LIFE SKILLS EDUCATION: AN ADD-ON COURSE
Life skills is a term used to describe a set of basic skills acquired through learning and direct life experience that enable individuals and groups to effectively handle issues and problems commonly encountered in daily life.
They include creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, the ability to communicate and collaborate, along with personal and social responsibility that contribute to good citizenship – all essential skills for success in the 21st century, both for healthy societies and for successful and employable individuals.
Today, we need active, informed and responsible citizens, who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves and their communities and contribute to the Socitial developmental process. These capacities do not develop unaided; they have to be learned. While certain life skills may be acquired through our everyday experience in the home or at work, they are not sufficient to adequately equip citizens for the active role required of them in today’s complex and diverse society.
Add-on feature for the Department of Social Work (DSW):
In recent years one could see the core components of life skills recognized and incorporated in social work literature as basic social work concepts. That is the reason why the Department of Social Work (DSW), Sardar Patel University put efforts to furnish these skills to our budding social work and HR professionals and introduced an add-on course in Life Skill Education.
“Life Skill Education promotes mental well-being in young people and equips them to face realities of life”– says Dr. Rawal. With the same vision in mind and by the efforts of the visionary leader Dr. Shivani Mishra (Director, DSW), the Department successfully organised and completed its 4th consecutive year in Add on course. In the academic year 2021- 22 under the mentorship of Dr.Swaroop Rawal, a renowned – An Actor, Researcher, International Life Skill Educator who has conducted “ऐक्य” – An Orientation cum Induction Conclave for Life Skills along with Introduction to Qualitative Research and Democracy Cafe on October 25 & 26, 2021.
The first and second phases of this course were held from 16th to 18th November 2021 and 25th to 28th November 2021 respectively.
“Life Skills Education” – for the Department it is now not only a word or a theory but it is now an emotion!
For the effective execution, Dr.Swaroop Rawal used different modules of learning such as; Understanding emotions, their psychological and physiological responses, and the behavioral or expressive response of an individual. She also used an emotional module and creative thinking aspects.
Learning Techniques & Methods Used Experiential Learning & Reflections:
Learning techniques Activity-based participatory learning techniques like games, role plays; drama, drawing, and reflections were included in the modules of life skills.
• Methods Used: The experiential learning method, which gives opportunities to the subjects to have a direct encounter with the phenomenon under consideration rather than merely imagining the encounter or only looking into the possibility of doing something about it, helped participants to have a clear understanding about these life skills and its applicability in real-life situations.
• Reflective sessions after hearing, observing, and practicing each skill, enabled them to think loudly about their performances and understand each session. Participants also learn a lot from others’ viewpoints, observations and ideas too.
Democracy Cafés are public debates on democracy and human rights-related topics. The idea of organizing these debates spawned from the fact that during our exhibitions and design workshops around the world we had the opportunity to meet a lot of people interested in promoting human rights and the democratic discourse, often directly involved in local-level projects.
To sensitize students of social work and HR, the Democracy Café is also initiated last year as a part of ‘’Life Skill Education’’ at DSW. ‘Is reservation a democratic system and does it affect the Right to equality” and “Is Privatization democratic and is it good for the future of India ?”: these topics were discussed separately under ‘Democracy Café’ in presence of Dr.Swaroop Rawal and the then Vice-chancellor of the University.
The Course and its execution:
The first phase of Life Skill Education using techniques of Drama was implemented between November 16-18, 2021 whereas; the second phase was between November 25-28, 2021. An effective tool of communication was used during the second phase of the program. The third phase was implemented between December 25-30, 2021, and again between January 07-09, 2022. A couple of phases were been implanted virtually (online) looking at the severity of the COVID-19.
Basic life skills, emotions, communication, self, empathy, problem-solving, and decision are making, and creative-critical thinking modules have been thoroughly discussed during this course. Students did fieldwork projects using their life skill education in different villages of Anand, i.e. Ajarpura, Morad, Sanjaya, Gana, Ardi, Vagashi, Ravipura, Porda, and Jol.