Life Skills Education: Critical to Quality of Life

Article excerpt

Educators today claim that classroom work and laboratory exercises if most effectively taught, should grow out of problems. These problems are chosen to make a personal appeal, to be of interest to the pupils and to be typical of problems which confront people in every day life. In the solvency of these problems, reflective purposive thinking and reasoning on the part of the student are call for (Davis, 1919, p. 426)

In making these comments to the Washington and Oregon teachers, one might ask what Life Skills Helen Davis was challenging the teachers to showcase. She asked many probing questions which had the teachers examining "Life Skills Education" and how it was "critical to quality of life" for their students. Think of it-these questions were being asked nearly 9 decades ago. Referring to students, she asked: Do they

* Choose foods wisely for themselves and others?

* Possess the knowledge of materials, their proper value, and use?

* Comprehend what money means?

* Realize their ethical obligations to the life and occupations of workers?

Of the teachers, she asked: Are you

* Trying new methods?

* Seeing educational value in a method well done?

* Adapting to the needs of students and to changing economic, social and intellectual conditions?

In this "Showcase Edition" of the Journal, many recent Teachers of the Year share their exemplary programs, which address problems that confront students in their current as well as their future everyday lives. In telling their stories, they answer some of Ms. Davis' questions and explain the impact Life Skills have had on their FCS students as well as families, schools, and communities. In addition the other articles in this issue showcase the differences FCS professionals are making in businesses, community agencies, collegiate classrooms, and the workplace. The impact made by any one of these professionals may not seem great in one year, but when exemplary programs are repeated year after year, it does not take a calculator to determine the number of lives that are touched with Life Skills education in 5, 10, or more years. Add to that the many articles in the JFCS since our first Showcase Edition (January 2004), and the relevance of the practice and productivity of FCS is evident.

My well-used dictionary indicates that showcase is a verb as well as a noun. …