DOC

Life skills training

By Sharon Crawford,2014-07-29 16:42
90 views 0
Life skills training

     UNITED NATIONS GENERAL

     ECONOMIC

    E/ESCAP/HRDY(3)/6 AND 17 May 2001

     SOCIAL COUNCIL ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Third Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on Human Resources

     Development for Youth

4-8 June 2001

    Bangkok

    LIFE SKILLS FOR YOUTH IN THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC REGION

    (Item 9 of the provisional agenda)

    Note by the secretariat

    SUMMARY

    The present note reports that the challenges facing youth in the region have become more

    complex. It notes that the prevention of risks, such as sexually transmitted diseases and drug use,

    requires effective life skills among youth to make the right choices and protect themselves. The paper

    then analyses the life skills approach and stresses that to have an impact among youth, information

    needs to be complemented by attitudinal and interpersonal skills. It reviews different areas of life

    skills and takes the prevention of HIV/AIDS as an example. The paper concludes by underscoring the

    importance of life skills training for youth in Asia and the Pacific in order to develop positive and

    healthy behaviours.

721397.doc

    - i -

    CONTENTS

    Page

    Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 1 A. What are life skills? ............................................................................................................. 1 B. Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 5 References ................................................................................................................................... 6

     E/ESCAP/HRDY(3)/6

     Page 1

    Introduction

    1. The increasingly complex challenges faced by youth in the Asian and Pacific region require skills in decision-making and problem-solving. Many young people in the region daily tackle new

    and intensified challenges, such as the risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS and other sexually

    transmitted diseases (STDs), substances abuse, and vulnerability to unemployment, war and political

    instability, discrimination, and sexual and other forms of exploitation. In order to protect themselves,

    young people require skills enabling them to make the right choices.

    2. The multifaceted nature of these challenges is increasingly being recognized. Furthermore, research is showing that information is necessary but not sufficient to develop or change risk

    behaviour, and that information-based approaches need to be combined with attitudinal and

    interpersonal skills, known as “life skills”. As part of a comprehensive, multi-strategy approach, a

    life-skills methodology is increasingly being used to help reduce the harm associated with these issues,

    and to develop protective behaviour among youth.

    3. Life skills are useful in many contexts, and an important influence has been adolescent health

    behaviour research and practice. This paper focuses in particular on life skills for youth related to

    HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse.

    A. What are life skills?

    4. The life skills approach has developed from a number of influences, and the basic approach is

    used under a variety of names. The simplest adaptation of the approach would be an interactive

    educational approach, which focuses on more than strictly information. UNICEF refers to the

    following definition of the life skills approach:

    The interactive process of teaching and learning which focuses on acquiring knowledge,

    attitudes and skills which support behaviours that enable us to take greater responsibility

    for our own lives; by making healthy life choices, gaining greater resistance to negative

    pressures, and minimizing harmful behaviours (UNICEF, 2000).

    5. The life skills approach encompasses three aspects: knowledge (K), skills (S) and attitudes (A). These three components are combined to provide young people with not only information but

    also methods of processing the information, and using it in everyday life. This involves translating

    knowledge and attitudes into safe and adaptive actions.

    6. The term “life skills” is becoming used increasingly in the context of youth issues, and it is important to ensure a common understanding of its meaning. Life skills comprise interpersonal,

    attitudinal and psychosocial aspects, and include such skills as communication, decision-making,

    creative thinking, negotiation, stress management, values analysis, and confidence-building. The

    following example outlines some of the skills the approach entails:

    /…

E/ESCAP/HRDY(3)/6

    Page 2

     Social Cognitive Emotional coping

    o Communication skills o Decision-making/ o Managing stress

     problem-solving skills

    o Negotiation/refusal skills - Understanding o Managing feelings, e.g.

     consequences of actions anger o Assertiveness skills - Determining alternative

     solutions o Self-awareness skills, o Interpersonal skills including awareness of

     o Critical thinking skills, influences, values, o Cooperation skills including analysing attitudes and rights

    influences such as the

    media o Self-control skills

    o Goal-setting skills

     Source: UNICEF, 2000.

7. An important aspect of the life skills approach is that information, while a necessary

    component, has proved not to be enough by itself to change behaviour. Information must be

    combined with other skills, including attitudinal changes and methods of interpersonal relations.

    Simply using a “fatalistic” approach, which focuses on a purely negative message (such as “drugs

    kill”) has, in particular, not proved effective. Recognizing the complexity and challenges facing young people, the life skills approach seeks to move beyond simplistic messages and discuss issues in

    a more open manner. The life skills approach does not tell young people what is right and what is

    wrong. Rather, through the provision of options and choices, young people are empowered to make

    the choices that are best for them.

    1. Life skills for youth in the Asian and Pacific region

    8. Like all youth, young people in the Asian and Pacific region need life skills in order to make

    the best choices for themselves. For example, young people need to know how to deal with the

    pressure of sexual relations or peer pressure to use substances, how to negotiate protected sex, how to

    care for people with HIV/AIDS, and how to negotiate in potentially violent situations.

    9. At the Round Table on Life Skills Education for Youth in The New Millennium, organized by

    ESCAP and held in Bangkok in January 2000, youth representatives identified four main areas of life

    skills: (a) interpersonal skills; (b) personal development skills; (c) social awareness skills; and (d)

    technological skills. Young people emphasized the importance of improving “soft skills”, such as

    attitudes and emotional development, in addition to learning traditional “hard skills” in specific vocational fields. Young people also noted that life skills were learnt through their peers and the

    media, not just through the education system.

    Interpersonal skills. Three main skills were mentioned: (a) communication skills; (b) empathy; and

    (c) emotional development. Young people noted that those skills were important in order for them to

    /…

     E/ESCAP/HRDY(3)/6

     Page 3

live independently, and be able to impart their ideas effectively. Respect for other cultures and

    religions in the region was stressed as an essential life skill.

    Personal development. Young people noted many diverse skills under this heading, including (a) critical thinking; (b) self-protection; (c) self-confidence; (d) health and hygiene; and (e)

    professionalism. These skills were seen as important as they allowed young people to improve

    themselves and society, get out of difficult situations and lead healthier lives.

    Social awareness. Young people reported that social consciousness, in terms of the global environment, was a key life skill. This was for the benefit of the sustainability of the environment in

    the region, and society in the future.

    Technological skills