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close this bookLife Skills for Young Ugandans- Secondary Teachers' Training Manual (UNICEF, 254 p.)
close this folderSection Five: Preparing Your own Units
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View the document5.1 INTRODUCTION
View the document5.2 WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
View the document5.3 HOW TO PREPARE AN ACTIVITY
View the document5.5 SUMMARY



The previous section has provided examples of many activities that a teacher can use in promoting the development of life skills in her/his students in the course of teaching Health Education. However, these are only examples and teachers are encouraged to develop life skills promoting activities for every topic in the syllabus. This is not a difficult task. It requires a little creativity and commitment. The purpose of this section is to provide some guidelines and examples.


The manual shows that the development of life skills requires active learning. The learner has to become actively involved in the lesson thereby participating in the discovery or acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills. It is suggested that while developing life skills promoting activities, the following points are kept in mind.

Ice Breaking

The group needs to loosen up. The learners may have been studying together for some time. They may know one another by name but may not have gone beyond that, except with close friends. The learners should be encouraged to mix in random pairs/groups. For example, each pair may tell each other something about themselves such as hobbies, dislikes, most valued childhood experience, most embarrassing moment with a teacher etc. The importance of the exercise is for the group to open up to one another. (See some of the icebreakers in Section Two of this manual).

Team BuildingMost of the life skills activities require team work and sharing of sensitive feelings and ideas. It is therefore good to start with activities that build up a sense of trust, frankness and mutual respect among the learners. It is also good at this stage to encourage the learners to come up with their own ground rules that will guide the work. (Suggestions for these can be found in Section Two).


A number of life skills have been identified and described in Section One of the manual. In Section Three, under each topic, skills that can be developed have been suggested. You may not consider all those skills to be priorities for the target audience. It is also not possible to treat all the life skills at the same time. Select and prioritise those that best suit the needs of the learners so that they can be given the depth of treatment they deserve and the learners move beyond a superficial appreciation. By identifying the needs of the target audience in terms of skills development, activities may be produced to meet them.


As the lesson progresses, learners may become fatigued. Afternoon lessons can be especially tough. Develop some short activities such as the ones described in Section Two of the manual that can be used as necessary.


As stated above, it is very important to use methods that promote full participation and enjoyment of the learners, and to use a variety of methods wherever possible in order to avoid monotony. Some suggested methods can be found in Section Two.


You can make your own activities by following these simple guidelines.

1. Section

2. Topic (or sub-topic)

3. Introduction

This gives the reasons why a particular topis is being taught and how it relates to the students and the life skills they require.

4. Activity title

Your topic may have more than one activity.

5. Objectives

These should be SMART.

· Specific.
· Measurable.
· Attainable.
· Realistic.
· Targetted.

6. Life skills to be taught

7. Materials

Activities may need a variety of materials in order to facilitate and provoke participation and discussion. The most common materials are large sheets of paper and marker pens. Where these are not available, the chalkboard can be used.

It is essential that these are prepared in advance, especially if there is a handout as nothing can kill participation and enthusiams more than lacking the right materials at the right time.

8. Time

All activities should be about 30-40 minutes in order to allow the lecturer or teacher space to introduce the topic and bring the lesson to a close.

9. Procedure

This outlines the steps of the activity.

10. Learning points

Prepare your checklist of points you want the students to learn from the activity, in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

11. Hints

These are points to remember so that the lessons are well organised. They also remind the lecturer or teacher of those factors which might hinder the achievement of the objectives.

12. Extension Activity

These are supplementary activities, either for the purpose of review or to provoke further activities and thought among students. Although time is often tight, such activities are very important as they help the students to practise on their own and internalise what they have been exposed to during the activity.


Sample Plan One


Class: S2.
No of students: 40.
Time: 40 minutes.
Topic: Water and Environmental Sanitation.
Sub-topic: Proper Housing for Rural and Urban Areas.

Specific objectives

By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

1. Explain the factors involved in choosing a house.
2. Argue rationally using the available evidence.
3. Make decisions based on available evidence.
4. Demonstrate how to select a housing site from limited possibilities.

Life skills to be developed

Critical thinking, negotiation, decision making.


1. Case study.
2. Small group discussions.
3. Classroom discussions.
4. Brainstorming.

Material/Learning Aids

1. Handout of case study ‘Selecting a Housing Site’.
2. Sheets of paper (to facilitate group reports).
3. Marker pens (if available) and masking tape (optional).


