CIVICS FORM TWO TOPIC 1: PROMOTION OF LIFE SKILLS

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Life skills are the mental abilities which enable a person to have self control. Through these skills, a person is able to act, think or behave in an acceptable manner in the community. Some of the life skills include: negotiation skills, relationship skills, self-awareness skills and decision-making skills. Life skills as a discipline, refers to the study that provide knowledge and skills which enable people to cope with the day to day socio-economic affairs in the ever changing world.
Meaning and Importance of Applying Problem Solving Techniques
Explain the meaning and importance of applying problem solving techniques
The advancement of science and technology, diversification of culture, population growth and interaction of different cultures intensifies the need for education on life skills in secondary schools and to common citizens,. Life skills therefore, enable people to cope with the rapid socio-economic, culture and political changes brought by global interactions.
Promotion of life skills refers to the deliberate efforts toencourage and cultivate social values, knowledge and ability of individuals in solving problems. It helps individuals control themselves in a more acceptable manner.
Activity 1
Discuss with your fellows the ways to combat HIV/AIDS pandemic
People face various problems, especially when they struggle to achieve better life. Social problems are difficulties that affect people in a community. These problems hinder various developments in communities. People always struggle to solve these problems by using a variety of techniques. These techniques are known as social problem solving techniques, and they are applied in societies. Therefore, Problem solving techniques are ways though which people solve different problems encountered in their societies. Societies have different ways of solving problems due to the varieties of problems. Because of these variations, techniques of solving these problems differ a great deal. Speaking skills can be one of them. The following are some of the techniques that are usually employed in solving problems:
  • Cooperative techniques:thisis away of solving problems whereby a person who has a problem exposes it to other people so that they can help each other to overcome it. This technique is very useful because different people are involved in tackling the existing problem. Solving problems collectively is more effective than tackling problems individually.
  • Guidance and counselling: There are problems which cannot be solved physically or mechanically. Instead, they need psychological treatment. The counselling treatment is applied to people who suffermentally or emotionally. For example, HIV/AIDS victims and drug addicts need counselling so as to make them feel comfortable. In the counselling technique, the problem is not actually solved. What is done in counselling is simply to give psychological relief. Through guidance and counselling, a person is given ways of solving the problem or coping with it. Counselling acts as the curative measure as it helps one to cope with the situation and feel comfortable.
  • Working hard: It is an appropriate method to the problem that is caused by laziness. For example, lack of food and good shelter can be solved by working hard. Working hard has proved to be one of the effective means to success to success. It’s advisable that, hard work should be employed in both mental and physical activities so that many problems could easily be solved.
  • Seeking advice from individual persons: It is a technique that is very familiar to many people for a number of years in problem solving. Every day experiences show that, many people pay visit to other in searching advice to solve their problems. In most cases, people consulted are those who are considered to be wise. With enough knowledge and experience about various problems. At school, for example, a student may seek advice from his/her fellow students or a teacher on how to conduct private studies in order to avoid failures in examinations.Likewise a person who faces a problem in business can seek advice from well experienced fellow business people on how to solve it.
  • Reading books: Some books tell us something about life skills. Such books give different suggestions on how to solve problems. For example there are books which help people with psychological problem to recover. People are encouraged to build habits to read both fictional and non-fictional stories. They usually aim at refreshing their mind and acquire problem solving skills. It is important for a person who is seeking advice to consider the nature of his/her problem before deciding on what to do. There are problems which may not be solved by individual people, so they need collective solutions. Normally problems of this kind need specific strategies to eradicate them. In addition, an advice seeker should carefully examine every piece of advice given before implementation. It is however important to note that, for every piece of advice given, it might have an implication. So, the advice seeker should be very careful when implementing or executing it.
The importance of applying problem solving techniques
Problem solving is very important in societies because thetechnique lays afoundation for realising ideal solutions to the problem encountered. Problem solving techniques arevery important because:
  • The method helps people to get the required possible solutions to various problems. If all steps are carefully followed, the probability of realizing the best solutions is very high.
  • Common people get enough skills and knowledge to problem solving in society, hence reduce government expenditure.
