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Importance Of Life Skills

The Importance Of Life Skills

Written by Patrick Quigley

  • Are life skills important?
  • What is the importance of life skills in education?
  • What is the role of the teacher in life skills education?
  • What are the benefits of life skills education?
  • Have you ever considered these important questions?

What are Life Skills?

Importance of Life skills describe basic abilities acquired through direct life experience or learning.  They help us handle issues and problems often encountered in daily life. Humans are social animals. We live in groups. The population of Mumbai is 21 million, that’s a big group. What kind of skills do you need to live in a big group? What kind of skills to you need to live in a small group, or even alone? Are they the same?

Life skills include decision-making skills, effective communication and collaboration skills, time management skills for kids, student self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, along with social and personal responsibility that contribute to being a great citizen. These are all very necessary for healthy societies and happy people.

Life skills focus on subjects that are complicated, topical, real, controversial, sensitive and moral. They also focus on practical things like changing a lightbulb, managing finances, washing socks, saving the planet and making a really good masala dosa with out of this world chutney!

Why Are Important of Life Skills?

Life skills like decision-making skills and effective communication skills are not important at all and we don’t need them, we can just watch TV and eat chips and ice cream all day and everything will be fine. Or no, hang on a second, can we? Let’s think about that for a second. Let´s critically evaluate what I just said.

If we sit around watching TV and eating junk all day we will become very unhealthy in both body and mind. Right? But if we exercise, eat smart and look after ourselves we will be fitter and smarter and if we are fitter and smarter we will be happier? Right? Oh, I don´t know… you do the math!

Students have to make decisions all the time. Decision-making skills teach students how to become proficient in choosing between two or more alternatives. Decisions can be made once you process all the information available to you and speak with the stakeholders involved in a certain situation.

It’s important to identify processes that help you make the best decision as well as make an effort to uncover hidden biases that may affect the outcome. Something as simple as listing the advantages and disadvantages of outcomes can be helpful as well as brainstorming and researching.

Effective communication skills hone active listening skills, respect, open mindedness, confidence, clarity and conciseness anh ability to give and receive praise and feedback.

What Do Life Skills Give You?

Skills like time management skills for kids, student self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills and critical and creative thinking skills, give you the ability to adapt to situations, persevere and constantly reevaluate, reassess and restructure your life to make the most out of it for yourself and others in your world.

Time management skills help achieve a harmonious work life balance and make time for what’s important as well as ensuring assignments are handed in on time and you have enough time to help out mom in the kitchen from time to time. Self-awareness could be connected to mindfulness activities, meditation, yoga, tai chi or learning how to disassociate from problems and develop empathy. Interpersonal relationship skills develop fantastic verbal and non-verbal communication and are essential in all walks of life.

Critical thinking skills allow students to comprehend and address situations based on the available information and facts. Critical thinking involves organizing and processing facts, information and other data to outline a problem and develop effective resolutions.

Creative thinking skills

Creative thinking is a skill which allows us to reconsider things from a fresh perspective and new angles. It’s an innovative thought process which results in surprising deductions and new ways of doing things. Creative thinking can be aided by lateral thinking or brainstorming to create ideas.

Creative Thinking Skills.
Creative Thinking Skills

Are Teachers Important?

The role of a teacher in life skills education cannot be underestimated. Teachers teach life skills by sharing personal experiences and asking students to reflect on their own goals and progress. They provide students with ways of solving problems and encourage students to use these ways. Teachers provide tried and tested models and allow students to explore these models to solve problems e.g. the SMART model for achieving a goal. Your plan should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Recordable and Timebound.

This is an excellent model for students to work with to achieve their aspirations. Life skills lists are diverse and broad and meeting the challenges of everyday life involves an understanding of their importance. Different life skills play a role at different points in our lives and depending on where you live or what you do and who you are they will have different levels of importance. Children learn from a very young age and even time management skills for kids and interpersonal relationship skills can be learnt at a young age.

A Bad Carpenter Blames Her Tools

Life skills are tools that should be developed consistently. In doing so, you’ll transform your future for the better by transforming your interpersonal relationship skills. These include verbal and non-verbal communication, listening, manners, questioning, problem solving, social awareness, conflict resolution, reflection, relationship building skills and understanding skills. You will develop your charisma, body language and assertiveness and become a better team player.

Life skills bring out the best in you and your relationships. They make you a better student, a better parent, a better friend, a better listener and they contribute to your overall health, wealth and happiness. We can never underestimate the power of life skills.

Give Us The Tools And We’ll Finish The job!

At Shiminly for the last year we have chosen six themes for six age groups and we have delved deep into helping kids look deeper into their own lives, the values they have and the choices they make. We are giving the community the tools they need to build better lives…together.

