As a society, we have gotten fixated on the idea of “geniuses” and being the smartest person in the room. We think the smartest people get the best opportunities and, in turn, the best jobs.
Is being well educated important? Of course.
Being an intelligent individual is always a great tool to being successful in life. However, there are more pieces to the puzzle than just that. Being able to navigate Excel, code a website or build a rocket is considered a hard skill.
You could be the most qualified for a job and still not get it. This may seem unfair or unreasonable but it is often true. In the workforce, employers are looking for someone who is going to better their company and someone who is going to help keep a healthy work environment.
The skills that are needed to work and get along with others are known as soft skills. Are you a leader? Can you communicate with others? Do you keep a positive outlook? Are you able to work in groups? The list goes on.
According to LearnWell, 80 percent of parents, teachers, principals and superintendents thought that non-academic skills were just as important as academics.
As educators, our job is to send children out into the world to be successful. That means creating a well rounded child who can both excel in their trade but also possess the soft skills that employers often look for during an interview and during their time at the job.
But how do we teach these soft skills to students?
Add variety to the classroom. Make students collaborate with others and work in both small and large groups. This will help them to work on their communication skills, problem solving and overall ability to work coherently with others.
Another helpful tool may be to have a daily problem that requires kids to use critical thinking skills to solve. If this is done on a daily basis, it will train kids to use these skills more effortlessly.
Soft skills are often obtained through parents, friends and experiences outside of school. That does not mean that as educators we cannot make efforts to help these kids obtain these skills at an earlier age so that when they go off to college or enter the workforce they are comfortable doing these intangible, yet very important, things.