Teaching Life Skills within the Curriculum
Practical ideas to promote life skills within the curriculum.
The diagram above highlights the life skills which the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Curricula seek to develop through both the explicit curriculum and implicit or hidden curriculum within children and young people so that they can be more independent and successful individuals.
The Northern Ireland Curriculum places a lot of emphasis upon the development of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities which is inherent throughout all subject areas. Below is a list of subjects and topic areas which can help in the acquisition of life skills.
Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities posters (including symbols for pupils with Special Educational Needs)
|Topic/ Area of Study
|Personal Development and Mutual Understanding
“Teaching life skills in the classroom has been shown to substantially reduce tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use. However, to ensure children really understand and can use life skills they must be anchored by connections to the other protective concepts.” Personal Development and Mutual Understanding for Key Stages 1 & 2
|Learning for Life and Work (LLW)
“The Personal Development curriculum delivers important protective factors to young people through teaching life skills such as decision-making, assertiveness, resilience and communication. These life skills help pupils develop the positive social skills necessary for making healthy choices,
developing positive relationships and preparing them to cope with life’s many challenges.”
Employability seeks to “prepare for adult life, independent living and work” Learning for Work and Life for Key Stage 3
|Mathematics and Numeracy
|Language and Literacy/ English
The following link provides useful lesson plans and resources for teaching older pupils key skills in maths and English using practical examples such as the hairdresser and a mechanics garage etc. BBC Skillswise
Useful teaching resources:
Mannix, D., 2009. Life skills activities for secondary students with special needs. John Wiley & Sons.
Myles, B.S., Trautman, M.L. and Schelvan, R.L., (2004). The hidden curriculum: Practical solutions for understanding unstated rules in social situations. AAPC Publishing.
Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland (Junior Cycle) curriculum seeks to provide students with the opportunity to develop eight key skills to “help learners develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to face the many challenges in today’s world”. Junior Cycle: Key Skills
|Topic/ Area of Study
|Social, Personal and Health Education
|Guidance for students with Special Educational Needs
Click here to read: Stokes, M.A., Thomson, M., MacMillian, C., Pecora, L., Dymond, S.R. and Donaldson, E., (2016). Principals’ and Teachers’ Reports of Successful Teaching Strategies with Children with High – Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, pp. 1 – 17.
Useful teaching resource: Mannix, D., 2009. Life skills activities for secondary students with special needs. John Wiley & Sons.
Read previous: ← Task Oriented Approach vs. Process Oriented Approach
Read next: The Hidden Curriculum →