Skill-Based Learning - The Need of the Hour

Soma Singh is an efficient and an organised administrator with over 16 years of experience. Soma Singh is a Postgraduate in Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science. She also has a certificate in Nursery Teachers Training.


Soma Singh has a great understanding of child psychology and pedagogy, which she uses to narrate stories and compose jingles for children as a mode of teaching them values. She got appreciation and award many times for her contributions in teaching-learning process. Varanasi School Association Award 2012: For Excellence in Teaching, Award of Great Teacher from Whom We have Learned Discipline 2011, Award of Great Teacher Who Has Taught to Share School’s Mission and Educational Goal, etc. are some of them.

 

In the constantly changing environment, ever growing technology and data driven world, skill-based, teaching-learning is the most important component of any curriculum. Skill-based education is the building block or framework that allows children to apply the knowledge they acquire in the real-world problems and situations, helping them to develop good habits for long term stability, wellness and success.


The main objective of skill-based learning is to build self-con­dence, encourage critical thinking, foster independence, how to socialise, make new friends and how to take actions in situations where parents or teachers may not be around to help or intervene. In simple words, we can say it develops problem solving skill which children should have from a very young age and need throughout their lives


Schools play a vital role in developing these skills amongst children. Keeping in mind that every child is unique and will learn at his/her own pace, it is important to acknowledge every child’s accomplishment and strengths, and provide support and encouragement for building these skills.



Junior school teachers play the most important role in building skills in children, leading to a strong foundation for their future. The most important skills the students need for their future are


• Critical thinking and problems solving

• Collaboration across networks and leading by in‑uence

• Agility and adaptability

• Initiative and entrepreneurialism

• Effective oral and written communication

• Accessing and analysing information

• Curiosity and imagination


When it comes to fostering these skills, skill-based learning is an extremely effective approach. We need to weave topics into language, maths, environmental science, music, art and physical education. For example, students doing artwork might be asked to incorporate maths through the use of certain shapes and patterns. They can also learn maths through stories and songs. This type of integrated approach strengthens students’ learning and achievements in all areas by building multiple skills.


To develop these skills in the students, we need to focus on skill building in all the subjects. The curriculum of English should be designed taking in consideration the development of four vital skills of language – listening, speaking, reading and writing. A variety of activities should be incorporated in the curriculum to assist the same. These activities should be learner focussed and most importantly, fun, which goes a long way in building the pillars of the language development though the different skills.


a) Listening and Speaking Skills – It is the most primitive skill to develop the process of communication. Good listening skills in turn helps in better speaking skills. For the development of this skill, we should focus on poetry recitation, storytelling, assembly presentation, group discussion and role plays.


b) Reading Skill – Reading should be a regular feature in all the subjects with emphasis on correct pronunciation, voice modulation and, stress and pause. Students should be motivated to visit the library regularly and read and comprehend from an early age.


c) Writing Skill – The students should be guided and motivated to align their thoughts and express them with ease and confidence. It develops the skills like comprehending, recalling, locating, extending and making connections. This skill can be practiced and enhanced by doing creating writing, paragraph writing, picture composition, framing sentences with new words, etc.


d) Mathematical and Logical Skill – Maths curriculum should give strong emphasis on developing mathematical, logical and problem-solving skills, understanding basic operations, estimation and mental arithmetic. It should be completely based on practical approach where a child has to understand, analyse and apply. A strong emphasis on reasoning and problem solving should be given. Other skills like visual and spatial skill, measurement and estimation, critical thinking and investigative skills should also be taken care of.


Apart from these skills, the most valued skill is life skill. It equips people with the social and interpersonal skills that enable them to cope with the demands of everyday life. The major purpose of including life skill in the curriculum is to help the students lead the right way of life. It also promotes human values, appreciating and understanding the need of positive attitudes. It gives strength to ­ght against personal insecurities and fears.


Now-a-days, the simple skills such as sewing, ironing, laundry, cooking and balancing a check book are often overlooked. In the past, these skills were often taught at home. But with the changing lifestyles and family dynamics, nobody is taking care of these skills. These skills should be taught at home and school as they are very important for living a comfortable life.


Parents also play a vital role in building skills among the children by assigning simple household tasks, giving them chance to take decisions and solve their problems, sharing, caring of pets and simple budgeting exercises.


Skill based education is not a choice but a need in country like India where the demand for skilled professional is still very high and the desire to get skilled is low. We all need to understand that we should prepare our students not for colleges but for basics of life.


This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine July 2020 edition.