Many schools across India pay a great deal of attention to academics. Sadly, not as much time and effort goes into equipping kids with the traits to thrive, socially and emotionally, in the real world. A report by The Wire confirms the existence of a chasm in our education system. So much so that the Delhi government founded the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ in 2018, to ensure we don’t just teach our children to become good scientists, engineers, etc. But to also become all-around individuals who can be “honest and responsible human beings”. As were the exact words of the then Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi. In light of that, today we’ve researched and laid out five social skills in schools that learning institutions must make efforts to nurture:
Conflict resolution is the ability of a student to handle disagreements or impasses in a way that ensures every party involved in the confrontation is content with the outcome. It’s an important skill for students that will teach them how to handle conflicts in school, and eventually at the workplace.
Teaching social skills in education such as conflict resolution is essential to:
- Improving togetherness or unity within the student body
- Forging stronger collaboration drive
- Nurturing other connections beyond the school such as with future colleagues or friends and family
Imparting conflict resolution skills can improve student success, and prevent incidents of bullying, ensuring a conducive learning environment for all students.
In terms of how to teach conflict resolution to students, our school has implemented a simple formula. Starting by allowing students to calm down, share both sides of the story, accept responsibility for their roles in the conflict, come up with solutions together, agree on them unanimously, then forgive and thank each other.
Approximately, 75% of communication is miscommunication. This means that the world is grappling with serious speaking and listening skill deficiencies. Schools are at the front line of changing this, given they are involved in an important phase of brain development for young minds.
The key to how to improve communication skills for students lies in:
- Promoting material with conversation skills. School plays, and class films can help teach children the basic elements of communication namely eye contact, body language, responding, and so on
- Encouraging critical thinking skills. Critical thinkers often make for great communicators. Create a learning environment where students have to think outside the box
- Providing opportunities for teamwork. Schools must offer more group assignments. These groups should be small enough to ensure every member participates actively
Many schools in India adopt a passive learner involvement strategy, where teachers just monologue the class from start to finish. Our school prioritizes turn-taking to ensure learners contribute to the lesson and thus get more chances to brush up on their communication skills.
Indiscipline cases are on the rise across schools. Teachers are struggling with defiant students who skip classes, cause a disturbance during lessons, and don’t fully pay attention when they should.
We acknowledge that nurturing a child’s discipline takes a joint effort between the school and the family. However, we’ll largely focus on what learning establishments can do to ensure students adopt more respectful behavior:
- Teaching students to understand diversity and accommodate opinions that may be drastically inverse to theirs
- Keeping conversations topic-focused instead of people-focused
- Creating an environment that doesn’t condon inflammatory tones and language
Respect is the corner store to long, fulfilling, and rewarding relationships from both professional and social perspectives. It is for this reason that schools should be teaching social skills in education such as respect more often than they currently do.
Why are leadership skills important for students? For one, it encourages more independence and builds up learners who are not afraid to take charge and stir innovation. Students with good leadership skills tend to excel in their careers and socially too. They uplift not just their own lives but those of everyone around them as well.
We’re happy to note that more and more schools are now giving leadership skills the attention they deserve. Still, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Given that just 10% of people are natural leaders, this means that most leaders are not born but made.
Here are pointers on how to develop leadership skills in students:
- Create more student government opportunities
- Set up clubs and other after-school initiatives Work on community volunteering projects
Empathy is the ability of students to put themselves in other shoes by trying to understand the feelings of their peers. As far as social skills for students go, empathy is one of the most important ones as it ties in with many of the other important skills we’ve discussed today.
While 98% of the planet has empathy, it’s not a skill that comes easily to most students. So how can teachers teach empathy? To quell empathy deficits among the student body, Sitalakshmi School advises all learning institutions to:
- Provide ideal role models i.e. teachers, who don’t just talk about empathy but also practice what they preach
- Leverage literature that shows different perspectives on being empathetic
- Teach students to defer judgment until they get the full picture instead of jumping to conclusions
- Demonstrate and encourage empathetic communication that addresses the other parties’ emotions and feelings
As the foundation of morality, empathy is a skill that will serve students well beyond their school days. It is a crucial building block for success as it bolsters self-esteem and makes students more resilient when things don’t go their way.
Schools must prioritize social skills
The National Education Policy of 2020 by the Ministry of Education underscores just how crucial social and emotional learning is for the holistic development of any child. It’s about time that schools across our country put more emphasis on these essential social skills for students that we’ve discussed today. Otherwise, our education system will continue to churn out students who never truly go on to realize their full potential. Here at Sitalakshmi, we realize and acknowledge the importance of social skills in schools. We make every effort to create opportunities for our students to pick up social skills through both formal and informal learning approaches.