What are Basic Skills, and Why are They Important?
Basic skills, also known as life skills, are abilities that you learn or gain through experience, allowing individuals to manage and solve day-to-day problems effectively.
According to WHO, UNICEF and UNESCO, there are 10 vital basic skills all individuals should possess:
- Problem-solving skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Effective communication skills
- Decision-making skills
- Creative thinking skills
- Interpersonal relationship skills
- Self-awareness building skills
- Skills to cope with stress
- Skills to cope with emotions
In an ever-changing environment, teaching students these basic skills allows them to:
- Figure out new ways to solve challenges
- Understand the importance of their actions and take responsibility for mistakes
- Analyse unfamiliar situations and navigate through them properly
- Develop self-awareness and appreciation for others
- Build confidence through team activities and collaborations
- Express ideas and opinions more articulately
- Be respectful of other’s opinions
- Be more responsible towards how they act like human beings
- Recognise cultural diversity
Developing such qualities from a young age enables students to tackle all curveballs life throws in their path effectively.
Furthermore, from an employment perspective, several major corporations and powerhouses prioritise candidates with a better grasp of life skills than those with only academic excellence. According to the new McKinsey report, there seems to be an increasing emphasis on social and emotional skills amongst employers compared to 2019.
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The sooner students learn to develop these ten skills, the better. That’s why it’s crucial to incorporate activities in schools, colleges and universities that’ll help foster these abilities in students and prepare them to navigate life’s many challenges.
Ways to Build Basic Life Skills for Students
In a world where easy access to the internet has negatively impacted human interaction, it is critical for teachers in educational institutions to introduce activities that can develop the basic skills of students.
Developing emotional recognition
To encourage students to talk about their feelings more openly, you can introduce mimicry activities. First, divide the students into pairs and have one mimic an emotion while the other has to guess the correct answer. Or, you could assign certain emojis randomly to the students and ask them to share stories that prompted them to have a similar expression as the emoji.
However, it is crucial to remember that students with Alexithymia might be incapable of understanding and recognising emotional responses – either of themselves or others. Hence, educators should sensitise parents and peers and have more patience with such students.
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Empathising with other people is one of the basic skills needed to live harmoniously in society. Since classrooms act as a mini-society with students from all backgrounds and races, empathy exercises can help them recognise and empathise with each other’s situations.
For example, an everyday activity would be to immerse students in a situation that would encourage them to figure out what it feels like to be in another person’s shoes. Showing documentaries of different communities and famous people, you can encourage students to participate in a roleplay where they can pretend to be the characters themselves. Provide them with unique problems and ask them to solve them while being in character. Such activities can help them think outside the box and understand other people’s challenges.