Life skills education teaching methodology

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Teaching Methodologies


During this session, we shall discuss life skills teaching methodologies.We shall define teaching methodologies and suggest examples of methods of teaching life skills Education for both primary and secondary schoools in accordance with the Institute of Education lifeskills training manual.

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Web Resources

  • Pictures
  • Photographs
  • lifeskills education materials from other web sites
  • Simulations
  • Role plays
  • Case Studies

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By the end of this session, you should be able to:

(a) Define the term methodology

(b) Suggest and explain the various methods used in teaching Life Skills Education

(c) Appreciate and demonstrate various methods used in teaching/learning Life Skills Education.

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Methodology refers to approaches and sets of methods used in presenting the subject matter with the aim of achieving different specific objectives.

These include approaches to the teaching of the subject,instructional methods,teaching/ learning activities and how the required skills are developed.

Approaches of teaching

There are basically two approaches to teaching or learning Life Skills Education.

  1. The Teacher- Centred Approach (expository approach) where the teacher exposes knowledge to the learners
  2. The Learner – Centred Approach (Heuristic Approach) where learners are encouraged to find information on their own.

Although you can use any one of the above approaches, you should put emphasis on teaching learning experiences that promote or experiential learning.

For effective delivery of subject content you should carefully choose suitable teaching methods and teaching or learning activities and sequence them in a logical manner to ensure smooth flow of dialogue between you and the learner and among learners. The methods you choose should be learner centered and should help bring about positive behaviour change. Use creativity and innovativeness in whatever methods to help promote and sustain the positive behaviour change.

It is advisable to make informed decisions about the approach most appropriate to particular needs, developments and interests of learners at all times. There are a number of factors that may determine the methods that you may chose to use in teaching.

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Make a list of factors that determine the methods used in teaching and Learning

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The following are some of the factors that may determine the approach you chose to use to teach a given topic.
  • Target group

This involves consideration of age, background, ability, needs, interests and behaviour of leaners

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Self Assessment

Comment how each one of the target group attributes determiones the method you may use to teach Life Skills Education?

  • Set objectives

The objectives should be clear and well thought out since all session activities are directed towards their achievement

  • Content

The methods should suit the content, pass the appropriate message and give learners adequate opportunities to develop the relevant life skills intended.

  • Time frame

It requires proper planning and organization to ensure that all activities are carried out within the allocated time

  • Resources

Availability, adequacy and appropriateness should be considered. Always remember to be innovative while resourcing.

  • Sitting arrangement

The sitting arrangement should vary from time to time to suit the techniques used and ensure that participants feel at ease to participate more actively in learning

Methods of teaching Life Skills Education

The following are suggested methods that you could use to teach Life Skills Education:

  1. Discussion
  2. Debate
  3. Role Play
  4. Brainstorm
  5. Story telling
  6. Songs and dances
  7. Case studies
  8. Miming
  9. Poetry and recitals
  10. Question and answer}}

1. Discussion

It is a purposeful conversation proceeding towards a certain objective. Discussion involves exchange and sharing of ideas, experiences, facts and opinion on given topics. The conversation can be used in large or small groups. Discussion can be used when:

  • clarifying concepts
  • clarifying attitudes and values
  • Gathering opinions from others
  • Building consensus
  • Gathering ideas
  • Learning new skills like listening critically

Discussion may be integrated with other methods

Here is a suggested procedure that you could use when conducting a discussion

  • Identify the subject of discussion
  • Come up with the discussion groups small or large
  • Provide sufficient background information on the subject
  • Encourage question and answer sessions
  • Move around the class to supervise on how the learners are going on with the discussion on the task assigned,
  • At the end of the discussion, summarize the views and ideas, putting emphasis on the acquisition of life skills
  • Discussion can be spontaneous arising out of your presentation and can be handled as the case may arise.

Ask your learners to observe the following principles during a discussion:

  • Be acknowledged by the chair or teacher before speaking
  • Speak clearly so that everyone can hear
  • State questions carefully and clearly
  • Be certain that statements are related to the problem
  • Participate in the discussion without monopolising it
  • Make statements, ideas and arguments that are supported by facts
  • Take part in a discussion expecting to learn from other learners
  • Listen actively and reflectively.

