities that can be used to enhance
Life Skills in Students are as follows:

·        
Classroom
Discussions: It enables students to deepen their
understanding of the topic and personalize their connection to it. Classroom
discussions help to develop skills, in listening, assertiveness, and empathy.

·        
Brainstorming: Brainstorming allows students to generate ideas quickly and spontaneously.
It helps students use their imagination. It is essential to evaluate the pros
and cons of each idea according to certain criteria.

·        
Role Plays: Along with being a fun activity and involves whole
class, to be active and participative, it also provides an excellent strategy
for practicing skills; experiencing how one might handle a potential situation
in real life; increasing empathy for others and their point of view; and
increasing insight into own feelings.

·        
Groups: Groups are helpful when the time is limited as it
maximizes student input. Allows students interactions, allows to, know, one
another better which in a way enhances team building and team work.

·        
Educational
Games and Simulations: It promotes
fun, active learning, and rich discussion as participants work hard to prove
their points or earn points. They require the combined use of knowledge,
attitudes, and skills and allow students to test out assumptions and abilities
in a relatively safe environment.

·        
Analysis of
Situation and Case Studies: It gives a
chance, to analyze, explore, challenges, dilemmas and safely test solutions
for; providing opportunities for working together in groups, sharing idea, new
learning and gives insight and promotes sometimes to see things differently. 

 

Conclusion

 

Life skills and life skill
based education is help adolescents to deal effectively with real life
situations. Adolescents require analytical skills to make decisions, solve
problems, become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, set certain goals for
themselves, and to gear their efforts towards achieving these goals. Social
skills help adolescents establish positive relationships with other people and
help them in communicating effectively with peers, adults and others in the
society. Negotiating skills are required to resist peer pressures, temptations
and to make mutual compromises. And through the life skills education our
younger generation will empower and it leads to the development of the nation.

 

References

 

·         
Karpagam,
S (2012). An Introduction to Education
and Life Skills. Thiruvananthapuram: Council for Teacher Education South
Zone.

·         
Nair,
V.R (2010). Life Skills, Personality and
Leadership. Sriperumbudur: Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth
Development.

·         
Prajapathi,R.,
Sharma, B. and Sharma, D.(2017). Significance of Life Skills Education. Contemporary Issues in Education Research
– First Quarter 2017 Volume 10, Number 1. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1126842.pdf

·         
Vranda, M., & Rao, M. (2011). Life Skills Education for Young
Adolescents and Indian Experience. Journal of  The Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 37(Special
Issue), 9-15. Retrieved from http://repository.um.edu.my/18138/1/jiaap%20halim%20santosh%202011.pdf

·         
World Health Organization. Life skills education: planning for research.
Geneva, WHO, 1996. 72 p.

·         
http://4hembryology.psu.edu/lifeskills.htm

·         
 http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content=view=266=136

·         
http://www.unicef.org/lifeskills/

·         
http://www.aidsconsortium.org.uk/Education/Education%20downloads/life_skills_new_small_version.pdf

·         
http://www.unicef.org/teachers/teacher/index.cfml

 

Authors

Dr. Manju Joseph                                                                 Mrs. Jincy Johny

Assistant Professor,                                                               Research
Scholar,

P.G. Department in Education,                                           St.Thomas
College Pala,

St. Thomas College of Teacher
Education, Pala                Kottayam(Dist.),Kerala-686575

Kottayam(Dist.), Kerala-686575 

e-mail:[email protected]