Life Skills Curriculum

 1. Introduction & Goals

Life Skills is a term defined as “abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” by the World Health Organization. Life Skills allow a person to be ready for life as an adult – specifically for students transitioning from campus to corporate life and independent living.

Key Benefits of Life Skills Education:

  • Employability – abilities like self-confidence, telephone and professional etiquette that help to secure a job.
  • Easy transition from student to corporate/work life – prepare for work life with abilities to manage time and goals, teamwork and workplace communication skills.
  • Professional Growth – with abilities like taking initiative, dealing with criticism and results orientation.
  • Personal well-being – the ability to manage self and relationships with others.
  • Live Independently – with abilities like money management, networking skills, etc.

2. Training Needs Analysis

Assuming the entry-level jobs across sectors (like a nursing care assistant, retail sales associate, hotel housekeeping, etc.), we analyse what will competencies will be needed to groom an unexposed secondary school student to become job ready. The following high level input and output profile is what we need to build towards:

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Based upon the above, we can develop the details of the competencies to be developed the course requirements for doing that.

3. Competencies to be developed

As seen above, the Curriculum for Life Skills has been designed for young adults need to help them be job-ready as well as work towards a stable and successful career. In addition to this, specific soft skills are identified with the help of industry partners, which are unique to the domains or specific job roles.

Note that we assume the lowest level of entry level skills and a common level of exit skills. If a student enrolling for the courses has advanced skills, he can possibly skip the beginner level and come in at an appropriate intermediate level.

The broad categories of competencies needed are:

  • Self-Management Skills – Skills that enable the individual to be effective at managing his overall personality, life and work such as time management, grooming, setting and managing goals.
  • Interpersonal Skills – It is also important for a young adult to learn how to effectively deal with others: peers, superiors, clients or customers, in order to be successful. Interpersonal Skills help them be a better team player, communicate better, network well, deal with criticism and conflict and be more assertive.
  • Skills for Finding a Job – In order to find a suitable job, one must be aware of one’s strengths, weaknesses and skills and the right fit for them. Also, it is important to know how to write a professional resume, the right medium to apply for, etc. These skills will help the student assess one’s own skills, apply at the right places and also prepare them to face interviews.
  • Workplace Skills – For most young professionals, the toughest challenge after finding a job, is to handle the new responsibilities with minimum or no guidance, in a new environment full of expectations and demands from everyone. So skills such as being results oriented, professional etiquette, knowing how to present ideas effectively, handling customers effectively helps to make the new challenges of work life less intimidating.
  • Entrepreneurial Skills – Starting a business of their own is a dream many youngsters cherish, but the risk and the responsibilities can be intimidating, especially if one has no experience. Discerning skills that help youth recognize the right opportunities, think creatively, motivate oneself in high-pressure situations and make informed decisions are essential to an aspiring entrepreneur.
  • Domain-specific Soft Skills – Every industry needs unique people handling abilities depending on the kind of service they offer and the customers they deal with. While the Hospitality industry needs its employees to know dining etiquette, a nurse is expected to show empathy towards the patients’ families. These job-role specific soft skills are covered in this category.

 

4. High Level Curriculum Design

Based upon the above competencies, the following topics and hours of instructional coursework will be deployed. Each lesson will drive towards building key behavioural outcomes identified for each, as parameters of evaluation of learning effectiveness.

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5. Pedagogical Approach

Learning Life Skills essentially requires the learner to change behaviour through awareness and consistent practice. The objective of these lessons is to help the learner gain insight into his/her own behaviour, understand the desired behaviour traits that need to be learned and also to learn techniques that will help them change their behaviour over time.
We will attempt to:

  1. Introduce the concept and importance
  2. Show effective how-to techniques and tips
  3. Personalize it by having them practice in their own context

We will NOT assume this will change their personality after a 1-3 hour session, but it will make them aware of the concept and tools/techniques to improve themselves over time.

The approach in designing every lesson is:

  • Flipped Classroom – a blended learning approach where students first study material before class to familiarize themselves with the topic and then spend the in-class time on experiential activities.
  • Modular – Learning sessions do not extend beyond an hour, so as to not overwhelm the learner with too much information.
  • Real-life application – The modules focus on teaching how-to techniques with emphasis on applying techniques they learn to their own life situations.
  • Video illustration – thought-provoking or learning videos that inspire change in behaviour.
  • Activity based – All classroom activities are based on peer-learning methods to increase student engagement and motivation.
  • Teacher as a facilitator – Trainers will facilitate the activities, ensure maximum participation and encourage learners with coaching and feedback.

A typical flow of a lesson would be along the lines below:

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 The classroom session will run along the lines of:

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Materials Provided:
This will include:

  1. eLearning Lessons (for Pre-, In- and Post-class sessions) as well as online formative assessments
  2. Student Handbook – covering the content presented
  3. Facilitator Guide –tips for facilitation and further reading

Facilitator Profile:
The lessons could be facilitated by teachers or vocational trainers. The ideal profile would be:

  • Industry exposure or experience in the workplace
  • Good communication skills
  • Good coaching skills
  • • Patient and motivating

Acknowledgement

Youth Reach India