Importance of learning life skills

| Brighten Youth Education Centre 13 Feb 2018

Brighten Youth Education Centre

today's curriculum is packed. There is hardly time to squeeze in all the language, STEM and humanities work necessary, and that's before we've touched on the equally important function of the arts.

Then there are feminist arguments. Surely it's regressive, having all your students learn home economics when they should be working on their trigonometry or understanding the mysteries of the universe? There is very little time to learn these things at school and you might not have the opportunity at home. Why would you worry about doing your laundry and cooking when you're always going to have help at home?

I'm sure there isn't a parent out there who doesn't understand the frustrations of trying to get their children to clean up after themselves or do their own laundry.

However, life skills are vital, and not just because they make leaving home, for work or university, much less painful. Some of this might involve exercising a little initiative, which is a life skill in itself.

It's not enough to rely on common sense - which is, if we're honest, really not that common.

Learning life skills can help you build confidence. Just think of how wonderful you'll feel when you serve someone you care about a three-course meal of your own creation. Learning to devise an appropriate menu for all occasions really is an accomplishment for the bucket list.

Similar challenges also help you foster new ways of thinking and problem-solving (what do you do now that you've turned all your laundry pink or have spent an entire term's worth of funding in a week?).

They encourage you to take responsibility, and encourage collaboration and cooperation. By working in a group, you develop a greater sense of self-awareness, and appreciation for others. These benefits develop into skills that are vital in the workplace, including teamwork, the management of time and resources, the potential for leadership and the ability adapt to different roles.

Life skills are broadly defined, including everything from pragmatic tasks like cooking and cleaning, to more nebulous character traits, like resilience and independence. Admittedly, there isn't really a lesson plan for the latter elements.

Ganbaru () is the Japanese art of "doing one's best" or "working with perseverance" - yet it is often translated as "committing oneself fully to the task in order to bring it to a conclusion."

It exemplifies the characteristics of tenacity and diligence, and it can be applied to everything from washing a cup to completing your degree.

Here, the focus is on finishing a task and never stopping until an objective has been achieved, no matter what that is. If you needed more motivation for getting the dishes done, then let this be it.

If you have any questions about our column, or the issues raised within it, please e-mail them to us: enquiry@englishlearning.edu.hk or contact Brighten Youth Education Centre

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