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31 May 2023

5 tips for bringing life skills into your classroom

Hannah Marr

Director of Education, Digital Theatre+

Teacher pointing at student with raised hand

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Preparing students for life outside the classroom (be that their personal lives, college, university, or work) has never been more important. But teachers are facing such high demands of their time as it is that finding time to teach these invaluable skills can feel like one too many things to add to the list. 

That's why we have put together these handy tips to teaching life skills within your classroom. Meaning you can teach these all-important skills, without steering away from your subject-specific objectives.

What are some practical ways that you can add the teaching of life skills to your Theatre and English classrooms?

Tip 1: self-awareness

Adding exit tickets to the end of activities or classes is a great way to get students to reflect on their own learning and what went well or not so well for them. This can be extended for group activities into both reflection on the student’s own contribution to the activity as well as (constructive) feedback to their peers.

Tip 2: self-management

Use examples of poor self-management in famous stories and literary works to prompt discussions with students about what characters could have done differently, and how the story may have ended differently if they had. Fairy tales are great conversation starters for this - what would have happened if Goldilocks didn’t break into the three bears’ house? Equally, so is Shakespeare - how much is Othello’s jealousy and rage to blame for what happens to Ophelia?

Tip 3: responsible decision-making

When putting on the school play, it can be tempting as the director to solve all the challenges that inevitably arise yourself. But wherever possible, try to encourage students to help you make some of those decisions. Even decisions such as casting could be made collaboratively with students by outlining the priorities needed for each role (eg. a good memory to learn lots of lines; time outside of the school day to attend rehearsals) and assessing and shortlisting candidates together against those priorities.

Tip 4: relationship skills

Dance and movement-based theatre can be a particularly effective visual representation of teamwork and collaboration, as all the dancers have to work together to build the piece. Show students clips of group dances and ask them to discuss all the different ways that the dancers are working together to deliver a successful performance.

Tip 5: social awareness

Watching a play or reading a novel set in a different place or time encourages students’ social awareness. Ask them to reflect on what is different to their lives, but crucially also what’s similar. How would they feel if they were in the same situation as a particular character? If they would behaved differently, how much is that because of the different perspective they have?

Want to hear about the resources we have available to help teach life skills in your classroom? Contact our dedicated team today to find out more!