CIVICS          COMMERCE             ENGLISH 



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.

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

Promotion of life skills
 Refers to the deliberate efforts to encourage and
cultivate social values, knowledge and ability of individuals in solving
problems. It helps individuals control themselves in a more acceptable

Activity 1
Discuss with your fellows the ways to combat HIV/AIDS pandemic
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: this is
    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 suffer mentally 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
  • 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
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
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
has to be understood that problem solving is a necessary process in
every society. The following are the advantages of effective problem
  • Effective
    problem solving restores peace and harmony to the people who have
    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
To solve problems successfully there are some specific steps to undertake. The following are some of the basic steps:
Initiating mediation
is one of the processes used in problem solving. In this process, two
parties are reconciled by a third 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
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
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:
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.
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 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.
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
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.

media by means of audio and audio-vision materials (i.e. documentary
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

Scientific experiences
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
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

Generating alternatives
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

Agreeing in solution
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.
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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