Dr. Erin Murphy-Graham

University of California, Berkeley

Life skills for adolescents

What are "Life Skills" for Adolescents and Why do they Matter?

My research in the field of education and well-being focuses on examining the emergence of discourses touting the importance of “life skills” for adolescents. I have received funding from organizations such as Echidna Giving and USAID via Social Impact to further my research. My most recent open-access book entitled, Life Skills Education for Youth: Critical Perspectives, which was co-edited with Joan DeJaeghere, explores the concept of life skills education and its implications for adolescents in the field of international development education.

In my research examine why there has been a shift from “empowering education” to “life skills education,” and what that might mean for the future of educational quality. I have also conducted a five-year study on the A Ganar program, a sports-based job training program that aims to cultivate life skills in out-of-school youth.

I make the argument that there are several elements that should be considered when developing life skills education programs, including the importance of conceptualizing life skills as preconditions of capabilities, both ends and means of interventions, and the conversion factors that limit the robustness of capabilities. (See this book chapter for additional details). 


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