Sometimes when dealing with gender issues that cause a lot of argument between boys and girls, it is advisable to divide boys and girls into their separate groups at first. This allows them to develop their own ideas before arguing with the opposite sex. Dividing the learners into separate small groups is a useful way of dealing with those learners who are shy to express their views or others who may dominate. If possible, arrange groups of four learners per group. This is usually the recommended size.

Primary School You can use discussion method to teach conflict resolution as follows:

Class: Standard one Topic 10.00: Conflict Resolution

Specific Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to: a) Identify causes of conflicts among primary school children b) Identify barriers to peaceful conflict resolution c) Discuss ways of overcoming barriers to peaceful conflict resolution}}

Discussions can be used when:

  • Clarifying concepts
  • Clarifying attitudes and values
  • Gathering opinions/ideas from others
  • Building consensus.

Secondary School Here is a suggestion of how you can organize for a discussion for secondary school learners: Class: Form I

Topic:6.00: Friendship formation and maintenance

Sub-topic: 6.10 Friend and Friendship

Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to discuss positive and negative influences of friends and friendships.

Introduce the lesson through questions such as: “who is a friend/ what is friendship?” Suggested Procedure

  • Divide your class into small groups depending on the size of class
  • Change the sitting arrangement appropriately
  • Ask groups to appoint a group leader and secretary
  • Groups discuss positive and negative influences of friends and friendships
  • Ask group secretaries to make presentations
  • Moderates the discussions and presentations
  • Summarises the lesson.

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Select a topic of your choice and suggest how you would teach that topic using discussion method

2. Debate

A debate is a discussion which involves two opposing parties with each group expressing opinions or views about a given topic or subject. Each group competitively attempts to win the other to their side of the argument. At the end of the debate the group with more points is declared the winner.

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Give examples of topics where debates can be used to teach Life Skills Education?

Here are suggested examples of topics where debates can be used to teach life skills:

  • Negotiation
  • Effective communication
  • Assertiveness
  • Decision making
  • Non-violent conflict resolution

When you use debate, correct misconceptions and explain any views expressed in the debate. This helps the participants to reach a conclusion as per the intended motion objective. Suggested ways of organizing for a debate Secondary School Example: Class: Form 2 Topic: 10.00 Non-Violent Conflict Resolution Sub Topic: 10.4 Methods on Non-violent conflict resolution

Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to demonstrate ability to use various methods in non-violent conflict resolution in his/her own circumstances.

Suggested Procedure

  • Identify a suitable motion for debate e.g. “Conflicts should not be resolved through violence.” Discuss.
  • Instruct students to do research on the motion/topic and give ample time
  • On the material day assist students to form two groups, one arguing for and the other against the motion
  • Identify the chair and time keeper
  • Allow two proposers and two opposers to contribute to the debate
  • Open the floor for general discussion
  • Summarize the main points of the motion.

As a way of concluding the motion, emphasize on the positive aspect leading to the acquisition of relevant life skills.

3. Role Plays

These are short drama episodes in which participants experience how a person feels in a similar real life situation. Role plays can be used when:

  • Developing specific skills such as negotiation, assertiveness, communication and self-awareness
  • Discussing sensitive issues such as gender, which the teacher may feel uncomfortable with
  • Clarifying new and unfamiliar concepts
  • Demonstrating how a skill can be applied in a given situation.

Role plays require little preparation time and are not necessarily rehearsed. They should be as spontaneous as possible. However, you should clearly identify situations when and where to use them in the teaching process. Suggested ways of organizing a role play.

''Primary school

Role plays can be used when:

Group activity: A girl is being married off after class 8 as a 3rd wife to a very rich man.

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Explain how this girl uses negotiation skills to escape the forced marriage?

Secondary school Class: Form 3 Topic: 6.00 Empathy Sub topic: 6.3 Ways of expressing empathy Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, learner should be able to demonstrate different way of expressing empathy in various situations.

