Two teachers have launched LifeGames, a free app designed to address the increasing behavioural issues in UK and Irish schools. It comes after exclusive research revealed an urgent call by teachers for more social skills development in the current education system, and a pilot of the app’s activities involving 51 schools received an overwhelmingly positive response.
The free LifeGames app teaches key life and social skills such as empathy, respect, responsibility and effective communication through a collection of 40+ classroom activities and games for three age groups (3-5, 6-9, 10-12). A further 320+ activities and games are accessible via a variety of packages to suit even the most thinly stretched educational budget.
Frustrated by the increased focus on academic achievement at the expense of these essential life skills, and driven by their experiences of teaching children with behavioural issues, teachers Lukarte Turner and Gabriela Andino developed the LifeGames activities to reverse the resultant 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 especially 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 some tools to be used as a vital classroom resource, to help students to 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. Let’s help our kids to be happier and healthier, let’s play a better world!”
Initial research by LifeGames revealed that teachers claim empathy is the most lacking of social skills taught in the current education system, with others such as compassion, respect, 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 trialled in 51 schools across the UK and Ireland in January 2019, and received an overwhelmingly positive response, with 216 reviews rating the simplicity, popularity and effectiveness of the activities 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 after completing the activities.
”One of the problems teachers were telling us about from the beginning was a lack of time,” says Lukarte. “That was the biggest issue: very tight schedules, too much to teach in a short time. We created this app with that in mind, to help teachers who are already pressed for time. Our activities are very simple, short, easy to use and really effective – and these are not my words but the words of teachers who already tried our activities in their schools, with great success. Also, our app features an activity planner and reminders to easily fit activities around normal class scheduling.”