Why should schools teach life skills? 12 reasons why your school should teach them –
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Learning life skills can be one of the most difficult and stressful parts of becoming a grown-up.
As an adult, there are so many different skills to learn like:
- Paying taxes 🏛️
- Managing your money
- Renting a home 🏡
- Buying a home
- Looking after a home 🧽
- Building healthy relationships
- Car care 🚗
- Cleaning 🧼
- Looking after your wellbeing
- Parenting 👶
- Getting a job
- Communicating 🔊
- Coping with emotions 💞
- Solving problems
- Making decisions 🤔
- Managing stress
It’s common for people to wonder, “why didn’t school teach me all of these life skills”?
Whilst there might be a lot of reasons of why schools don’t teach life skills, we’ve put together a list of the main reasons why schools should consider teaching life skills.
1. It’s what students want to learn📜
Students today are increasingly vocal about wanting to learn practical life skills. 🔊
By offering life skills education, schools can cater to the demands and preferences of their student body. 🙌
There has been plenty of research to demonstrate the appetite for life skills in schools, such as:
- 87% of British people don’t feel like they were adequately prepared for life as an adult — saying they weren’t taught the life skills they needed before leaving full-time education. (Metro News)
- Half of young people do not feel prepared for the world of work. (CBI 2018)
- In Wales in 2019, the Welsh Youth Parliament created a comprehensive report to the government, campaigning to have life skills education prioritized for young people.
2. Re-engaging disengaged students with education 🤝
It is common for students to disengage from school due to uncertainty of how lessons will help them in real life. 🤷♀️
For example, a student might complain that they’re unlikely to use “Pythagoras’ Theorem”, bunsen burners, or the biology of a leaf in real life. 🍃
Whilst a lot of people may not directly encounter these challenges, they teach transferable skills like problem solving, numeracy, and literacy. 🔀
Unfortunately, this way of teaching people new skills is quite abstract. 🥴
It is a lot easier for a student to appreciate the value of learning how solve real-world problems, like paying taxes! 💰
This makes life skills lessons an important tool for re-engaging students who have disengaged from education. Life skills education can make learning more relevant and engaging for students, providing a bridge between the classroom and the real world.
For example, a lot of students don’t know how much money they can earn, from the qualifications they’re working towards! 🤷♀️
Even just one careers lesson explaining salary expectations from different qualifications, can help students to understand the financial benefits of gaining qualifications and re-engage them.
3. Improved student attainment🏆
One of the best reasons to teach life skills in schools is the potential to improve student attainment.
Life skills, such as time management and critical thinking, can lead to better academic performance, setting the stage for success in various subjects.
The Barclays LifeSkills Programme in the UK found that:
- 86% of learners felt more positive about the future 🙌
- 89% of learners were more motivated to succeed, including doing well in their academic and vocational studies 🥇
- 82% of learners had more understanding of the skills needed for the workplace 💼
4. Social mobility🚀
Life skills have the potential to level the playing field, and give students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to improve their circumstances.
Teaching students about topics like budgeting, taxes, and debt, can have a huge impact on the financial future of students. 💰
By teaching skills such as financial literacy and job preparation, schools can empower students from all backgrounds to pursue their dreams. ✨
5. Parents don’t feel prepared 🤷♀️
Whilst a lot of people might argue that it is the job of parents to teach life skills, lots of parents don’t feel prepared to teach them.
According to The Independent, nearly half of parents don’t feel equipped to teach their children important life skills.
Schools can bridge this gap by providing comprehensive life skills education, alleviating the concerns of parents who want the best for their children.
6. Standing out as an institution 🌟
Schools that stand out by offering life skills lessons can enhance their reputation and become more appealing to students and their families.
This can lead to increased enrollment and support for the school. 🙋♀️
7. Improved student behaviour 😇
Students can often be disruptive in lessons due to a lack of appreciation of the value that teachers can add to their lives. 👎
In addition, students are often unaware of the challenges of adulthood, and how school can support them towards becoming independent adults. 🪜
Life skills lessons can help students to understand the value that teachers can have towards helping them achieve their goals, and encourage them to take school more seriously, reducing behavioural issues within lessons. 👍
8. Closing the skills gap for employment 💼
Students don’t feel prepared for the world of work, but also employers don’t think they’re prepared either. 🤷♀️
In the rapidly changing landscape of the professional world, employers are increasingly voicing their concerns about the mismatch between the skills graduates possess and the skills essential for success in the workplace. ⚖️
The traditional academic curriculum, while valuable in many respects, often falls short in equipping individuals with the practical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills demanded by today’s employers.
