My wife and I have taken care of our ten month old grandson for two days. He now puts Cheerios in his mouth. He cannot yet feed himself with spoon. Life skills take a long time to develop.
I teach a college composition and research course in which I spend the whole semester in having the learners develop their essay skills. Most students come in with a very low level of skill. Numerous students write their first essay as one long paragraph with no introduction, no conclusion, no major categories of proof, no evidence and no detailed examples. By the end of the course, they can write a full five paragraph essay in 50 minutes. We constantly assess and improve upon the various skills in essay writing until they can skillfully use them.
I wonder how much time we spend in our classes in teaching the life skills of our course. Do we give our students prolonged time to learn, practice, and be assessed on their critical skills? Do we consciously build on the skill over time to get it to a proficient level? Do we revisit the skill to help them increase in their level of the skill? Do our students finally reach a level that they have developed a life skill of our course?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.