Complete the sign up box on the left to receive a further 6 sample activity sessions. The Life Skills E-Handbook contains 61 Life Skills Activity Sessions plus an introductory section that includes definitions, tips for life skills learning and teaching and a framework for training educators in Life Skills teaching . Find out more and view the detailed contents list by clicking here.Here are your three sample sessions...
Self Awareness: My Place on the Tree
Life skills: Self-awareness, critical thinking, creative thinking
Important points: Try to ask the children to think deeply about their place on the tree and to find reasons for their choices. If children find this difficult, do not worry but note what the children feel or do not feel able to say. The activity can be repeated in Part 3 when children have improved their communication skills. If some children do not want to speak in the group, do not force them, but let them think about their ideas and if possible talk about their ideas to one friend.
A copy of the tree picture on a large poster for all the children to see
1. Show the children the picture and explain that the tree represents life. The people on the tree are at different stages of their lives. They are doing different things for different reasons.
2. Ask the children to think of a well-known character in your country, for example a famous sports star, a character from a folktale or a famous person. Perhaps this person feels like the person at the top of the tree because he looks sure of himself and powerful. She is smiling at everyone below her. She is pleased with her position! Ask the children which figure in the picture is like the famous person. (The children will probably have different ideas and different reasons – that's fine).
3. Show the children the figure(s) on the tree which show where you feel you are in life today. Explain the reasons for your choice.
For example: I feel I am like the person doing a handstand halfway up the tree with one hand off the branch. I feel like this because I am feeling full of energy and I feel I am doing something a bit different today by starting this life skills work with you. I am not sure if it will be fun or a bit risky!
4. Ask the children to choose one figure that is closest to themselves.
5. In pairs or small groups, children discuss why they identified with a particular figure. For example…
I feel like I am at the bottom of the tree waving and looking happy because I am just beginning the life skills (so I am at the bottom of the tree). I am looking happy because I hope the class will help me and I am waving at my friends who will be with me.
Do we feel like different people on the tree at different times of the day or week? Were you happy to tell us about your figure? Why/Why not?
Purpose of activity: To identify negotiating skills and methods to bring about a change.
Life skills: Communication & interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, critical thinking.
Important points: Negotiations are more difficult when you are talking with someone with more power. They can use that power to threaten or silence you or to ignore you. It can be useful to look for go- betweens (an uncle, an older friend etc) who have similar power.
A chart showing symbols for the six steps in negotiation
Communication: Negotiation diagram
1. Explain that negotiation involves putting yourself in the place of the other person and understanding their point of view. This is good for several reasons:
- It means you appreciate and respect the other person’s point of view. This reduces the risk that you will say something that causes conflict and hurt.
- If you recognise the other person’s point of view, they will become more willing to recognise yours
- Good negotiation should result in both people gaining something.
2. Explain there are six steps in negotiation:
- Say what you feel using I statements
- Listen to what the other person has to say to find out what they need or want
- Tell the person what you understood, so you are sure you understood it.
- Together, think of as many ideas as possible that may bring a solution to the problem.
- Agree on a solution
- Try it. If it doesn't work, start again!
Remember that sometimes you have to compromise.
3. Divide children into pairs and ask them to practice negotiating using one of the following situations. (Adapt these ideas to suit the experiences of your group but try to include some more simple situations an done or two serious ones.)
- Your friend plays music loudly when you are trying to do your homework. He says it helps him concentrate.
- A group of children tease you for attending life skills sessions. They call you 'the AIDS guy' and pay no attention when you want to share your ideas with them.
- Your partner wants to have sex but you don't think you are ready yet.
- There is a new teacher who thinks that the only way to establish his authority is to shout at the students as much as possible.
- Your father is often drunk and then he shouts at your mother.
4. After the pairs have practised, they demonstrate their role-plays. Encourage the group to make recommendations and act out different options. Encourage children to be realistic: often the powerful person will not accept ideas even if the reasons are good.
- How easy was it to negotiate in these situations? How do the negotiations change when you are negotiating with someone in authority? Or with a group of people?
- Do negotiations always work? If they don't, what else can you do?
Behaviour that hurts: what makes me angry?
Purpose of activity: To help children understand how anger begins.
Life skills: Self-awareness, critical thinking, creative thinking, coping with stress and emotion, communication and inter-personal relationships.
Important points: What makes people angry differs from person to person. People need to understand what makes them angry and can learn to control their anger.
Large sheets of paper, Marker pens or crayons
1. Divide group into groups of five or six.
2. Ask each group to sit in a circle. Begin the activity by saying the phrase…'Mr Nje gets angry when someone calls him stupid names'. Ask one child in the circle to repeat this phrase and add another reason why Mr Nje asks angry. The next child in the circle repeats these two and adds another and so on until all the children in the circle have added a reason. (This is an adaptation of a memory game!).
Other 'anger' ideas are:
- when someone shouts at him
- when someone steals something from him
- when people ignore him
- when someone pushes into him on the
3. Ask children to think back to the last time they got angry. In pairs, ask them to describe this to a friend without saying names and without saying what happened when they got angry, like this: I got angry yesterday when someone pointed at me and laughed at my clothes.
4. Ask each child to describe their partner’s reason for getting angry. Write these on a flip chart. If an idea is repeated, do not write it twice but put a tick next to the first reason.
5. Ask children to think of the two reasons that that mad them the angriest. Each child comes up to the list and (with the help of the educator if necessary), places a tick beside each of their two top reasons.
What Makes me angry?
Examples from a group of working children in Delhi…
- When I cannot sell my coconuts
- When my mum hits me
- When I don’t have time to play, as I have to spend all my time working
- When I have too much work
- When someone beats you
- When someone harasses us while we are working
- When someone teases you or uses bad language
- When I don’t want to work but I have too
- When someone steals the materials we have collected for selling
Is there anyone that does not ask angry? Can you solve problems well when you are angry? What is good about being angry? What is bad about it?