Life skills teaching needs resources
Schools could definitely help students learn life skills such as driving, but schools need to be properly resourced for it, an Aoraki educator says.
Six reports issued by the Children’s Commissionerrecently highlighted that students would like to see life skills taught at school.
Students wanted to earn their driver’s licence, learn about money and budgeting, how to cook, garden, sew, use tools and parent.
Aoraki Secondary Schools Principals’ Association chairwoman and Waitaki Girls High School principal Tracy Walker agreed with the students, saying there was a place for life skills, and that many schools do teach life skills, either as a stand alone subject or as part of the curriculum.
She said the type of skills, and how much time was given to them, varied from school to school.
‘‘It comes back to if a child can’t read, we teach them to read, if they can’t swim, we tech them to swim, if they can’t behave, we teach them to behave, and I think these life skills fall into that category,’’ she said.
‘‘I think yes life skills should be taught more, it is part of a holistic education, but it does come down to timing.’’
Schools needed to be resourced for it, and it needed to not interfere with other subjects. ‘‘We’re accountable for our results at the end of the day so we have to make sure that we’re offering the core skills of literacy and numeracy.’’
Walker said there was scope for some subjects, such as driving, to be taught during the weekend or after school; ‘‘It doesn’t always have to happen during the school day’’.
The new government has indicated they want Driver Education developed locally using the school as a connector place and to support the delivery offered by experts, she said.
‘‘Schools are definitely hubs and resources that communities can tap into. So maybe rather than always having teacher teach the classes, we could be the connector for people in the community.’’
She said a good example of that could be getting volunteers where appropriate, to teach craft skills like knitting, which is would be something most students would not have been exposed to before.
Parents should be teaching their children and teens life skills, and many were, she said. But more parents nowadays were working to ensure there was enough money to cover household costs.
‘‘In the 30 years that I’ve been in education, parents are increasingly working, not always longer hours but more transient hours and shift work and more weekends and it is a challenge for some parents to manage all that.’’
Kiwi students have indicated they would like to earn their drivers licence at school.