Of late there has been lot of buzz on life skills(LS) and their integration with academics (and yes by life skills I mean the same ten LS which have been defined by WHO...) The last time I was talking to some senior educationist about LS being the core ingredient of education, they looked at me with a puzzled expression and corrected me, Ma'am you mean core life skills, life skills are different and tried to explain me the difference between the two...
In my four years of grass root work in education, (by grass root, I mean teaching students myself , have taught over 8000 students in both urban and rural schools through programs developed by our small team of experts) where I have tried various methods in which LS can be integrated with academics, I suddenly had my eureka moment some time back and realized at Life Skills are the essence of life. They can not be separated from life at any cost so how can we teach them to children in schools. (I know some of you must be wondering from where is this coming, there is nothing new in it, but you see our education system has been developed in such a way that every aspect of education has been compartmentalized and thus making it very difficult to see the big picture)
We as student read in History about World War I then World War II and so on,major events which were interconnected between the two wars, but somewhere teacher forgot to connect it with the present day scenario. How these major events that shook the world almost 100 years back actually accelerated the process of ever changing political world map. For that we then & students of today are asked to refer the newspaper (b'coz their teachers when students were taught the same way) and keep abreast with the so called current affairs. Leaving the student wondering what is he supposed to do with that extra set of information from newspaper.. how is it connected with me scoring marks in school exams.
The conundrum of an educationist (a class teacher is who I am referring to ) today is how does she/ he integrate these ever important life skills in day to day teaching. My question to everyone of you is please first understand Why suddenly there has been such a dire need to integrate them?
Life skills are the core of human existence. They are the reason why we are so called superior beings and now we are creating so much hula-bulla about getting them back in school.
In real time, they never went out of the teaching system, its just that we ignored them and put them in the back burner and gave the student the time and space to mull over the knowledge and information which was given to him in school to learn to apply it on his own once he reaches a certain age.
That technique is not wrong at all... Look at us, if it was wrong, we wouldn't have reached this level of interaction...But in today's scenario that's become obsolete!
Answer is simple- explosion and bombardment of information 24*7* 365 days via all streams of communication. Children know more than we know... so do they really need another human being giving them some piece of information like what are fossils and how are they made when they have already seen it 100 times in some movie or cartoon series or on a you tube educational video, before the teacher starts teaching it in classroom...
What the student wants to know is how should he be able to use this information for making his environment/ surroundings better. He wants to understand why are we as adult human beings not able to take any action to curb on the use of this fossil fuels when its actually hampering our ecosystem.
They want to know how should they learn to take the steps to solve these problems and not what is causing the problem.
That is what life skills are needed for!