Following are the strategies a teacher can adopt in development of life skills among the learners:
1. Effective school health programmes should be organised that follow the newly evolved framework for skill-based health education that would enable students to acquire the requisite knowledge and develop attitudes, values, life skills and services needed to live an adjusted life and to avoid health risks such as HIV infection.
Actually, the needs of the young people presently are not realised. It requires awareness on the part of curriculum planners and the practicing teachers to work out educational programmes around relevant life skills.
2. Formal and Non-formal HIV and AIDS prevention programmes can be arranged that address various life skills in the school as well as for out-of-school youth who do not attend the formal school.
3. Co-ordinated school-community programmes that increase access to information, resources and services at places and times and in the manner that are likely to be appealing and acceptable to young people who do not attend school as well as those who do, including peer education, distance learning and new technologies for learning.
4. In this regard interaction with media persons, teacher educators, curriculum developers, policy framers and parents can be useful. Increasing use of mass media can be another important method.
5. Integration of school curriculum – A detailed curriculum has to be framed where reproductive health is given due emphasis.
6. School syllabi and textbooks have to be reviewed to identity the scope of life skills needed material for facilitating effective integration of the skills with the entire educative process. Textbook writers, teacher educators and other concerned educational functionaries can also make great contribution.
7. Co-curricular activities – A teacher in the school can organise co-curricular activities, quiz competition, group discussion, value clarification, role play, case study, essay competition, painting/poster competition, symposium poetic recitation, etc., that may prove very effective in not only providing accurate and adequate information to students but also inculcating in them positive attitude and responsible behaviour.
8. Interactive and innovative methods – for imbibing the life skills, the traditional method may not be effective. New interactive question answer method has to be evolved. Life skills can be developed using pedagogical methods whereas reproductive and sexual health is to be focused so that youngsters can cope with stress and peer pressure etc. But one very important thing should not be forgotten that teachers can transact such a curriculum and pedagogy only when they also get proper training for this.
Methods developing interpersonal skills and positive attitudes should be preferred. Special emphasis should be given on experimental learning. Learners are to be engaged in a dynamic teaching-learning process so that the learning leads to an active acquisition, processing and structuring of experiences.
In passive learning, the teacher passes on information mostly through a didactic teaching method and the learner is the recipient of information. But education for skills development requires the teaching-learning process to be both active and experimental. Let us further elaborate that by using these interactive methods many life skills which are interrelated can be developed.
Communication skill – A teacher can develop communication skill among the students by:
(a) Emphasising the importance of listening.
(b) Giving opportunities for expression.
(c) Receiving feedback
1. Negotiation and conflict management skill may be helpful when an individual is running through a conflict. For instance the parents want their child to select a vocation of their choice. A child has to learn how to assert himself. This negotiation skill can be developed in the child by the teacher.
2. Empathy – A teacher must imbibe the feeling of empathy in the students so that they can understand the problems of other. It always takes the individual towards right path i.e., welfare of the society.
3. Co-operation and team work – one must assess his/her own abilities. Teachers’ ideology has a great influence on students. He/she can help them to appreciate as to how essential it is to show respect for others and contribute to the group. Working in a team always teaches the child co-operation and other desired values such as goodwill, respect for other views, feeling of brotherhood etc.
Decision making/problem solving skill – it is an established fact that one has to free various kinds of problems in different walks of life. It i6 the ability of the individual as to how efficiently he/she manages the situations. A teacher should, therefore, try to develop the decision-making life skills among the learners so that they can evaluate the future consequences and select the best alternative.
Critical thinking skill – The Youth are more influenced by the peer group and media. Teacher can help the learners to develop the desired life skill of critical thinking in forming the right attitude, belief and social norms. There has been knowledge explosion during recent decades. So a teacher must help the child to identify the relevant and best information. Life skills for confidence – to lead a healthy life one requires confidence which can be imbibed by the teacher effectively.
Teacher can guide the students to set high goals thus taking the society ahead. Teacher can guide the learners in the direction of self-assessment to know one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Skill for managing stress – in this competitive era we find most people stressed. They are not aware about how to work or when to relax and thus remain stressed unnecessarily.
Teacher can help such students in managing time and to minimize stress. Lifestyle-based interventions – it is common to observe that HIV and AIDS is a lifestyle disease. Pre martial sex and extra martial sex are certain immoral lifestyle practices which are high-risk activities. Related educational inventions should be addressed to such issues.
This will be a great function on the part of the teacher, taking the whole society on the right path. Adoption of positive attitude – HIV and AIDS affected persons are generally discriminated against in the society as a whole. There is a need to adopt positive attitude towards HIV and AIDS affected people.
Feeling of fear associated with HIV and AIDS tend to produce negative impact which brings a stigma, a discrimination against those who are infected. A teacher is in a best position to spread the message through formal or non- formal teaching that HIV and AIDS is curable.
Moral education – India being a land of many religions, there is a need to put in place a culture-specific strategy for educating the learners on sensitive topics which will have public support. Common good over individual interest – Life skills education should follow such strategies which will have the support of a responsible society where the majority follow social norms and values which are aimed at common good.
A teacher can establish the link between health and education. During the World Education Forum (Dakar Senegal, April, 2000) the joint programme of UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH) was launched.
It is aimed specifically at strengthening the link between health and education, and to raise awareness among ministers and decision makers in general about the need to create a global and effective programme on school health among the strategies on education for all. The four pillars of the FRESH approach are:
(a) Clear school health policies on HIV and AIDS prevention.
(b) A healthy environment
(c) Skill-based education for the prevention of HIV and AIDS.
(d) School-based counselling and student clubs for HIV and AIDS prevention.
The teacher, thus, becomes one of the most important agents to improve health as well as education while combating AIDS.