Suggested procedure

  • Ask for volunteers
  • Go over the role-play with them explaining the situation to be acted
  • Assign or let them pick the roles
  • Allow them time to internalise their roles
  • Allow them adequate time to act out
  • Stop them at an appropriate time
  • Ask questions based on the role play
  • Summarize the presentations and give concluding remarks.

4. Story telling

They involve telling of narratives with particular theme, based on actual events They give account of detailed information about an event or life situation in an interesting way while still passing a moral message. Stories can be composed or collected based on specific themes on Life Skills for example assertiveness, negotiations, decision making When reading or telling stories they should be dramatic and larger than real life experiences. The stories could be presented in a variety of ways for example, tone variation, use of facial expression, involvement of audience. Animal and human characters can be used in the narrative. Primary School' Class: Standard 1 Topic: 10.0 Skills of effective decision making Specific Objectives: By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to: Identify choices he/she makes on a day to day basis Mention consequences of making decisions Demonstrate ability to make decisions critically and creatively.

Choose a story from the community which provide incidences where a character has to make a decision. The story line should follow the character and show the consequences of the decisions made. If it was a wise decision, the character should be portrayed as a winner. If the decision made was a poor one, the story should show the character suffering the consequences of this.

The students could be encouraged to come up with their own stories from their communities or any other. Secondary school Suggested way of organizing for story telling Class: Form II Topic: 4.0 Coping with Stress Sub topic: 4.1 common stressors Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to identify common stressors that affect him/her. A teacher should choose an interesting and lively story. The story should follow logical and systematic steps, and should highlight incidences that are familiar to learners. You can use this method alongside others.

Puppets can be used to make stories more dramatic especially if the story is being told rather than read. When stories are being told one should vary the tone and use different voices for each character in the story. You may also use puppetry as a method of presenting sensitive messages in an interesting way.

5. Songs and Dances

Songs are musical compositions on topical issues and themes.

  • They may convey messages on contemporary issues in the society.
  • They can be used in character building where positive characteristics/values are reinforced.
  • They can be used to develop and strengthen life skills for example self awareness, communication skills and conflict resolution
  • Songs are useful when one wants to pass sensitive cultural messages in an interesting manner
  • The teacher can compose the song, or request the learners to compose some or use already existing ones
  • The songs should be interesting, appealing, easy to learn and familiar to the students
  • A song may be accompanied by a dance
  • Songs can be re-enforced by use of puppetry.
  • Dancing involves co-ordination of body movements which generate joy and cheer among the participants
  • Dances are interesting, appealing and have an immediate impact on the listener which is long lasting and memorable.

Suggested ways of organizing songs and dances

Secondary School Class: Form II Topic: 2.0 Self Awareness Subtopic: 2.1 Self Awareness Specific Objective: 2.1.1 By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to develop and demonstrate ability to appreciate oneself as a unique being.

Suggested procedure

  • Explain the theme of the song
  • Ask the learners to compose or gather songs in advance on the theme
  • Ask the learners to learn the song and accompany it with an appropriate dancing
  • Asks the learner to present the song and dance
  • Asks learners to present the song individually in groups or the whole class
  • Guides learners to analyse the song highlighting the relevant values and attitudes that enhance self awareness
  • Summarize the lesson.

6. Brainstorming

It is a free expression of ideas among participants on a given issue or question. If you chose to use brainstorming, ensure that all participants’ contributions are respected and accepted.

Encourage many participants to give their ideas and views spontaneously. Brainstorming as a method is used when:-

  • seeking different views on opinions of a given situation
  • establishing the entry behaviour of the participants
  • exploring new concepts
  • encouraging involvement of all participants
  • building consensus or agreement

Suggested way of organizing a brainstorming session

Primary School Example Class: Standard 6 Topic: 10.0 The Skill of effective decision making {{Specific Objective By the end of the topic the learner should be able to: Describe the process of decision making.}}

Suggested procedure:

The teacher should:

Ask a question or pose a problem e.g what are the steps in the decision making process Let the learners give answers, ideas and opinions spontaneously Allow free flow of answers, ideas and opinions from learners without interruption or criticism Note down all the suggestions for other learners to see Guide the learners in selecting and numbering the suggestions in the sequence manner in decision making.

