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Archive for the ‘Skills for Life’ Category

EMPATHY by Mrs. Anila Mathews

In Skills for Life on January 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm


“Encouraging a child to imagine how the other person feels or to put herself in that person’s place is a powerful way to nurture empathy.”

-Michelle Barb

This enables an individual to really step into another person’s shoes and feel with him.

How to Listen Empathetically

  1. Actively attempt to understand the Other’s point of view
  1. Take in information without passing judgment
  1. Acknowledge the speaker
  1. Model empathetic practices
  1. Create a trusting environment
  1. Allow the expression of emotion and sharing of problems

Specific things to DO:

  1. Be attentive
  1. Be interested
  1. Be alert
  1. Create a positive atmosphere
  1. Allow the Other to bounce ideas off of you
  1. Indicate you are listening
  1. Reflect your understanding back to the speaker

Specific things to Avoid DON’T:

  1. Change the subject
  1. Discount the speakers’ feelings
  1. Let the speaker “hook” you into an emotional exchange
  1. Interrupt
  1. Give advice
  1. Interrogate

Successful students often recognize that much of their success involves their ability to communicate with others. They are also able to view themselves and the world through the eyes of others. This means, examining beliefs and circumstances of others, keeping in mind the goal of enhanced understanding and appreciation. Successful students value sharing experiences with persons of different backgrounds as enriching their lives

EXAMPLE-Athul and Krishnan were students of class 9 and had been classmates since childhood.

Krishnan lived with his grandparents as he had lost his parents in an accident when he was 3 years old. Krishnan loved to go cycling around the colony and played cricket with his friends in the neighborhood Athul’ past time was playing games on his PC and watching television.

Athul was interested in making Krishnan enjoy computer games. He decided to give Krishnan game CD’s for a week. But Krishnan did not have computer at home. Athul replied sarcastically and rudely “How can you be living in the 21st century without a computer at home?”

Krishnan tried to explain that his grandparents were looking after him his grandfather got a meager pension which he could give him school education; He could not afford a computer for him.

Athul retorted “It is ridiculous your grand parents do not care for you, How can there be a household without a computer?”

Krishnan was able to place himself in his grandparents shoes and realize the affordability of his grandfather while Athul was not able to place himself in Krishna’s shoes to accept the reality.

Being empathetic means one has the ability to imagine oneself in the shoes of someone else that is a friend, parent, teacher or others and experience their positive and negative emotions. Empathy makes a person understand others concerns, worries, fears, need, and feelings.

Empathy towards others is a unique quality every adolescent should inculcate in life. This enables the youngsters to appreciate others better; it helps in improving communication and in establishing worthwhile long term relationships.

Parents and teachers can be good role modals in being empathetic towards their sons, daughters and students this improves he bond between adults and young people.


Anila Mathews

Life skill teacher

Manageing ‘Stress’ by Mrs. Anila Mathews

In Skills for Life on March 2, 2008 at 7:52 pm




Remember the turtle – He makes no progress till he sticks his neck out.

Can we take charge of ourselves under any circumstances?

In our lives, we face many situations that leave us with a feeling of discomfort or inadequacy. It is situations like these that may cause a degree of stress.


Consider these

Your favorite teacher has to leave the school.

→You need to change your school because your parents are transferred.

→You are very keen to be part of the student council but do not make it.

→ You have been selected to represent your school in debate and are not sure if you‘ll be able to win the trophy.

All these situations will make you worried & uncomfortable. In other words all these situations will cause some amount of stress.

Stress is a set of physical, mental and chemical reactions in our body to real or perceived circumstances of fear, danger, excitement, irritation etc.hat motivate us to change and react to the situation

However, stress is not always harmful. Stress is of two kinds’ eustress and distress.

Let us understand the relationship between distress and eustress

-Moderate stress actually improves performance. This is eustress.

-Too much stress impairs performance. This is distress.

-Too little stress decreases motivation, this is apathy.

Too much – or too little is a frequent cause of stress

Simple ways to reduce stress

Let your steam out – talk to somebody who is close to you and can understand you.

→ Manage your time – so that you have all the time to do what you want to do.

→ Anticipate stressful time and prepare accordingly – for an exam or a presentation.

→ Develop supportive techniques – eat right food, exercise, sleep well.

→ Learn how to relax –learn breathing techniques, imagery (transporting yourself to a peaceful place e.g. beach) , yoga.

