EmpoweringAdolescents through Life Skills Education Dr. Manju Joseph & Mrs.Jincy Johny AbstractAdolescence is aperiod of rapid and revolutionary changes in the individual’s physical, mental,moral, emotional, spiritual, sexual and social outlook.
It is a period in whichthe human personality develops new dimensions. Adolescence is a process ratherthan a period, a process of achieving the attitudes and beliefs needed foreffective participation in society. It is a period of heightened emotionalitywhich calls for awareness towards personal and emotional adjustment.
They areunaware 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 emotionaltension. During thisperiod, they facemany issues such as famines, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexualabuse, smoking, juvenile delinquency, anti-social acts, etc. that have an adverseeffect on them and others too, to a large extent. These challenges require immediateand effective responses from a socially responsible system of education. Educationis one of the most powerful instruments for reducing these problems.
It isimportant in this period, to support adolescents to live better. Life Skills Educationbridges the gap between basic functioning and capabilities of the adolescentsand also strengthens the ability of an individual to meet the needs and demandsof the present society (Prajapathi, Sharma and Sharma, 2017). Imparting Life Skilltraining through inculcating Life Skill Education will help youth to overcome suchdifficulties in their life. In thepresent 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 ofrapid physical, mental and social and emotional development.
This stageinvolves a number of tasks and challenges that must be talked for successfuladult living. Adolescence have diverse needs and demands but their needs arenot fulfilled by our social system and they experience gab between school and outof school reality. These lacuna in the education which is more obvious as inthe form of drug abuse, suicides, depression, violence, declined value system,stressful competition, irresponsible sex and consequent risks. Life skill education is a basiclearning need for all learners. It will help the learners to empower inchallenging situations. Various skills like leadership, responsibility,communication, intellectual capacity self esteem, interpersonal skills etcextends its maximum level, if it ispracticing effectively among thelearners, we need to create life skill education as the cornerstone of variouseducation programmes.
Keeping in mind the new advantages and new challenges,this paper discusses certainstrategies of developing life skills among adolescents for equippingthem for the global village of 21st century. Need and Significance Life skills are essential for the promotion of healthy child andadolescent development; primary prevention of some key causes of child andadolescent death, disease and disability and socialisation. Facilitating thelearning of life skills is the central component of programmes designed topromote healthy behaviour and mental well-being. Life skills education needs todevelop as part of a whole school initiative, designed to support the healthypsycho social development of children and adolescents, through the promotion ofchild-friendly practices in schools. Education systems have not typically focused on behaviour change. Ahistory of content or knowledge focus in education systems presents asignificant challenge to advocating for, and implementing life skillsapproaches.
In this context, the higher goal is behavioural change, and so thelife skill approach is distinct in not presenting all the information thatthere is to know about a topic, but rather , presents only that informationconsidered necessary to influencing attitudes and achieving the higher goal ofreducing 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 internationalunderstanding. The knowledge of life skills enhances the social behaviour of individualand promotes social adjustment and understanding. Life skills developself-expression and gaining experiences to learn problem-solving abilities. Soit must become part of the educational process. Significance of life skills are:§ Life skills help adolescents deal effectivelywith real life situations.§ Adolescents require analytical skills to makedecisions, solve problems, become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, setcertain goals for themselves, and to gear their efforts towards achieving thesegoals.§ Social skills help adolescents establishpositive relationships with other people and help them in communicatingeffectively with peers, adults and others in the society.§ Negotiating skills are required to resist peerpressures, 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 theLife Skills Education. (i) Life Skills Education Askill 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 skillsare defined as “Skills that help an individual be successful in living a productiveand satisfying life” (Hendricks, 1996). Life Skills Education refers to aninteractive process of teaching and learning which enables learners to acquireknowledge and to develop attitudes and skills which support the adoption ofhealthy behaviours (UNICEF). Life skill education aims to provide students with strategies to makehealthy choices that contribute to a meaningful life.
It is a value additionprogramme for the youth to understand self and able to assess their skills,abilities and areas of developments. It also enables them to analyze theircapacity to enhance the function in a most productive way. Life skill educationallows the youth to get along with other people, able to adjust with theirenvironment and making responsible decision.