Secondary School Class: Form IV Topic: 5.0 Assertiveness Subtopic: 5.2 Making assertive responses Specific Objectives 5.2.1: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to appreciate the importance of assertiveness in achieving goals and ambitions in life.

Suggested procedure:

  • Ask a question or pose a problem such as; “What is the importance of assertiveness?”
  • Let the learners give answers, ideas and opinions spontaneously
  • Note down all the suggestions for the groups to see
  • Allow free flow of ideas
  • Discourage negative criticism.

Towards the end, let the learners evaluate the ideas together based on a given criteria. Guide the participants on selecting ideas relevant to acquisition of the appropriate life skills.

7. Case Studies

It is a true or imaginary story which describes a problem, a situation or a character. It may be a dilemma in which the participants should come up with options on how they would resolve the conflict. Sometime it offers clues on how to solve a problem or provoke the reader’s ability to solve the problem.

Case studies should be interesting, appealing and relevant to the reader’s imagination. Case studies are useful when you:

  • want to appeal to the learners emotions
  • expect the learners to identify and internalise the concepts and issues raised in the case
  • expect the learners to apply the skills learned to solve similar problems that they may encounter
  • want the learners to appreciate that others undergo similar challenges

You can develope case studies or select from already developed ones in relevant books

Advantages of case study

  • Aims at summarizing details
  • Are designed to stimulate thought
  • Help learners make judgment
  • Help learners to study in depth problems in a given environment

Suggested ways of organizing a case study

Primary School Class: Standard five Topic: 11.0 Skills of effective decision making Specific Objective: By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to analyse consequences of making wrong choices. Suggested Procedure

  • Present the learners with the case study
  • Spell out the tasks
  • Divide them into groups
  • Give them adequate time to go through the case study
  • Let them present their opinions to the whole group
  • Summarise the points and emphasize the key skills to be learnt.
An example of a case study that can be used in this lesson: 

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Case Study
Peter was a bright boy who topped his class in the first four years in primary school. When he was in class five, his father bought a computer which he hoped would assist Peter and the rest of the family in their studies especially Peter’s elder sister who had taken a computer course at the nearby college.

In school, Peter was pleasant, outgoing and hardworking. By the end of the year, Peter had turned out to be quiet and rarely talked or played with children. His performance in class was poor. On investigating, the teacher discovered that Peter spent all his free time on computer and had started visiting pornographic sites in the internet. How can Peter be helped to improve on his performance? What advice would you give Peter’s parents?

Note that a Case study can be used alongside other methods.

Secondary School Class: Form II Topic: 5.0 Friendship Formation and Maintenance Sub topic: 5.4 Peer pressure resistance Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to apply various strategies of resisting peer pressure.

Suggested Procedure

  • Present the learners with the case study
  • Spell out the tasks
  • Divide the learners into groups
  • Give them adequate time to go through the case study
  • Let learners present their opinions to the whole class
  • Summarize the points and key skills to be learnt.

Example of a Case Study You may present a dilemma in which the learners come up with options on how they would resolve the conflict. For example, one of the students discovers that one of his/her friends is involved in drug taking and peddling. They invite him/her either to join them in the bad habit or quit their company. He/she is determined to say “No” and still maintain friendship. If you were the one how would you resolve this dilemma?

8. Miming

Miming is acting without words by use of gestures, signs, physical movement and facial expression. Unlike drama, the idea or situation is solely communicated through actions.

Miming is suitable for communicating sensitive messages. It helps in expressing messages, which cannot easily be put into words.

Suggested ways of organizing miming

Primary School

Class: Standard 4

Topic: 3.0 Coping With Emotions Specific Objectives: 3.1 By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to:

a) Identify common emotions at his/her level b) Explore his/her way of handling emotions c) Demonstrate ability to apply values that enhance coping with emotions.

