Life Skills

In order to foster creativity and entrepreneurship, children should be given the kind of challenges they might face in real life. Do you have examples of activities that encourage children to come up with creative solutions to real problems?

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16 comments
680bed9bb8493750eeca722526484e49's picture
Patricia del Rocio Toro Yepez
Hay muchas habilidades que requerimos para los cotidianos de vida, algunas los proporciona la cultura, los significativos los intencionados los educadores, cuando trabajamos sobre contextos reales que los requieren, cuando se transforman en hábitos en el aula, luego se trasladan a la vida con naturalidad y potencia.
reply - Jun 10, 2016
dc080ebbace2e16567bfd712cab23325's picture
Parag Mankeekar
we at Neeti Solutions believe building and promoting empathy as one of the essential cornerstone for building life skills. Something we started calling as 'man making education'. And therefore from the perspective of Empathy, we feel that the subject of Life Skills can be treated differently. If we talk about life skills in the contemporary world vis-a-vis life skills in the earlier eras, we find that there is a world of difference. Obviously, we are not talking here about livelihood training - the ability to earn a livelihood is important, yet different from life skills. What are the unique phenomenon of the contemporary world that we need to prepare our children for? What are the new life skills that will prepare them? roughly, we can list them as - 1. Respectful Understanding Global inter-diffusion of cultures means that there are high chances that we live and work in environments where others come from cultures and nationalities that we are not used to. Our children need to know how to respectfully understand other cultures. For the lack of this education, there are chances that they will adopt the bigoted attitudes of yesterday, because human beings need to adopt some sort of a framework or attitude in looking at any new phenomenon. If they do not find a constructive and respectful framework that provides a sense of constructive meaning, the possibility exists that in trying resolve their confusion, they may simply pick up attitudes that provide a sense of meaning, but one that is negative to others. Our RPG RealLives works in this domain of empathy by simply offering people the ability to live a life in another culture. This brings home the humanness of us all, beyond the differences of geography, clothing or skin color or beliefs. 2. Ability to de-escalate a conversation and keep it positive. Today, one reason of conflict in the world is that we consider it a mark of self-worth to be able to fight and win. Thus, despite the advent of NVC (Non-Violent Communication), the paradigm endures that in an 'argument', one is less worthy if one does not demolish the other side. We need to replace this with skill sets of calming down those who are getting angry, of skillfully channeling all communication in a positive and constructive direction. 3. Ability to iterate towards a constructive solution. There is no denying that the world is faced with some grave problems. Across the world we find that while everyone can think, a lot of people are not skilled thinkers. Some of them have good thinking skills in only certain directions, and not in other directions. Their thinking is often deeply influenced by knee-jerk reactions. A lot of researchers and innovators have created simple frameworks that help one think better and train one's mind to think efficiently towards solution-finding. This is one problem that we are tackling via the RealLives Platform, which first empathizes the members and then enables them to think constructively on a problem - thus creating a crowd-sourced innovational network for global issues. 4. Alignment towards sustainable development Collective needs indicate that our life-skills must be aligned towards Sustainability. This involves not merely keeping our homes and families clean and happy, but to deploy the same attitude towards the rest of the world. Till we are successful in communicating this sense of responsibility to the younger generations, we cannot be said to have imparted real life skills. Today our lifeskill need to essentially include empathy towards others and empathy towards the life ecosystem that keeps us alive. To this end, we rely on the framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, developed by the UN. We help people to empathize, to engage in dialogue and iterate towards constructive solutions.
reply - May 27, 2016
WISE ed.hub Community Manager's picture
WISE ed.hub Community Manager
Johannes Ott, thank you for such a thoughtful participation. I would be curious to know if you have some concrete examples of active learning to share with us.
reply - Mar 09, 2015
WISE ed.hub Community Manager's picture
WISE ed.hub Community Manager
Thank you for these inspiring ideas, Luis Fernando Sanabria and Saadia Javed!