It also incorporate to build uptheir values and to communicate effectively. The main objective of life skilleducation is to enable the learner to develop a concept of oneself as a personof worth and dignity. It should help one to understand oneself and lead to growthin personal responsibility. Life skill education is a basic learning need forall young people. It will help the young people to empower in challengingsituations. Life skills education should enable children and adolescents to practiceskills in progressively more demanding situations. An effective implementationstrategy will help the youth to practice it in their life. Specific activitieslike leadership training, communication interaction, understanding self, makingdecisions, 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 efficiencyof the education system, the promotion of lifelong learning, quality of lifeand the promotion of peace (Karpagam, 2012). Skills based approaches in life skills education follows well establishedmentoring techniques to develop students’ innate quality and also motivatingthem to adopt socially acceptable pattern of life styles particularly, strategyconsisting of a group of people combined together to help themselves byidentifying their talents and directing them to choose an appropriate steps toenhance their skill and abilities as a part of development. Through life skilsleducation one can move towards a more positive and holistic approaches in orderto educate the new generations and through them the future generations (Nair,2010). It is widely agreed that life skills are generally applied in the contextof 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 youngpeople have a right to life skills education, since it provides them withknowledge and enables them to acquire appropriate skills to protect themselvesagainst abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitteddiseases and HIV/AIDS. (ii) Important LifeSkills 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 maincategories 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’sempowerment through the Life Skills EducationThe idea of teaching LifeSkills is not brand new, but in the last few years, it has drawn moreattention, because of the federal mandates for more standardized education andhigher expectations. Critical parts of teaching Life Skills have focused on severalareas of adult preparation. Life Skills’ content itself should be integratedwith scholastic abilities and social skills, and potentially offer training inPersonal Finance, Health and Hygiene, and Practical Communications. Tofacilitate these opportunities, teachers should partner and seek support frombusiness owners that might offer their workplace for job placementopportunities. In order to promote an educationalenvironment that encourages students to develop problem solving skills,”teachers should create a psychologically safe environment that encouragesstudents to express opinions and to defend answers” (Lombardi & Savage, 1994).Teachers also must be models of good listening, respect, and possess thewillingness to allow their own erroneous thinking to be questioned. Thesebeliefs should be supported by the philosophy that ‘thinking skills can betaught’, and ‘all children are capable of thinking at abstract levels, althoughthe quality of thinking may differ’. Different activities that can be used to enhanceLife Skills in Students are as follows:· ClassroomDiscussions: It enables students to deepen theirunderstanding of the topic and personalize their connection to it.
Classroomdiscussions 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 prosand cons of each idea according to certain criteria.· Role Plays: Along with being a fun activity and involves wholeclass, to be active and participative, it also provides an excellent strategyfor practicing skills; experiencing how one might handle a potential situationin real life; increasing empathy for others and their point of view; andincreasing insight into own feelings.· Groups: Groups are helpful when the time is limited as itmaximizes student input.
Allows students interactions, allows to, know, oneanother better which in a way enhances team building and team work.· EducationalGames and Simulations: It promotesfun, active learning, and rich discussion as participants work hard to provetheir points or earn points. They require the combined use of knowledge,attitudes, and skills and allow students to test out assumptions and abilitiesin a relatively safe environment.· Analysis ofSituation and Case Studies: It gives achance, to analyze, explore, challenges, dilemmas and safely test solutionsfor; providing opportunities for working together in groups, sharing idea, newlearning and gives insight and promotes sometimes to see things differently. Conclusion Life skills and life skillbased education is help adolescents to deal effectively with real lifesituations. Adolescents require analytical skills to make decisions, solveproblems, become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, set certain goals forthemselves, and to gear their efforts towards achieving these goals. Socialskills help adolescents establish positive relationships with other people andhelp them in communicating effectively with peers, adults and others in thesociety.
Negotiating skills are required to resist peer pressures, temptationsand to make mutual compromises. And through the life skills education ouryounger generation will empower and it leads to the development of the nation. References · Karpagam,S (2012). An Introduction to Educationand Life Skills.
Thiruvananthapuram: Council for Teacher Education SouthZone.· Nair,V.R (2010). Life Skills, Personality andLeadership.
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pdf· http://www.unicef.org/teachers/teacher/index.cfml AuthorsDr. Manju Joseph Mrs. Jincy JohnyAssistant Professor, ResearchScholar,P.G. Department in Education, St.
ThomasCollege Pala,St. Thomas College of TeacherEducation, Pala Kottayam(Dist.),Kerala-686575Kottayam(Dist.), Kerala-686575 e-mail:[email protected]