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 Life skills can be defined as "basic learned abilities and attitudes that enrich the lives of people and increase their potential for success as individuals and group members.

life skills empower people to:

Many lists of "life skill" categories have been developed. These have ranged from three to as many as 36. Many of the lists, and categories of skills have not met two basic tests of a classification scheme: 1). Categories must be mutually exclusive, and 2) categories must be collectively comprehensive. Lists developed in the past 10 -15 years include:

Gobeli (1989)

Weatherford & Weatherford(1987) 

Maryland 4-H (1993)

 Minnesota School System (1993)

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

U.S. Department of Labor. Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills.(SCANS. 1992).

Foundation  Skills  include:

  1. Basic Skills (reading, writing, arithmetic/mathematics, listening, and speaking);
  2. Thinking Skills (creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, visualizing, learning, and reasoning);
  3. Personal Qualities (responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty).

Competencies  include:

  1. Resources (managing: time, money, materials/facilities, and human resources);
  2. Interpersonal (teamwork, teaches others, serves clients, exercises leadership, negotiates, works with diversity);
  3. Information: (acquiring/evaluating; organizing/maintaining; interpreting/communicating; & using computers to process information);
  4. Systems (how they work, monitoring & correcting performance on system operations, and improving or designing systems); and
  5. Technology (selecting, applying to tasks, and maintaining & troubleshooting equipment)

There are many similarities among the lists and no doubt there are other skills and abilities which would be considered essential in different settings. Life skills should be considered and included in intended outcome statements and in planned activities. However, do not try to include too many in one lesson or session, one or two will provide the focus needed. Then use a variety of learning experiences to reinforce practicing the skill and acquiring mastery.

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