1. Secondary school Health Education syllabus.
2. Teacher’s Guide to Primary School Health Education.


Teacher’s Activity

Students’ Activity

Step 1

3 mins.

Write students’ answers on chalkboard or large sheet of paper

Brainstorm on factors they would consider if they were to build their own houses

Step 2

5 mins.

Divide students into groups and distribute handout of case study.
Ask each group to discuss and reach a consensus on which site to select and why.

Each group chooses a leader and secretary. The leader acts as father in the home while the rest, children.

Step 3

15 mins.

Move around and listen to discussion.


Step 4

12 mins.

Ask groups to present findings to the rest of the class.
Write their reasons on chalkboard or paper.

Secretaries present findings.


5 mins.

Guide a classroom discussion based on the results.
Make concluding remarks bringing in other factors considered when selecting a site.


Self Assessment

· Did all the students meaningfully participate? Did they all get a chance to express their views to the full and try and persuade others?

· Was the content well grasped?

· Did the skills of critical thinking, negotiation and decision making feature?

Learning Points

1. Possible reasons for selecting sites



Flat land, no grading needed.

Well planned area.

Roofed structure already present.

Pleasant neighbourhood.

Walls and roof are permanent.

Roofed servant quarter available for emergency residence.


Foundation for main house.

Large compound.

Likely access to water, electricity, good roads etc.

2. Reasons for rejecting



Crowded area.

Swampy area, difficult to drain.

Flat land and could be flooded if drainage is poor.

Swamps are health hazards, facilitating mosquito breeding.

Not planned - could easily be demolished.

High initial cost.

Extensive modifications could be expensive.

Small compound.

Domestic animals around could be a source of unpleasant smell and even pose a threat to health.


· Be open and accept all reasons that can be substantiated from the handout in addition to the examples given above.

· Without hurting the students’ feelings do not accept arguments that cannot be substantiated from the handout.

· Explain that each group should respect the decisions of other groups.

· Note the health and economic arguments advanced.

· Critical thinking, negotiation and decision making processes should come out during the group discussions.

Sample Plan Two


No of students:
Time: 40 minutes.
Topic: Oral Health.
Sub topic: Effects of diet on oral health.

Specific Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

1. Distinguish the types of food that promote good oral health from those that promote poor oral health.

2. Identify peer influences that promote poor oral health.

3. Make decisions that lead to good oral health.

Life skills to be developed

Peer resistance, decision making.


1. Role play.
2. Group discussion.
3. Question and answer.


1. Container (i.e. big empty box).
2. Items to represent fruits (i.e. duster, books etc).


1. An Integrated Approach to Biology for East Africa by Sopers and Smith.
2. Primary Health Education by Bevery, Y. and Susan Durston.
3. School Health Education for Secondary Schools Teachers Guide.



Teacher’s Activity

Students’ Activity

Step 1

5 mins.

Review previous lesson questions:

(i) Name foods that promote good oral health.

(ii) Name foods that lead to bad oral health.

Answer the questions.

Step 2

10 mins

Write topic on chalkboard. Ask those who volunteered to do role play in previous lesson to present it to the class.

Watch role play.

Step 3

10 mins

Divide class into groups to discuss questions related to role play.

Discuss questions in groups.

Step 4

10 mins

Ask groups to reassemble.

Present responses.

Carry out guided discussion to collect and consolidate responses



5 mins

Ask students to write down four important points they have learnt from role play.

Write down the 4 points.

Self Evaluation

· Level of discussion
· Level of understanding of oral health
· Awareness of peer pressures and ways of coping with them.

Learning Points

· If a person eats sugar frequently, his teeth will be attacked by acid many times and gradually cavities will develop in the teeth.

· The most important factor is not the total amount of sugar that is consumed within a given period but the number of times sugar enters the mouth.

· Calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D are essential for the formation and development of teeth. Fluorides are important for prevention of caries.


· Ensure good time management.
· Promote the fresh foods commonly found in Uganda rather than packaged foods.
· It is possible to do the same activity as a case study rather than a role play.

Case Study and Questions


Today is a visiting day at Orogo Secondary School. David, an S.2 in the school, is looking forward to his mother’s visit and the usual ‘grub’: biscuits, sweets, chocolate, cakes, jam, orange squash, rice and chicken which make him popular among his friends. In fact, they won’t go for lunch today because they’re expecting to enjoy David’s grub as usual. David is their man!