Suggested Procedure:

Explain to the learners the concept of miming. Ask learners to think about common emotions they see and experience. Let the learners create a story or scenario where emotions are depicted, how they are expressed and how people handle the emotions. Remind the group presenting to be dramatic and interesting in presenting their mime Have the rest of the class observe the mime and note important points on types of emotions, expressions of emotions and ways of handling emotions. After the mime, have the class share on the above. Let the teacher clarify by using pictures and gestures what emotions are. Let him/her elaborate on the common emotions and ways people handle emotions with a reference on what was presented in the mime. Let the teacher summarise the topic by giving the values learners can consider to help them manage their emotions. Lastly, give the learners opportunity to identify their emotions, the ways they’ve been handling emotions previously and map an effective way of managing their emotions in the future.

Secondary School Class: Form I Topic: 4.0 Coping with emotions Sub topic: 4.1 Emotions

Specific Objective: 4.1.1. By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to identify different types of emotions.

Suggested Procedure

  • Teacher explains to the learners the concept of miming
  • Teacher demonstrates miming or uses picture/photograph of different emotions for learners to identify
  • Teacher asks learners to give instances where/when one uses gestures and signs to communicate
  • Teacher asks volunteers to mime the various emotions as other learners observe
  • Teacher guides the learners appropriately on their observation

9. Poetry and Recitals.

These are compositions which capture events, themes and situations in a short and precise manner. They communicate feelings, opinions, ideas, habit and other experiences. They can be in form of songs, recitations, chants or they can be dramatized to enhance acquisition of various life skills. They can be used to appeal to people’s emotions to enable them change behaviour towards a desired direction.

Suggested ways of using poems and recitals

Primary School Class: Standard 5 Topic: 5.0 Interpersonal Relationships Specific Objectives: 5.1 By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to:

a) Identify categories of people he/she relates with on a day to day basis
b) Explore factors that enhance good interpersonal relationships with different categories of people
c) Identify living values that promote good interpersonal relationships.

Suggested Procedure

Identify and use a poem that brings out the content of the lesson. For higher levels where learners are able to compose a recital, ask for volunteers who would like to present the poem or recital Give leaners the aim of the poem according to the objective of the lesson. Let volunteers brainstorm on the issues to be presented in the poem and arrange their points in short rhyming sentences that would form the poem. Ask the volunteers to present their poem as the rest of the class notes the important points raised in the poem or recital Guide the class in a discussion on the issues raised in the poem. Correct any misinformation on the content matter and further guides to the learner to build/ rehearse the skills and with the poem or recitals.


A poem showing empathy by pupils If pupils bring out in the poem how a certain pupil was insensitive to a sick relative, explore with the learners on this particular matter and give specific guidelines on how such a pupil could have shown empathy. Use this method with other methodologies such as short stories, brainstorming and group discussions. Ask the learners to have a follow up work on the issues raised in the topic with the aim of helping them apply all that was covered in the lesson to their personal life and experience.

NB: This methodology may elicit some real emotions on matters that touch the learners e.g., bereavement, failure or loss. The teacher will need to create extra time to counsel the pupils or refer the case to the guidance and counselling teacher. Secondary School Class: Form II Topic: 2.0 Self Esteem Sub topic: 2.1 Factors that enhance self esteem Specific Objective: 2.1.1 By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to explore factors that enhance his/her self esteem.

Suggested Procedure

  • Compose, collect or guide the learners to compose or collect own poems and recitals which pass the life skill being taught.
  • Guide leaners to recite the poems
  • Assist learners to analyse the poems identifying the relevant values, attitudes and life skills.
  • Summarize the lesson.

10. Games

These are interesting and exciting activities which have set rules They can be used when:

  • clarifying difficult issues
  • discussing sensitive issues
  • enhancing the quality of interaction in a group
  • learning and practising new life skills
  • increasing the participants knowledge of each other
  • making presentations interesting

Suggested ways of organising games Primary School Class: Standard three

Topic: 10.0 Skills of effective decision making Specific Objective: By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to examine consequences of decisions made.

You can choose a game such as jumping the rope that normally elicits situations of e.g problem solving and decision making. The game should be used to teach the learners turn taking skill and values such as team work, unity, respect and cooperation in order to avoid conflict. 