  • Many different options for social problem solving can be used depending on the nature of the problem in the society.
Effective problem solving
Since communities are problem oriented, people always engage themselves in solving those problems. We can, therefore, realise that problems are part and parcel of human life. So, it is the duty of every society or community so solve its problems effectively. Effective problem solving is determined by the use of effective strategies. The effectiveness of the solution depends on the right alternatives that can help to eliminate the problem stated in the society.
The importance of effective problem solving
It has to be understood that problem solving is a necessary process in every society. The following are the advantages of effective problem solving.
  • Effective problem solving restores peace and harmony to the people who have victims. Peace and harmony helps people to live comfortably. Unity and solidarity may be promoted among people of a given society. For example people who have been in conflict for a long time, usually enjoying being free and peaceful once they are reconciled.
  • Effective problem solving can reduce the occurrence of deaths. Some deaths are usually due to problems such as misunderstanding among family members or a given society. Immediate and effective problem solving can reduce the rate of misunderstandings among people. Misunderstanding usually influence social affections, this may leads to the occurrence of wars, hence causing loss of many people’s lives. Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo have experienced such problems which are mostly due to tribal misunderstandings.
  • Effective problem solving can promote development in the society. Problems are the major obstacles to the development in many societies in the world. For example, diseases weaken peoples health. In that situation there is possibility for that society to have less development. To avoid this, effective problem solving strategies need to be promoted.
Steps in the Problem Solving Process
Identify steps in the problem solving process
To solve problems successfully there are some specific steps to undertake. The following are some of the basic steps:
Steps in problem solving process
Initiating mediation
Mediation is one of the processes used in problem solving. In this process, two parties are reconciled by athird party. The letter is referred to as the mediator. The mediator assists people involved in a conflict to negotiate and come up to a mutual agreement. We say mediation is effective if the conflicting parties become friendly at the end of reconciliation. Its a failure if the parties continue with their conflict after the conciliation process. Initiating mediation is technically called problem identification in research procedures. This is because initiating mediation prepares good ground for proper understanding of the problem. Through mediation, factors that cause conflict are put to light as people involved in the conflict are asked about the sources of their disputes.
Gathering information
In order to solve any problem there should enough information collected about the problem at hand. It is through information gathering that important data can be obtained. It is important to collect data about the existing problem in order to understand what actually causes the problem. For example if one wants to solve the problem about malaria in a particular area, there is the need to have enough information about its causes. Likewise, a doctor can cure a disease after doing through investigation about it. Information gathering has, for years, been used in establishing different projects. Project developers have to collect facts or prior information about the area in which they want to conduct their projects.
Ways of gathering information
Information is gathered using different techniques. The techniques are determined by the nature of the problem that needs solution. The following are among of the tools/techniques employed in information gathering:
Observation
It is physically done by examining the situation which surrounds the problem. In this tool, a person uses his/her eyes to look at the incident and any available records. There are problems which can be easily solved after being observed. For example if one wants to control the spread of malaria at place, he/she will be required to observe factors that are likely to speed up the spread of the disease. The presence of tall grasses, ponds and other structures that facilitate stagnant water provide favourable condition for mosquitoes to lay eggs and multiply. These will be the area of interest of the observer. In contrast, if there is cholera one will observe dirtiness of the environment. The observer will look at the presence of feces from animals or human beings and other dirty materials which support vibro cholera bacteria to multiply at a high rate.
Questionnaire
It is an instrument that has a series of question whereby each one provides a number of alternative answer from which the respondent can choose.The questions are normally written on a prepared sheet of paper. The questions are given to the targeted people who are required to respond accordingly.Through these answers, the researcher can analyse the data and finally draw a conclusion about the problem stated. Example; is malaria present in your area? Mention the factor you think have contributed to the spread of malaria in your village. When answers are given to the above questions, the researcher will understand the extent of the problem. As a result the researcher will give suggestions on how to help these people solve their problem. People are supposed to bear in mind that this tool has its limitation, For instance, questionnaires are only possible with literate people [those who can read and write].This means, there will be no response from illiterates.