CBI research has found that:
- 60% of employers say that new graduates coming through the system are “unprepared for a commercial career”.
- 40% of employers state the biggest reason they cannot fill entry-level vacancies “isn’t a lack of people, it’s a lack of adequate skills”.
By incorporating life skills lessons, educators can align their offerings more closely with the expectations of employers.
Graduates who have been exposed to real-world scenarios and problem-solving exercises are better prepared to navigate the challenges of the professional world. 🗺️
9. Improved careers education and business engagement 🤝
A significant part of life skills lessons focuses on employability skills and careers lessons. 💼
Incorporating life skills lessons into your curriculum can not only improve your careers education provision, but also create opportunities for businesses to work with your students, and give them real-life tasters of the working world. 🌍
Life skills topics strongly align with the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance, which outlines a framework for world-class careers education.
The eight Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance are:
1. A stable careers programme
2. Learning from career and labour market information
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
5. Encounters with employers and employees
6. Experiences of workplaces
7. Encounters with further and higher education
8. Personal guidance
By creating a focus on real-life skills and how they can be used in the working world, you can offer lessons that invite employers to share their knowledge of the working world with students, and bring careers education to life. ✨
The integration of life skills into not only enhances the quality of careers education learning for students, but also creates a collaborative platform for employers and educational institutions to work together. 🤝
10. There’s increased flexibility in the curriculum 🏄♀️
In a lot of education systems teachers are being given more flexibility around what they teach.
School curriculums are becoming more and more flexible, enabling educators to tailor their lessons to their students’ needs, and their local landscape. 🗺️
This means that some teachers can start to write their own curriculum of learning for their students. 📝
Giving teachers more flexibility can help them to make sure that learning is:
- relevant and useful for students 👍
- tailored to the geographical area the students are living in 🧵
- making use of opportunities for students in their local area 🗺️
- more personalized for students and their ambitions 🪞
A lot of teachers believe that life skills should be taught in schools, and can use this flexibility to create more opportunities for students to learn life skills in their learning plans.
In countries such as Wales, United Kingdom, individual schools are even being empowered to write their own curriculums, making each schools’ provision unique and tailored to their area. ✍️
This offers a lot of opportunity for schools to incorporate life skills into their curriculums, to meet the needs of their students.
Incorporating life skills into the curriculum has never been easier for schools to implement, making now a great time to start providing life skills lessons.
11. Increased availability of free resources 📚
More than ever, there are free resources available to help teach life skills.
The Grown-Up School provides 100+ completely free grown-up lessons and free worksheets to help learn life skills!
There is also support and resources available from places like:
- The internet – you can learn so much from researching online!
- Youtube videos
- TV series
- Local businesses
- Motivational speakers
- Banks – financial education programmes
12. Improved post-school attainment 🏆
Schools that provide life skills education support their students to succeed not only academically but also in their personal and professional lives. 👨💼
This success can contribute to the school’s reputation and legacy, and encourage positive relationships with past students. 🤝
More research 🕵️♀️
In addition to there being more resources available to learn life skills, there is also more research demonstrating the desire and need to learn them.
This includes studies such as:
- Age-Specific Life Skills Education in School: A Systematic Review
- Significance Of Life Skills Education
- The Status of Life Skill Education in Secondary Schools -An Evaluative Study
So that’s it!
There are lots of different reasons why life skills should be taught in schools, such as:
- It’s what students want to learn📜
- Re-engaging disengaged students with education 🤝
- Improved student attainment🏆
- Social mobility🚀
- Parents don’t feel prepared 🤷♀️
- Standing out as an institution 🌟
- Improved student behaviour 😇
- Closing the skills gap for employment 💼
- Improved careers education and business engagement 🤝
- There’s increased flexibility in the curriculum 🏄♀️
- Increased availability of free resources 📚
- Improved post-school attainment 🏆
Hopefully this article has helped you to understand better why schools should teach life skills.
If you know any friends or family members who might benefit from learning about why schools should teach life skills, share this post with them!
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