A skill is the knowledge and ability that enables us to do something well. We all continuously use various types of skills in our daily routine life. We all have two types of life skills
(1) Natural life skills, and
(2) learned life skills.
We get natural life skills by birth from our heredity whereas skills those are learned by us from our environment or society through experiences are called learned life skills. Knowledge regarding the life skills is essential for a teacher dealing with students. This article describes the types, importance, need and significance of life skills education for prospective teachers and discusses the various strategies and methodologies to impart life skill education among prospective teachers.
Life skills are defined in the Targeting Life Skills (TLS) Model (Hendricks, 1996) as “Skills that help an individual be successful in living a productive and satisfying life.” The World Health Organisation (1993) has defined life skills as, “the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. UNICEF defines life skills as “a behaviour change or behaviour development approach designed to address a balance of three areas: knowledge, attitude and skills”.
The Ten core life skills as laid down by WHO are:
1. Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is an ability to analyse information and experiences in an objective manner.
2. Creative Thinking: Creative thinking is a novel way of seeing or doing things. It has one of the four components – fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration.
3. Decision Making: Decision making helps us to deal constructively with decisions about our lives.
4. Problem Solving: Problem solving helps us to deal constructively with problems in our lives.
5. Self Awareness: Self awareness is the ability to understand our strengths, weaknesses, values, outlook, character, desires and dislikes.(self-identity, self-confidence, ego identity, self-esteem).
6. Effective Communication: Effective communication is the ability to express, both verbally and non-verbally in ways that are culturally acceptable.
7. Interpersonal Relationship: Skills help us to relate in positive ways with the people we interact with.
8. Empathy: Ability to understand and accept others. Empathy is the ability to imagine what life is like for another person. Empathy helps us to accept others, who may be very different from ourselves.
9. Coping with Stress: It means recognising the sources of stress in our lives, recognising how this affects us and acting in ways that help us control our level of stress.
10. Coping with Emotions : It means involving, recognising emotions within us and others, being aware of how emotions influence behaviour and being able to respond to emotions appropriately
Significance of Life Skill Education for Teacher Trainees
a)To be able to explore alternatives.
b)To provide inner power and strength to deal with life.
c)To analysis their potential.
d)To be able to understand self and assess their skills, abilities and areas of development which enables them to analyse their capacity to enhance the function in a most productive way.
e) Weigh pros and cons.
f) Make rational decision. To be able to foresee the consequence of different decisions. No decision is also a decision.
g) To be able to tolerate ambiguity and willing to change their priorities as per the requirement.
h) To be able to establish productive interpersonal relationship with others.
I) Lay the foundation for good health and mental well being.
j) Help to prevent the psychological disturbance.
k) Communicate effectively.
l) Be assertive.
m) To be able to take positive action to protect themselves and to promote health and meaningful social relationship.
n) To be able to adjust with their environment and to solve the conflict.
o) Ability to take everything in the right sense.
p) To be helpful in developing 4H i.e., Head , Heart, Hand and Health.
q) To prepare responsible citizens.
NCF-2005 has following expectations about preparation of teachers.
1. Teacher must be co-operative, feel belongingness, respect other groups and respect democratic values.
2. Teacher must realise the need to upgrade continuous knowledge.
3. Teacher must have ability to communicate clearly and think logically to understand the world around him/her and to fulfil social responsibility towards National development.
4. Teacher should be emotionally developed, happy and cheerful.
5. Teacher should guide her/his students to think.
Various methods can be used to enhance life skills among teacher trainees/prospective teachers:
1. Heard and said method: Discussion, Brainstorming, Buzz session, Quiz, Debates , Story telling.
2. Self-learning method : Experiment, Programmed learning.
3. Action-oriented method: Case study, Simulation, Role play, Games.
4. Mixed method :Workshop, Seminar.