By Lina Ashar, Founder, Kangaroo Kids & Billabong High
My definition of success is ‘ensuring that each child reaches their full potential across his/her cognitive, emotional, spiritual and physical domains and lives a life of fulfillment’. What’s your definition of success?
Children spend the most crucial years of life in school. This is the stage where they learn various life skills and form their beliefs based on their experiences. The onus of making sure they are imbibing the essential skills is on their parents and the schools.
Schools have a daunting task as they have the responsibility of nurturing more than 2000+ students at any given time. Each child comes from a different background,he/she goes through various situations of winning and losing; a lot of them perceive the same situation differently, they are also compared to each other, even body-shamed by peers, etc. It is a challenging task to control these situations, hence it is important to make sure children are taught how to deal with such situations when they arrive rather than giving in or falling down or being depressed.
The challenges faced by every educator are numerous. We are asked to have students ready for standardized board exams that don’t necessarily test what is going to be required for succeeding and thriving in today and tomorrow’s fast-paced world. How can parents and educators supplement and enrich the child’s school experience so that they do thrive in their lives and are responsible members of society?
I have been in the education field for over 26 years and over time I have realized that some aspects of life skills can become part of the curriculum and children subtly just imbibe them, while some are situational and will need to be dealt with when the situation arises. There are various kinds of life skills that a High Schooler should be introduced to:
- Everyday living skills
- Self-development skills
- Social skills
- Job-related skills
Here are a few ways in which you can teach life to high school students:
Everyday related skills
This includes daily chores, managing the house, managing finances, etc. which can be taught by giving your children weekend responsibilities at home where they are tasked with managing the whole house. While in school children can do an act of managing the classroom. Children can take turns at managing the food, cleaning, etc. once a week.
This includes activities like decision-making skills, self-reflection, goal setting, and critical thinking. Parents and schools can give children the freedom to make their own decisions and then point out to children the outcomes so that they can figure out where and how they went wrong or right. Children can also be asked to reflect on daily actions and then list down 3 good deeds and 3 bad deeds they did as pertheir understanding. This will make children conscious of what they are doing.
This includes building communication skills, teamwork, conflict resolution and more. Schools can make children collaborate on projects or in sports and assign each child with different activities so that they learn to deal with different people and learn how to communicate with each one of them.
This includes preparing children to deal with a corporate setup, giving interviews and projecting their skills to the best of their abilities. Schools can organize debates, mock interviews, help children in creating their profiles that talk about their achievements and more.
Parents’ Role in Developing Life Skills in Kids
One of the things parents need to keep in mind is as much as they would like to interfere and guide their child in understanding what is right and wrong, it is also important for their child to accept that decision. Parents need to curb the urge of interfering and being helicopter parents if they want to teach their children the skills required for life. As a parent and school, our jobs are to be facilitators and guides rather than controllers.
In our schools, most of these basic activities are part of the curriculum where children do various activities while learning all aspects of the real world. I believe that teaching subjects in isolation are old school. In our school, we make sure that different subjects are integrated while teaching a particular concept. For example, when teaching children about migration in grade 8, they watch the 2010 Karate Kid movie and are asked questions based on migration, the change in environment and how to deal with them. This helps children understand the concept better as they have visualized the situation, analyzed it and have also come up with ways in which they can deal with a change in place. Children imbibe and retain a lot more when they are taught in this manner. Thereby, helping us build confident and happy children of the future.