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Life Orientation is the study of the self in relation to others and to society. It is a unique subject in the Further Education and Training Band in that it applies a holistic approach to the personal, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, motor and physical growth and development of learners. This encourages the development of a balanced and confident learner who can contribute to a just and democratic society, a productive economy and an improved quality of life for all.
Life Orientation addresses skills, knowledge, values and attitudes about the self, the environment, responsible citizenship, a healthy and productive life, social engagement, recreation and physical activity and career choices. These include opportunities to engage in the development and practice of a variety of life skills to solve problems, to make informed decisions and choices and to take appropriate actions to live meaningfully and successfully in a rapidly changing society. It, therefore, not only focuses on knowledge but also emphasises the importance of the application of skills, values and attitudes in real-life situations and participation in physical activity and community organisations and initiatives.
While Life Orientation is a new subject in the Grade 10-12 South African school curriculum, it draws on the core of the non-examinable subjects previously known as Guidance, Family Guidance, Vocational Guidance, Religious or Bible Education, Civic Education, Health Education and Physical Education in Report 550. It is also an interdisciplinary subject in that it integrates knowledge, values, skills and processes embedded in various disciplines such as Sociology, Psychology, Political Science and Human Movement Science.
In the National Curriculum Statement Grades 10-12 (General), Life Orientation is expressed as a subject containing four focus areas. The four focus areas are: personal well-being; citizenship education; physical education; and careers and career choices. Each of the four Learning Outcomes for Life Orientation is drawn from one of the focus areas. See pages 9-12 of the Life Orientation Subject Statement in the National Curriculum Statement Grades 10-12 (General) for further information on the scope of these four focus areas.
The four Learning Outcomes for Life Orientation are as follows:
LO 1: Personal Well-being
LO 2: Citizenship Education
LO 3: Physical Education
LO 4: Careers and Career Choices
The issues dealt with in one Learning Outcome are interrelated to the issues appearing in the other three Learning Outcomes of the subject, and therefore, are integrated across the Assessment Standards of the four Learning Outcomes for Life Orientation. See Chapter 3 of the Life Orientation Subject Statement in the National Curriculum Statement Grades 10-12 (General) for the Assessment Standards for Grades 10-12.
Life Orientation is one of the four fundamental subjects required for the National Senior Certificate, which means that it is compulsory for all learners in Grades 10-12.
Life Orientation guides and prepares learners for life and for life’s responsibilities and possibilities. It does this by equipping learners to interact on a personal, psychological, cognitive, motor, physical, moral, spiritual, cultural and socio-economic level. It also prepares learners to respond positively to the demands of the world, to assume responsibilities and to make the most of life’s opportunities. It introduces learners to their constitutional rights and responsibilities, to the rights of others and to issues of diversity, health and well-being.
With the installation of the first democratically elected South African government in 1994, the scene was set for transformation on all levels of human existence. In addition to this change, the country is faced with the challenges of socio-economic development, globalisation, technological advancement and cultural diversity, amongst others. Owing to the rapid rate of change on many levels of human existence, our learners find themselves living in a world different from that in which their parents lived. As South Africans, they also have to find ways of operating in an emerging democracy. Furthermore, social, economic and environmental issues affect the current and future health and well-being of individuals and communities alike. Within this context, learners have to be well-informed and have a sense of confidence and competence to live healthy and productive lives while contributing to the shaping of a new society. Life Orientation promotes skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for learners to respond effectively to these and other challenges.
In 2012, the first National Examination was written on Matric level and this is most exciting for the future of this subject. Here at Glenwood High School, Life Orientation works closely with Human Progress Management and develop study skills, time management and career development of all the boys.