Life skills are those skills which enable us to deal effectively with the challenges faced every day and are needed to succeed in life. They involve the ability to be flexible when problem solving, display imitative, interact positively with others, be productive, and to be a leader. Qualities associated with successful life skills include self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, strong interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and self-control.
Why is it important to teach GT students life skills? The stakes are so high. Many GT students represent our future leaders and life skills are essential for great leaders. Success in life is not dependent alone on how intelligent a person is or becomes. Personal satisfaction with accomplishments plays an overall role in happiness; both personally and socially.
How is society inhibiting the acquisition of necessary life skills? Students have fewer face-to-face interactions with peers and instructors reducing their ability to acquire and hone life skills they need to meet the challenges of life. More often, students interact via social media, video conferencing, and text messages rather than in real life situations.
Twice-exceptional children who deal with executive function deficits can benefit from skills-based education from the earliest years as soon as it’s diagnosed. Many of them struggle with social interactions that impeded their academic success. Skills-based education can close this gap. Learning life-skills can help twice-exceptional children handle stressful situations, feel more confident, and learn how to cope with challenges in a more positive way.
What are best practices for educators to embed life skills education in their curriculum? Time management skills education can begin in early elementary by reviewing daily schedules, using a student planner, and discussing with students ways to complete unfinished assignments in a timely manner. Creating opportunities for collaboration on assignments and providing students with leadership strategies that pre-empt one student from doing all the work can be invaluable for gifted students. Occasionally, teachers can switch-up or change the schedule so that students need to learn the importance of being flexible … a much sought after skill by employers. Suggest coping strategies for students to meet the challenge. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to engage in conversations with classmates and then in active and reflexive listening in the classroom. They can promote student choice and voice to allow them control over their learning which provides a gateway to self-motivation; a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.
How can parents help their gifted children gain the necessary life skills to be successful? Parents must first ensure they possess the life skills necessary for living a successful and rewarding life; even if they must seek out training. They can help their gifted children by modeling necessary life skills in their everyday life. Parents cannot assume that life skills will be taught at school or by associating with successful peers. By observing their child’s behavior, they can determine which skills their child needs. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Smart but Scattered Kids (website)
Social Life Skills – Characteristics of the Gifted Child (YouTube 4:23)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.