They are various types of life skills which have been identified by agencies such as WHO, UNICEF etc. Any life skills education programme has two parts i.e. information and, skill development. There are ten core life skills, which have been identified. World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorized them into three components.
Let us now understand meaning of each life skill in detail.
(a) Critical thinking skills/Decision-making skills:
(i) Decision making skills:
Decision-making is a process to determine alternative and constructive solutions about problems.
(ii) Critical thinking skill:
Critical thinking skill is an ability which helps to analyse information and experiences in an objective manner. It also helps us to evaluate the influence of decisions taken on our own values and values of people who are near to us.
Adolescents are most of the time influenced by media and peers. This skill can assist them to assess the pros and cons of the situation and help them to evaluate their actions.
(iii) Problem solving skill:
It is an ability to identify the problems correctly, understanding its sources and causes very constructively. These causes have to be reduced or eliminated. This skill also assists in choosing the best alternative from many to solve the problem.
(b) Interpersonal/Communication skills
(i) Effective communication
Communication is an important process which is used by an individual to transfer ideas, information or feelings to others. Unless
the communication is effective, the purpose of communication fails. Effective communication skill helps to express oneself both verbally and non-verbally through gestures, in way that messages are not distorted and, moreover, it is appropriate to one’s culture and situation.
Therefore, effective communication includes active listening, ability to express feelings and giving appropriate feedback.
(ii) Negotiation/refusal skill
Sometimes, an individual is put in a situation, where he/she does not want to remain for a long time. This induces lot of dissatisfaction in an individual. For example, a child is bullied or abused by his/her classmates. This can put him/her in a state of depression or detachment.
Then, negotiation skill will help that child to negotiate, without getting aggressive towards them and thus helping him/her to become more acceptable.
It is an ability to imagine and understand what life is like for another person, even in a situation that you may not be familiar with. It is important for an adolescent to develop positive outlook towards others and feeling of cooperation, which is necessary for preparing the foundation for adulthood.
(iv) Interpersonal skill
Team work is required to the successful completion of a project. For example, if you want to organise an exhibition in your school, then, who all will provide you help? The Principal, your colleagues, or the fellow students? The skill, which is required to co-ordinate work with The involvement of the people, is called Interpersonal skill. This skill helps an individual to relate in a positive way with fellow beings.
Development of this skill enables an individual/adolescent to be accepted in the society. He/she also develops the acceptance of social norms, which is essential to prevent an adolescent to follow delinquent behaviour.
(c) Coping and self-management skills
(i) Coping with stress/stress management
Adolescence is a vulnerable period of development and rapid developmental changes causes stress. Erickson has propounded that in this period individual wants to have his/her own identity. If proper direction is not given then he/she feels stressed out. Therefore, this skill helps in recognising the sources of life stress and directs an individual to choose a way that can control the heightened stress level.
(ii) Coping with emotions
Briggs concluded that emotional development is complete by the age of 2 years. The adolescent generally shows heightened emotions as compared to an adult and we end up in concluding that this group is immature.
This skill is involved in recognising the emotions and also helps to respond to those emotions appropriately. Since, emotions also influence the overt behaviour, the skill becomes more important for the constructive personality development.
(iii) Skill of self evaluation/self awareness
This skill includes the recognition of one’s self esteem, internal locus of control, likes and dislikes. If an adolescent is able to recognise them, then he/she starts believing that they can make a change in the world. Therefore, they start looking at themselves and world more positively.