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Employers Say Verbal Communication Is the Most Important Skill for Job Candidates, Reveals New Report

GoodCall – Terri Williams

“While intellect and academic achievement are obviously important traits in a job candidate, they’re not the only skills employers seek. Such soft skills as verbal communication and teamwork, in addition to the ability to process and analyze information, and plan and organize work, are also high on the list of desirable qualities. According to a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), verbal communication is the most important candidate skill in new college graduates. The top 10 skills or qualities from NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 are listed below…So why are these skills so important to employers – and how can college students and recent grads gain them?”(more)

Ready To Be Counted: Why Non-Cognitive Skills Must be Incorporated into Ed Policy, Practice

Real Clear Education – Chris Gabrieli

“The enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act reinvigorates a discussion as old as education itself – what skills do schools need to foster to enable students to succeed in life?…An objective look at the research on the keys to success aligns with the intuition of nearly every teacher, parent and employer: there are interpersonal skills (such as the ability to collaborate well) and intrapersonal skills (such as the conscientiousness and self-control required to work diligently) that are vital complements to academic skills such as math, literacy and science. This is not arguing that academic skills are not crucial as well; non-cognitive skills are both vital complements and contributors to those academic skills.”(more)

Farewell to the Walking Encyclopedia

The Huffington Post – Robert E. Slavin

“Like just about everyone these days, I carry a digital device in my pocket at all times. At the office, I have a powerful desktop, and in the evening, I curl up with my iPad. Each of these contains the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Kids and parents have as much access as I do. The ubiquity of knowledge due to digital devices has led many educational theorists and practitioners to wonder whether teachers are even necessary anymore. Can’t everyone just look things up, do calculations, and generally provide themselves with just-in-time wisdom-on-the-spot?…digital devices are not yet transforming education. But what they are doing is putting the last nail in the coffin of the teacher as walking encyclopedia…Content knowledge is still crucial, but a “walking encyclopedia” is of declining value when everyone can find out everything all the time. Does the decline of the walking encyclopedia diminish the role of the teacher? Just the opposite. When kids are immersed in too much information, what they need is a guide to help them learn how to comprehend complex texts and understand and organize information. They need to know how to write, how to solve complex problems, how to set up and carry out experiments, how to work well with others, how to contextualize their own thoughts to reason productively, how to manage their own behavior, how to maintain positive motivation, and how to be productive even in the face of difficulties.”(more)

Report: Non-Academic Skills Are Key Ingredient To Student Success

Learning Lab – Peter Balonon-Rosen

“Research and case studies that measure “soft skills” like self-control, openness to learning and teamwork show that mastery over these abilities can result in significant impacts in students’ lives…A long-term study of roughly 1,000 children born in 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, found that levels of self-control strongly predict outcomes later in life, like high school graduation, adult earnings and absence from criminal activity…The report also finds that students’ mindsets about their intelligence can predict academic achievement. Research shows that students who have a “growth mindset” — meaning they believe intelligence can increase through practice and effort — do better than students who think their intelligence is fixed at a certain level.”(more)

‘Start Early, Go Broadly, and Go Far Beyond School’

Asia Society – Anne Hilton

“What does it take to succeed in the 21st century? It might not surprise you to hear that education is key. But what you may not expect to hear is this: social and emotional skills are more critical to success than the academic skills you learn in a traditional classroom. This insight is from Dr. James Heckman, a professor at the University of Chicago and Nobel laureate in economic sciences and the keynote speaker at the Forum on the Future of Education in Asia…Heckman’s research has shown that non-cognitive skills are more closely correlated to future success than the cognitive skills tested on the PISA or in IQ tests, and, unlike in IQ, non-cognitive skills are more malleable and can be developed later in life. “If we tailor the education system appropriately, we can foster those skills until a later age, even in adolescence and the young adult years,” Heckman said. But what exactly are non-cognitive skills? Sometimes called “soft” skills, character skills, or social and emotional skills, non-cognitive skills include traits like motivation, sociability, empathy, attention, self-esteem, and self-regulation.”(more)

U.S. Department of Education Announces First Ever Skills for Success Grants and Initiative to Support Learning Mindsets and Skills

Ed.gov – Press Release

“The U.S. Department of Education announced four grant awards today under the new Skills for Success grant competition, totaling $2 million. The Department also announced the launch of the Mentoring Mindsets Initiative…to pilot evidence-based tools that enable mentors to teach learning mindsets and skills to their mentees. Together, these initiatives are promoting new approaches to meeting the Administration’s college and career readiness goals…Learning mindsets and skills encompass a broad array of competencies, and are often referred to as non-cognitive skills, social and emotional learning or character education. Although enhancing these skills is not a standalone strategy for improving schools, there is a growing body of research indicating that learning mindsets play a key role in students’ long-term success.”(more)