Secondary School Class: Form III Topic: 3.0 Coping with stress Sub Topic: 3.3 Ways of managing stress

Specific Objective: By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to demonstrate ability to apply skills that help in coping with stress at his or her level.

Suggested Procedure

  • Identify the skill to be learnt e.g. ways of managing stress
  • Identify the appropriate game
  • Establish the rules for the game
  • Identify the participants
  • Establish the setting and have appropriate materials
  • Conduct the game

The teacher should have a follow up activity where issues raised in the game are discussed and concluded.

Example of a game. Card game on coping with stress

  • Prepare two sets of cards. On each card in one set write a word showing a stressor which may include peer pressure, examination pressure, body changes and family expectations. On the other set of cards write in each a suitable activity that assists one cope with stress
  • Put the learners into groups
  • Shuffle the cards and let each group pick one card from each set
  • Let the learners act the game that helps them cope with various stressors written on their card
  • The teacher then concludes the lesson by emphasising on the main points raised and corrects any misconceptions.

11. Question and Answer Method

It is where the teacher or the learner tries to find out information through asking questions and getting answers from the respondent It is usually a flow of information from the teacher and the learner. It is an effective method of teaching Life Skill Education because it stimulates learner thinking and creativity. It is therefore central to effective teaching and learning

Questioning enables the teacher to:

  • bring to the fore past experiences, events and information
  • create a link between familiar and unknown concepts
  • arouse motivation and curiosity among learners
  • encourage and promote learner participation
  • illuminate the relationship between causes, course and effects of historical events.

Suggested ways of organising question and answer method

 Suggested procedure
  1. Teacher should research on the day’s topic before the lesson
  2. Teacher should develop relevant questions
  3. Teacher should ask questions and ensure all learners are involved
  4. Allow learners to internalise the questions and allow as many responses as possible
  5. Teacher needs to note these responses
  6. The teacher and the learners should react on the responses given
  #Teacher to summarise the responses as per the lesson objectives. 

Primary School Class: Standard 6 Topic: 9.0 Conflict Resolution and Negotiation {{Specific Objectives: By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

a)  State common causes of conflict during adolescence
b)  Identify effects of unresolved conflicts during adolescence
c)  Appreciate non-violent ways of resolving conflicts during adolescence.}}

You can can use question and answer method in this topic to help the learners explore the challenges that youth encounter as they interact with their family members (parents, siblings, uncles etc). Through exploration, the learners may identify common causes of conflict that arise during their interaction with family members. However, this topic can also be taught using various other methods i.e. discussion, case study, story- telling etc. Question and answer method can be used integratively with other methods.

Secondary School Class: Form 4 Topic: 9.0 Decision making Sub Topic: 9.2 Career choice Specific Objective: 9.2 By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to explore and appreciate important factors to consider in choosing their careers.

Suggested procedure

  • select relevant questions
  • direct questions to the whole class and involve as many learners as possible
  • give time to the learners to internalise questions
  • reinforce learners appropriately
  • encourage learners to ask questions
  • summarize the lesson

This method is used alongside other methods like discussion

Other teaching methods

You can also use other methods in teaching Life Skills Education. These include the following:

  • Simulations
  • Demonstrations

Important points that you should consider

  • Make the method experiential, practical and involving to the learners
  • Be creative and innovative to come up with other relevant methods and activities
  • Make use of the local environment
  • Combination methods can be used in teaching Life Skills Education
  • Chosen method should be appropriate to the learners.
  • Prepare adequately the relevant teaching learning resources
  • Utilize the activity Life Skills Education books available.

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Key points
Important Points to Consider when Using Various Methodologies
  • Make the method experiential by involving the learners
  • Be creative and innovative in order to come up with other relevant methods and activities
  • Make use of the local environment
  • A combination of methods can be used in teaching life skills
  • Chosen method should be appropriate to the learners
  • Prepare adequately
  • Utilize the life skills activity books available
  • Develop relevant teaching and learning materials/resources
  • Provide conducive learning environment
  • Cater for learners individual differences
  • Motivation of learners interest and curiosity
  • Encourage learners to respect each other (in terms of views, age, complexion, socio-economic status).