When mother arrives, she is so pleased with herself for having supplemented David’s grub, as he requested on her last visit. From her ‘Kikapu’ she sorts out in front of David all she has brought for him: ‘bogoya’, ‘fene’, pawpaws, oranges, mangoes, avocados, sugarcane and pineapples. David is shocked. How could his mother do this to him? How does he walk back to the company of his friends? What will they say?


(i) Why did David worry about what his friends would say?
(ii) Why do you think David did not appreciate the types of food mother brought for him?
(iii) What kind of ‘grub’ do you normally like?
(iv) What adjustments would you make in your ‘grub’ in order to improve your diet?

Sample Plan Three


Class: S.2
No of students:
Time: 40 minutes
Topic: Smoking
Sub-topic: What influences people to smoke.


By the end of the lesson, the students should be able to:

1. Explain the different ways of using tobacco.
2. Identify the environment which influences young people to smoke.
3. Use life skills, to help themselves and others make appropriate decisions concerning tobacco use.

Life skills to be developed

Self awareness, self esteem, critical thinking, decision making, peer resistance.


1. Question and answer.
2. Case study.
3. Group discussion.


Copies of case study and questions.


1. NTC/Secondary Life Skills Manuals.
2. Health Education Manual for Secondary Schools.
3. Health Education Teachers’ Guide Vol II, pp 5-7.



Teacher’s Activity

Students’ Activity

Step 1

3 mins.

Review questions

(i) What is tobacco?
(ii) Where is it grown?

Answer the questions.

Step 2

15 mins.

Write topic on board. Divide class into groups and distribute case study

Read case study in groups and answer the attached questions.

Step 3

10 mins.


Groups present answers to the rest of the class for further discussion

Step 4

10 mins.

Show a cigarette advertisement to the class.
Ask how it tries to attract people to smoke.



2 mins

Hand out other advertisements for groups to discuss as an assignment.


To what extent were the students involved in the lesson and giving their real feelings?

Learning points

Cigarette advertisements often appeal to external issues such as popularity, power etc.


The best place to find cigarette advertisements is on hoardings.

Case Study

Ibara lived in Kabale. His parents grew and smoked tobacco. From his infancy, Ibara saw his mother smoke and chew tobacco. His father too used to put dried tobacco leaves in a big pipe and send him to light it with burning charcoal. it. Ibara would then smoke a little before handing it to the old man.

Ibara started smoking cigarettes when he was fourteen and soon became a chain smoker. He also chewed, sniffed and at times put dried leaves of tobacco in a pipe and smoked it like his father.


(i) How many different ways was tobacco used in Ibara’s home?
(ii) In your opinion, why did Ibara choose smoking?
(iii) If you were Ibara, would you have done any differently? Why?
(iv) What were the influences on Ibara’s decision to smoke tobacco?
(v) What is a chain smoker?

Questions for the assignment

(i) What is the message of the advertisement?
(ii) How is it trying to make smoking attractive?
(iii) According to the advertisement what is the advantage of smoking?
(iv) How realistic is the advertisement.


Have you thought about?


· Be constructive and supportive in your interaction with the students.
· Try to build up the self esteem of every child.
· Use interactive/ participatory methods.
· Include childrens rights issues.
· Include girl child problems.
· Be sensitive to gender issues.
· Be accepting of children’s answers even if you do not necessarily agree.
· Be time conscious.
· Bring out the necessary life skills clearly in each activity.
· Make sure that materials are available, accessible and adequate.
· Use clear and simple language.
· Develop your lesson in a logical sequence.
· Read the story, case study or letter, ahead of time.
· Prepare activities that provoke discussion and thought rather than preach.
· Distribute the questions and answers evenly among students.
· Vary the activities and methods in your lesson.
· Give homework to your students
· Give assignments for community service


· Use destructive behaviour

· Always ask the same students

· Use one activity only to cover the topic

· Use one method only in a class

· Show a video/film which you have not viewed beforehand

· Design an activity needing materials and then not collect them beforehand

· Design an activity without thinking of the life skills to be developed

· Use difficult language

· Employ the same method every time for grouping the participants

· Forget to include children’s rights, gender and girl child issues

· Be judgemental

· Be frightened to change methods that have always seemed to work for you but maybe are not appropriate for the children

· Be afraid to try

You can do it!