reply - Mar 09, 2015
Saadia  Javed 's picture
Saadia Javed
I cannot agree more to the fact that education should aim at providing real life skills to students. I realized this even more when I started teaching Social Studies. It’s evident that students take a lot more interest in the topics that intrigue them, and the ones that they can relate to. While teaching about environment, it was interesting to discuss environmental problems in big cities. The problems they face everyday. Class was divided into groups of 4 and each group was assigned a problem. Pretending to be a committee, each group was asked to prepare proposals to tackle the given problem. Their enthusiasm was evident during the group discussion as well as presentations. Committee members stepped forward and presented their solutions for the problem,and discussed why it is important to tackle the problem.
reply - Feb 15, 2015
3b24d96393ecb8a14cf5a78b5b28d5d3's picture
Johannes Ott
I like to approach the question from a different angle. Learning, what is it? I am going attempt to simplify this as follows: you observe something whether it is some information or a real life situation. You separate the correct and relevant data from the false and irrelevant data. You establish or formulate the rule, principle or understanding from that. Now you can apply the rule, principle or understanding to new situation. What I am trying to communicate is this, whether out in the real world or in an somewhat specialised environment (school) learning is always the same. So, what is different? - in schools primarily memorization of data without observation, evaluation is done but application is still expected and this can't occur. Mass of data doesn't actually help stimulate thinking but does produce confusion. So, any activity that demands observation, quality of observation, teaching how to observe correctly is working toward learning. If it follows this up by assisting the young mind to categorise, classify, analyse the observed data, it will almost naturally produce a mind that can think and apply anything. Speed is not important, quality is, repetition is. What I found interesting on this part is that child can observe quite well but have little native skills in how to categories, classify data, this is where they need help. For some reason, learning has become pushing-lots-of-data onto the child too quickly and too early. I think it matters little why but I do see that parents as well as schools and perhaps even children who want to please their parents all bring about pressure to perform well too early. Just as we started with sitting up, crawling, etc. before we could run, so should we focus on the learning process and not the data till after primary school years. To foster creativity does actually require to see what is really there in the first place and to "understand" it in its underlying principle(s). Thus we can glim underlying or governing rules/principle which is what produces the "creation" of new data; in other words creation of new data is application.
reply - Feb 10, 2015
Luis Fernando Sanabria's picture
Luis Fernando Sanabria
I would also like to share our experience here in Paraguay. Fundación Paraguaya developed the Financially Self Sufficient School model at the FP’s San Francisco Agricultural School in rural Paraguay. It offers a financially sustainable way of providing chronically poor, unemployed rural youth with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to take advantage of market opportunities and thereby overcome poverty. To do this, each Financially Self Sufficient School school operates a series of commercially successful, small-scale rural enterprises, which sell goods and services in its local market. These businesses, run by students and teachers, provide a training platform for students to gain technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills; at the same time, at full implementation (normally Year 5), these businesses generate enough income to cover 100% of school operating costs, including depreciation. By helping to run commercially successful school enterprises, students acquire skills that are in demand by local private sector employers and that the youth themselves need to establish their own small enterprises. Each student also graduates with a business plan for his or her own microenterprise, a line of credit to finance it, a family poverty elimination plan, savings acquired by participating in a student-owned cooperative, financial literacy, computer skills, and training in reproductive health issues. In sum, this holistic “learning by doing and earning” approach allows schools to provide a relevant, high-quality, market-driven education to the sons and daughters of the rural poor at virtually no cost to students or their families, and without depending on government subsidies or long-term donor support. We measure the success of our model by students’ post-graduation activities and the school’s progress in becoming 100% financially self-sufficient. At our model San Francisco Agricultural School, 100% of graduates are “productively engaged” within 4 months of graduation , and school-generated income ($650,000/year) has covered 100% of school operating costs, including depreciation, since 2007.
reply - Feb 09, 2015
Basarat Kazim's picture
Basarat Kazim
This is truly amazing! Something we should be trying in Pakistan.
reply - Mar 08, 2015
WISE ed.hub Community Manager's picture
WISE ed.hub Community Manager
Dear Qasir Rafiq, thank you for your participation. Do you know successful examples in Pakistan to share with us?