Shiminly have provided free workshops to kids of all ages in India for the last year because we value the importance of life skills in education and the immense benefits of life skills education especially decision-making skills, effective communication, student self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills as well as critical and creative thinking,

See, Smell, Touch, Taste, Hear and Think

Grades 1 – 2. The Five Senses. With five-year-old kids we have taught them to try to appreciate the beauty and wonder of life. To look at a flower or a sky or a normal daily thing and take it in at a more involved level. To really use their sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell to fully absorb the intensity of the moment in a full and rewarding way.

Great historical and religious figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha have taught that living in the moment and experiencing life in the here and now is of ultimate importance. Great meditators like the author Eckhart Tolle have written about it in books such as The Power of Now.

As busy adults we rarely take time to stop and reflect on the beauty all around us. The simplicity of nature everywhere in our midst, the awesomeness of friendships and the simple pleasures like good food and sweet music. Teaching kids about their senses and the appreciation of these is an excellent way to develop the life skill of just being, being here, right now. Are you here right now, reading this, thinking about my words or are you somewhere else?

Thanks For The Game, That Was A Lot Of Fun

The second life skill Shiminly teaches in our free workshops is the skill of good sportsmanship using effective communication and interpersonal relationship skills. Everyone needs to learn how to be a good sport. This is such an essential skill in life and something that we need from cradle to grave. Life can sometimes be a challenge and we are led to believe that the winner takes all but here at Shiminly we know that we learn from failure, we learn through our mistakes, we learn through humility and modesty and we know that winning isn’t everything.

We also know that it’s nice to be nice, in fact it’s very nice to be very nice so whether you win or lose or draw the important things happen on the journey and the destination is just a fleeting moment before we begin a new journey.

How important is humility and modesty? Who will have more joy in life, the gracious loser or the smug winner? Who will be more respected, more loved? Who will forge better relationships. Who will be happier in life? The Harvard Happiness study, one of the longest running studies ever undertaken shows us that aging well and leading a long and happy life is connected to the strength of your relationships and not the money you make or the fame you amass.

The Speed of Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion is the class we teach to fifth graders. This is a complex class that discusses social responsibility and awareness of global issues as well as advocating interpersonal relationship skills and critical and creative thinking. The clothing industry is a monster which is destroying the planet and pretending to care. We believe that kids need to explore what is really happening on Mother Earth and decide for themselves if changes need to be made.

The kids of today make the leaders of tomorrow. They should know that multinational profit-driven corporations exploit people in India and other developing nations. They should know, they should analyze the situation and we hope that they will grow up wanting to make a change for the benefit of all humanity.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Our workshop on stress and sports teaches kids about the importance of doing exercise to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit. Doing exercise, playing sport, being mindful, looking after yourself is of the utmost importance in life. Its value should be stressed at a very young age. Health is wealth.

Ethical Dilemmas in Artificial Intelligence

This workshop really pushes students´ boundaries and requires a lot of critical and creative thinking. How is the rapid advancement of technology affecting the Earth? Are humans being replaced by robots? Where is the future going and what can we do about it? Students use interpersonal skills to discuss these pertinent topical issues and it is a joy to hear kids´ visions of the future.

How To Choose A University.

This workshop is so much more than just choosing a university. It’s about how to make choices, how to research, how to look at the big picture, how to analyze, how to decide. While choosing a university can be one of the biggest decisions in a person’s life, learning how to make decisions is an even bigger skill.

This workshop is aimed at older students who are considering their future academic options but it makes them think outside the box and consider other important things related to finances, mental health, identity, student life, extracurricular activities, employment prospects, family expectations

In Conclusion

I hope the information on our workshops has given you an insight into two things. The importance of life skills and why we here at Shiminly are focusing on decision-making skills, effective communication, time management skills for kids, student self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills and critical and creative thinking,

I hope I have also related the importance of life skills in education and the benefits of life skills education, as well as the role of teacher in life skill education.

We have one life and to be successful and happy and healthy and able to achieve our dreams requires skills. We are not born with these skills, we achieve them through trial and error, success and failure and most of all we learn them by discussing them, exploring them and trying them out in the real world constantly all through our precious lives.

Patrick Quiqley is a facilitator at Shiminly. He is from Ireland and has been teaching for twenty years in Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

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Chris is from Devon, in the south of England. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for over six years and has taught in China, the UK, Hungary and Spain. He has a background in Music and studied Composition at the RSAMD in Glasgow, Trinity Laban in London and at the University of York. After finishing his master’s at York, he travelled to China to teach and fell in love with it. He has been teaching ever since.

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