By Dr. C G Nagaraja
Every school intends to produce studious, hard-working and intelligent students so that they score well in examinations and increase the prestige of the school, thereby building up a brand. In this race of covering syllabus and preparing students for examinations, schools, teachers and parents often overlook a few things.
In my opinion, some essential skills should be integrated into the school curriculum. At least, top 5 life skills should be taught to children in addition to curricular subjects. These skills are as follows:
- Time management
- Interaction skills
- Money management
- Healthy eating
A student of class 3 or 4 can learn and implement this skill in his/her day-to-day activities, right from doing homework to watching TV to getting into a school bus. Students should be encouraged to analyze situations and come out with their own ideas of handling the situations. Gradually, they will learn to apply such leanings to real-life situations.
In the classroom, teachers can select some problematic situations and involve students to find out solutions through discussions, views and other communication strategies. By doing such activities regularly, students will be able to hone up their problem-solving skills.
Time management refers to planning and spending time judiciously while doing activities. It leads to increased efficiency and enhanced productivity. For school students, the knowledge of managing time plays a crucial role.
Students should be informed about the meaning and concept of time management. The best thing is to create an inventory of daily activities and allocate time parameter. Later, discussions may be held to find out whether the time spent on activities has given students any useful results or they simply spent time without any usefulness.
Students should also be acquainted with the following facts:
- A good environment is needed to spend time effectively.
- Students have to set priorities for all their activities.
- They should carry out activities as per the time scheduled.
- They should plan to eliminate non-priority activities.
Teachers are requested to illustrate all the above-mentioned facts using various real-life situations.
Besides, the following time-management table may be discussed:
Children may be encouraged to understand the importance of setting priorities like watching TV/playing games/reading/writing/eating/sleeping.
Interaction skills are most likely to be honed through teacher-to-student, as well as student-to-student dialogues and discussions. The right body language, use of polite words, good etiquette should be the basis of practicing and improving interaction skills. Teachers need to set examples. Further, role-plays, brainstorming sessions, debates, and seminars are some effective ways of inculcating interaction skills into students.
Students must be involved in discussions on money matters, right from their daily pocket money to monthly spending. Discussions should be based on the importance of saving, spending only on essential and necessary items, among others. Further, the concept of personal savings may be discussed with students.
Teachers may also encourage students to maintain a balance sheet of the money received and spent.
These days, children are very fond of eating junk food, thanks to our fast-changing lifestyle. In view of this, it is important to add discussions on right eating habits, the importance of maintaining hygiene, natural foods, etc. to CCA activities.
Pictures, debates, seminars, creating a log of food taken by students in their class for a month etc. might help students understand the importance of healthy eating.