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.

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