Two teachers have launched LifeGames, a free app designed to address increasing behavioural issues in UK and Irish schools. It comes after exclusive research revealed an urgent call by teachers for more development of social skills within the current education system.
The free app teaches key life and social skills such as empathy, respect, responsibility and effective communication through a collection of over 40 activities and games for three age groups (3-5, 6-9, 10-12). A further 250+ activities and games are also available in a variety of modestly-priced premium packs.
Frustrated by the increased focus on academic achievement at the expense of essential life skills, and driven by their experiences of teaching children with bad behaviour, teachers Lukarte Turner and Gabriela Andino developed the LifeGames activities to help reverse the trend of misbehaviour and social ineptitude, and give a helping hand to our already highly stressed teachers.
"LifeGames activities have been created thinking about children, of course," says Lukarte, "but also thinking about teachers, because they are the ones who told us how much stress they’re under and how difficult their job is. LifeGames has been designed with them in mind, to give them a vital classroom resource that helps students understand a better way of living, happier, healthier and more connected to each other. Students need to learn more about life and about themselves, and teachers, together with parents, can help them with that."
Initial research by LifeGames revealed that teachers claim empathy is the most lacking of social skills taught in the current education system, with other key words such as compassion, respect, resilience, cooperation and responsibility also mentioned. 87% of teachers surveyed said they were likely to use a product that helped develop these social skills and traits, with 90% saying they’d use it at least once per week.
LifeGames activities were successfully trialled in a pilot program involving 22 schools in the UK and Ireland in January 2019, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from teachers who rated the activities according to their simplicity, popularity and effectiveness. With most activities scoring at least 4 out of 5, teachers reported that students were motivated and engaged by the activities, felt better able to express themselves, were more respectful of others, and had a greater sense of responsibility afterwards.
"One of the problems teachers were telling us was a lack of time," says Lukarte. "We created this app with that in mind. Our activities are very simple, short, easy to use and have proven highly effective."
Activities in the collection include role-playing games that tackle bullying, puzzles that incentivise cooperation, team challenges that promote leadership and responsibility, tasks that foster trust and good communication, group projects that inspire sharing and community thinking. Premium users also get access to a lesson planner to help fit activities around normal class scheduling.
LifeGames is available as a free app from Google Play and App Store, and also in a large format, illustrated teachers handbook entitled 'Introducing LifeGames - 101 Fun Life Learning Activities for Juniors, available from Amazon.co.uk.