Why Is Life Orientation In Schools? - SACAP
Applied Psychology

Why is Life Orientation in Schools?

Feb 06, 2024 | By Saranne Durham
Life Orientation Teacher in the classroom with students

Life orientation (LO) is a subject that many write off as an easy option or even as a waste of time. However, when taught well it can be one of the most valuable classes a student takes. This is because Life Orientation aims to prepare and equip learners for what they are going to encounter in the world around them. It does this to enable a learner to be better able to live a meaningful and successful life. One whereby they can thrive as an individual and make meaningful contributions to society at large.

What is Life Orientation?

Life orientation is intended to be the study of oneself in relation to others and to society. It is an interdisciplinary subject which draws on a wide range of disciplines. For example, psychology, human movements, political science, labour studies and health science. LO is taught at schools to help learners understand themselves better. And thereby be able to set goals with plans to achieve them and become better at decision-making and problem-solving.

LO is a compulsory subject that is required as part of the National Senior Certificate. This means that every student must do it in order to write their matric exams. Furthermore, in order to pass Matric, a learner has to pass Life Orientation.

LO as a School Subject

LO takes a holistic approach that encompasses mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It considers the individual as well as the community and societal context we live in. In doing this it encourages students to be confident in themselves and to be able to contribute meaningfully in different settings.

6 Topics of Life Orientation

  1. Development of Self in Society.
  2. Social and Environmental Responsibility.
  3. Democracy and Human Rights.
  4. Careers and Career Choices.
  5. Study Skills.
  6. Physical Education.

Each of these are broken down further into specific lessons. For example, Development of Self in Society looks at the importance of self-esteem and self-awareness. It examines what healthy life choices are and how to put them in place to foster a healthy lifestyle. It also equips students to better deal with stress and teaches them conflict resolution skills.

What are the Benefits of Life Orientation Lessons?

Contrary to what many believe, LO lessons are not a waste of time. Especially if the content is well taught and students engage in the lessons.

7 Specific Aims of Life Orientation

  1. Enable learners to respond appropriately to life’s responsibilities and opportunities.
  2. Prepare learners to interact optimally across all areas of their life.
  3. Guide learners to make informed and responsible decisions in relation to their and others’ well-being.
  4. Expose learners to concepts of diversity and understanding of their rights, and responsibilities.
  5. Equip learners to be able to make informed life decisions, eg: career choices and study options.
  6. Teach learners study skills.
  7. Help learners to understand the value of doing regular physical activity.

How to Become a Life Orientation Teacher

As LO can impart invaluable lessons that assist learners throughout their lives, having a proficient LO teacher is important. An LO teacher needs to be enthusiastic and able to keep the attention of their students. They are going to have to engage with topics that many find “embarrassing”. For example, sex and gender dynamics. It is therefore vital that life orientation teachers receive good theoretical and practical training ahead of entering a classroom.

An accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Education

SACAP’s Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a fully accredited teaching qualification. It specialises in Life Orientation, Guidance Counselling and Specialised Learner Support. This course aims to improve both teaching and learning practices through robust theoretical and practical training. Graduates can register with the South African Council of Educators (SACE). SACAP is an Independent Higher Learning Institution that is fully accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC). This guarantees that students will receive the highest quality of education when undertaking a SACAP course. Apply online and a SACAP team member will contact you.

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