Dr Sujatha Varalwar tells you how to impart vital life skills in children
The role of education is to prepare our future generations to take their rightful place in society, as future learners, professionals and citizens.
Yet, there is often a fundamental mismatch between the skills students are taught in classrooms and those they will need to function effectively in the wider world. A recent study conducted by a leading research company named YouGov has found that less than one out of every five surveyed employers considered graduates as ‘work-ready’.
With the world evolving faster and workplaces becoming more competitive than ever before, it becomes especially important for educators to equip students — especially those preparing to undertake further education or to enter the workforce — with key life skills, so that they are better equipped to face the challenges that the future has in store for them. Key among these are:
- Seed emotional intelligence: Emotionally intelligent children eventually grow into well-adjusted, strong and self-aware adults. To teach your children emotional intelligence, begin by first acknowledging their perspective and communicating empathy, even if you do not necessarily agree. Accepting a child’s emotions, rather than denying or minimising them, enables him/her to accept the emotion, resolve their feelings and move on. In the long term, this teaches children to self-regulate their own emotions and allows them to move on to the next step, namely problem-solving.
- Impart critical-thinking: Facts and figures are important, but not enough for the bulk of children’s education to be centred on memorising data. Children must also learn to think for themselves — to use evidence, logically evaluate available information and form their own opinions. This will play a crucial role in their higher studies as well as their future careers.
- Improve communication: Written and oral communication skills will eventually play a key role in every sphere of your child’s life. Improve your child’s written communication by encouraging them to participate in writing-based extracurricular activities. Oral communication can be strengthened with regular, consistent practice — have children discuss their problems with you, rather than only telling them how things should be done.
- Work ethic: Good work ethic will prove to be a key differentiator for children as they mature into young adults. It is therefore important to never stop stressing on the importance of them performing any task they take up to the best of their abilities. In school, this could mean submitting projects and assignments on time, and making sure they prepare for tests and evaluations.
- Time management: Professionals, today, are expected to do more with the limited time and means they have, in order to truly differentiate themselves. This makes it especially important for children to be taught the basics of time management at an early age. A good way to begin is by having them buy a planner, which they can use to make a note of upcoming deadlines, goals and key milestones.
The writer is health and lifestyle coach