Interview
An interview refers to a verbal interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee [respondent]. An interview is usually designed to collect information and people opinions and feelings on the problem. In fact, it is a face-to-face conversation between individuals. With interview, an individual, respondent or a group of respondents who provide instant responses to oral questions are questioned. The interviewer asks and jots down the answers given by the interviewees [respondents). The responses are noted down so that they can later be analysed to see how they correlate with the problem researched.
A conclusion is made and suggestions are given. Interviews are the most effective tools compared to other tools. For example, there is a room for making an additional clarification. Interview is inclusive as it can be used by both literate and illiterate people.
Reading different books and other materials related to the problem
Sometimes answers to the problems can be found in books, journals and other written material which provide the necessary data needed by the researcher. These data are known as secondary data. By reading previous studies the problem seeker can see how other people tried to get the related problems. Materials should be of recent and related to the problem investigated. In that way the problem seeker is able to spell out the problem clearly.
Mass media by means of audio and audio-vision materials (i.e. documentary review)
Radio, television, newspaper and magazine are good examples of mass media. Through different programs we can get a lot of information related to the problem whether directly or indirectly. Also different ways of solving problem can be learnt from the radio and television. Lesson obtained from the radio and television programmers can help one to draw a conclusion about how to solve the problem that one is dealing with. Eventually, the problem seeker develops strategies of solving the problem.
Scientific experiences
Experiments of this kind are used by mostly specialists of different disciplines. Doctors, for example, can conduct experiment that involves investigation for the causes of different diseases on human beings and animals. The aim of using scientific experiment is to find out all important facts about the problem that need solution. Through scientific experiments much information can be gathered and recognised by the specialist to deal with the problem.
Defining the problem
After gathering the information, one can state the problem. One can easily tell the factors which cause the problem to be solved. A person can precisely make a statement about the problem in a particular area with the aid of the collected information. For instance, the researcher can generalize that poor academic performance is mainly caused by truancy. Normally the definition or statement of the problem has to be precise. Stating the problem is sometimes a hard thing to do, especially if one has no supporting facts. Otherwise, with supporting facts it is a simple exercise.
Generating alternatives
The aim of collecting information about the problem is to find possible answers to the underlying problem. Normally, the information gathered provides a general picture about possible causes of a particular problem. For example, the outbreak of cholera can be attributed by the use of unclear or no-boiled water, lack of proper toilets and other agents which facilitate cholera transmission. Knowing the reason or factor for occurrence of the problem leads to the proper development of solutions. Taking the example of cholera above, boiling are water, constructing toilets, educating people on the use of toilets properly and proper waste disposal can be suggested as solutions to the problem, since the causes are known. As causes of problems vary, also alternatives for solving the problems depending on the nature of the problem to be solved will vary. Suggestions given to people suffering from malaria differ from those given to people who are subjected to poverty.
Agreeing in solution
In order for suggested solutions to be effective, there should be agreements. These agreements can involve what to do in order to avoid the re-occurrence of the same problem. For example poor academic performance which is mainly caused by absentees in school; the tendency of attending to school will ensure good, students will also be required to work hard and behave in a good manner. In order for these processes to be implemented effectively, there must be conducive school environment. Contrary to that, all those solutions may not succeed.
Therefore, stake holders ought to make sure that the strategies proposed are seriously implemented. At the same time those who tend to ignore the agreements supposed to be punished. They may be forced to pay fines which will serve as the lesson to them, according to the by-laws.
Exercise 1
A .Answer the following questions
  • Define the following terms: (a)Problem (b)Problem solving technique
  • Explain any five recommended steps which can be used in solving problems.
  • Outline the weaknesses of questionnaire in data collection
  • Why do you think it’s necessary to solve problems immediately?
  • Suppose there is a problem of school drop outs in your school. How would you assist the school to solve this problem?
  • Why it’s necessary to collect data before defining a problem?
Exercise 2
B. Write ‘T’ for true statement and ‘F’ for false statement
  1. Corruption, peace and security are examples of school obstacles
  2. A person with psychological problems is advised to consult a prominent artist
  3. Questionnaire is a verbal interaction between two people
  4. Effective problem solving is determined by the use of effective strategies.

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