reply - Feb 02, 2015
Marcus Vinícius Leite's picture
Marcus Vinícius Leite
Working with adolescents discussion of violence against women in Brazil and worldwide. Our aim was to scale , understand and combat the problem. Within the discipline of history, as a parallel activity , we mapped through the press cases of violence , later spreading in the form of a virtual map . We combine this discussion about the construction of the female role in the history of Brazil . This way the students spent the : 1 ) Understanding the reality of the problem 2 ) Discuss its size in Brazil 3 ) If agents of change 4 ) they are better able to tackle the problem in their realities
reply - Jan 29, 2015
Qasir Rafiq's picture
Qasir Rafiq
There is one big challenge in Pakistan during schooling I mean matriculation the teachers did not give them life skills or did not share with them about career life options for their future life especially in Government Institutions which will create a big hurdle in future. If institutions will provide proper life skills and career profession knowledge to students in their early ages then they have to choose one best option for their future.
reply - Jan 28, 2015
Yam San Chee's picture
Yam San Chee
There are two distinct levels of performance that can be considered. The first is tightly coupled to game-based learning and the target learning domain. Thus in our Legends of Alkhimia game-based learning chemistry curriculum, designed for 14-year-olds, students are positioned in the role of apprentice chemists and Perform the work of chemists (in a simulated manner). As a contrast, in our Statecraft X game-based curriculum for social studies and citizenship education, students Perform in the role of town governors of Velar, a medieval fantasy kingdom that faces challenges arising from their recent secession from the kingdom of Salfreda. Here, the subject domain is the topic of Governance, and students learn governance by governing. Likewise, with Alkhimia, students learn chemistry by being chemists (virtually) and doing chemistry. In this manner, they begin to develop the dispositions for thinking–acting in the real world and wrestling with problems faced in real world situations. The critical issue here is readily exemplified in the difference between learning swimming and learning _about_ swimming. The goals are vastly different, and the required means to the stated ends are vastly different as well. Consequently, the outcomes of learning governing and learning _about_ governance are very different; likewise with learning chemistry and learning _about_ chemistry. First-person knowing is very different from third-person knowing about. The second level of performance that might be considered entails viewing all human situated behaviour (which includes what they do, say, value) as a kind of performance from the theoretical viewpoint of performance theory. Consequently, students in the classroom are always performing who they are--their identity--which is bound up with their knowing-doing-being-valuing. Stanton Wortham's book "Learning Identity" illustrates this.
reply - Jan 28, 2015
WISE ed.hub Community Manager's picture
WISE ed.hub Community Manager
Thank you for your participation, Yam San Chee. Could you give us some examples of how performance in the classroom can help children deal with real life problems?
reply - Jan 27, 2015
Yam San Chee's picture
Yam San Chee reply - Jan 27, 2015
Basarat Kazim's picture
Basarat Kazim
Thank you so much for sharing your innovative ideas and links to your work. Will get back with more after acquainting myself fully with what you do.
reply - Jan 27, 2015
Basarat Kazim's picture
Basarat Kazim
Would like to initiate this discussion with a story, if I may. 1990 saw the birth of an interesting phenomenon in Lahore! Alif Laila's Busti Schools. These one room mud structures in one of Lahore's huge squatter colonies were the result of an interaction between the parents,children and Alif Laila. These children were wage earners and the Pathan girls were not allowed at the time to leave their community. They could not attend regular school. Hence school was brought to their doorstep! The mud structures were built by the community, since they had the know how, the children located empty plots, helped in the construction, and Alif Laila provided the teachers. The teachers built in literacy,numeracy and hygiene into a self designed curriculum that catered to the children's needs. The Pathan boys connected with numbers, since their real world meant accompanying their fathers and brothers to sell cloth. The girls enjoyed literacy and health, as they did numbers, because they were keen to read letters that came from Peshawar and also know when younger siblings needed medical help.They also helped their mothers manage meagre funds. They sang, they drew, they played with puppets and took their entire community to the next level. Every child became literate and the girls continued their education once the squatter colony was demolished. The schools gave them confidence, gave them the " I Can" attitude and building on the resilience that was theirs, they went on to a better management of their lives and abilities.
reply - Jan 22, 2015