→ Repeat health enhancing phrases to yourself whenever you feel stressed – e.g. “SMILE”, “Do not take it too seriously” , “Tomorrow another day”



Mrs. Anila Mathews

Life Skill Teacher

CONFRONT YOUR FEARS by Mrs. Anila Mathews

In Skills for Life on February 11, 2008 at 2:21 pm



 People with fears usually avoid situations they fear.When you avoid a situation the problem becomes worse,Instead of avoiding the situation face it confidently.In most cases the consequences are not as bad as weFear they would be.When you face the situation you would be flooded withFeelings of discomfort and after a while they will decrease and slowly fade away.Fearful thoughts are natural, but they should not hamper yourDay to day life. The best way to overcome fear is to understand that fear is a thought and it is not a real event. Write down your fear in capital letters on a piece of paper then slowly and deliberately tear it into small pieces and throw it away.Consciously feel your fear being destroyed. [Do these exercise practically] Worry and negative thoughts cause stress And damage our confidence  

Here is an event from Thomas Edison’s life


 Thomas Edison tried different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and have learned a lot. We now know that there are so many elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.” Edison went on to discover the bulb. There are many other discoveries to his credit. Following are some ways by which all of us can turn obstacles in our lives to blessings 

a) An obstacles has as much power as you give it, never dwell on the cause of the obstacles – change the way you think about it.         

b) Know that you have the ability to control the outcome and choose a path to get the best solution.       

 c) If one solution does not work try another way to get the best solution.         

d) Try not using the obstacles as an excuse, but using it as a challenge and rising above it.       

e) Have confidence in your ability, your view of the obstacle determines how much impact it has on your life. 


 Here are some affirmations to repeat everyday These will help you develop confidence and positive self image. I can do this.I accept myself as I am.I always do my best.I forgive myself for this mistake.I am important.I have my need like everyone else. 



POSITIVE                               NEGATIVE ˇ                          

Will participate                         Will not participate ˇ                   

Develop skills and knowledge           I am not capable ˇ                          ˇ

SUCCESS                       DeadEnd                                                                                                                                                                   

 For example Identify the field you want to succeed in : It could be footfall, rock climbing, painting or studying. 

How can you achieve that goal?        

  1. Identify the field you want to succeed in :

 It could be footfall, rock climbing, painting or studying. How can you achieve that goal?          2. Set small realistic milestones.                 3. Identify your existing strengths for achieving the goal.      4. Identify the new skills you need to develop to achieve your goal.      5. Locate people who could help you in achieving your goal. 

     6. Even if the progress is slow, do not give up.


     7. Introspect, be patient and carry on.



Mrs. Anila Mathews

Life Skill Teacher

TEAM WORK by Mrs. Anila Mathews

In Skills for Life on February 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm




 When geese fly in formation, they travel about 70% faster than when they fly alone. Geese share leadership. When the lead goose tires, he (or she) rotates back into the “V” And another flies forward to become the leader.


Geese keep company with the fallen. When a sick or weak goose drops out of flight formation, at least one other goose joins to help and protect.

By being part of a team, we too, can accomplish much more, much faster. Words of encouragement and support (honking from behind) help inspire and energize those on the front line, helping them to keep pace in spite of the day to day pressures and fatigue.

And finally, show compassion and care for our fellowmen – a member of the ultimate team, “mankind”.

 The next time you see a formation of geese, remember that it is a reward, a challenge,

and a privilege to be  a  contributing member of the  team.                                                                                                                   


The Universe continues to function as a result of Gigantic Cosmic Teamwork.

Within the gigantic cosmic teamwork are hundreds of smaller teams that are also working in unison, the nest of a bird, your family, the school and factories that produce goods are all teams of different sizes. 

It is common to call small groups working together as teams and where very large groups work we call them organization. In class when four or five work together it is a team, but the school is an organization.

To understand a little more about holistic fulfillment and how teams contribute to it.

There are four important aspects of life like spiritual needs, physical needs, and intellectual Needs and social needs.


Teams contribute to the holistic fulfillment of all its members.  These are the four important aspects of life and fulfillment of all makes life comfortable, enriching and meaningful. This is called holistic fulfillment.   

Life would indeed be incomplete if there were no teams. From the great wonders of the world to the food we see on our tables’ everyday, is because teams are working and we are linked with them.

» The wonders of the world like the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, or the Pyramids of Egypt are a result of a gigantic teamwork, Our cultural heritage in the form of beautiful , historical monuments exists because teams of craft persons, architects, masons and designers were working together. These creations of nature and beauty enrich our spirits, similarly, churches, temples, mosques and Gurudwara and other such places of worship fulfill our SPIRITUAL NEEDS.

» Lives are saved everyday because we have hospitals, where teams of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff are performing in an organized way their respective roles. Similarly the food that we eat, clothes that we wear and all the things, which are essential for our living, are produced, by factories, farms and organizations which are large teams. These fulfill our PHYSICAL NEEDS.

» Our INTELLECTUAL NEEDS are fulfilled by schools. Colleges and universities, where teachers, professors, scholars, technicians work to educate us. Research Institutes are teams that are working to discover new cures, or invert things that will make life more comfortable for us.

» Finally our SOCIAL NEEDS are fulfilled when we become members of family, friends, clubs and associations that interest us.

 Anila Mathews
Life skill Tr.