Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Life Skills Classes

Does your school teach some variety of a life skills/character education class?  I've been in schools that do and schools that don't (or schools where we try to incorporate it into classroom instruction).  My first school offered both a "middle school success" class and a once a week advisory class, where we did things like teach our students how to lead their own conferences with their parents.  At the end of each 9 weeks, the kids' parents had to come in and have a student-led conference with their child and one of their child's teachers.  It was a lot of prep work, and there were many more aspects to the conference than simply the child's grades- attendance, behavior, volunteering, extra-curriculars, etc. These kids were learning how to present themselves in a manner appropriate for interviews, public speaking, and meeting important people.  In other words, they were learning another vernacular.  It's my opinion that these sorts of skills are vital to success after high school.

The reason I'm writing this post is because I see kids in the community as I'm going to class, running errands, or just be-bopping around and am constantly reminded of the benefits a class like this could have.  For starters, every day I watch at least one kid touring Clemson (middle/ high school age) walk up to a crosswalk, look at the flashing sign, and then mash the button to signal a need to cross.  Sounds proficient, right?  Well, it would be if they realized that they could already walk when they're mashing the button.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen this while the walking man is counting down to the time in which you can't cross.  This isn't really what I think they need in life skills classes.  I think they need things like: etiquette, study skills, note taking skills, interview prep, place setting, BUDGETING, keeping a bank account, interacting with people who are being rude and customer service training.

What I'd really really really appreciate from y'all is some feedback.  What types of life skills does your school teach (AT ANY AGE)?  How much is incorporated into the regular classroom, and how much is separate?  What would be an effective way to start a program like this at my school?  Can this be done during elective time once a week?  Pretty please with cherries on top, respond and let me know.  I don't want to send my kiddos out to the world unprepared. :)

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