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K–12 Schools Should Teach Soft Skills to Prepare Students for the Future Workforce

Ed Tech Magazine – Joe McAllister

“While digital tools are woven into educational pedagogy nationwide, another component of learning may help educators give students advantages in a world not yet known to them. A 2017 Report by Dell Technologies estimates that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 — fewer than 12 years from now — haven’t been invented yet.” (more)

3 ways to better assess soft skills

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Eighty-three percent of teachers, 82 percent of parents, 82 percent of superintendents, and 83 percent of principals say it is equally important to assess both academic skills and nonacademic skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and creativity, according to a new report commissioned by NWEA and conducted by Gallup.” (more)

Are You Doing Recess Right? A New Tool Can Help

Edutopia – Youki Terada

“Despite the proven benefits, students probably aren’t getting the most out of recess, finds a new study that offers up a 17-point checklist to optimize the playground experience. While there’s little doubt that children get exercise on the playground—recess accounts for up to 44 percent of their steps taken during the school day—schools often underestimate the social, emotional, and academic potential of playtime and fail to design recess to optimize those benefits.” (more)

The Future of Education Depends on Social Emotional Learning: Here’s Why

Ed Surge – Giancarlo Brotto

“Social and emotional abilities are said to be indicators of how well a person adjusts to his or her environment, adapts to change and, ultimately, how successful she or he will be in life. In fact, core development abilities such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness, and agreeableness can be as or even more important than cognitive intelligence in determining future employment. Despite these competencies being related to consequential life outcomes, it can be challenging for educators to find effective ways to prioritize, teach and assess social and emotional skills.” (more)

How Empowering Girls to Confront Conflict and Buck Perfection Helps Their Well-Being

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Girls and boys have always grown up with cultural and societal stereotypes swirling around them. Despite the unparalleled access to opportunities that young women have today compared with the past, many are still absorbing strong messages about how they should look, act and be. For girls, many of the most powerful influences come from the media, but young girls could find relief among the real people in their lives. Social media has changed the game, requiring educators and parents to also change strategies to help girls navigate complicated waters.” (more)

Changing our Paradigm

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Technology is changing so fast, it is impossible to know what the world will be like in a year, much less four or five. Just 25 years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, mobile phones were just gaining popularity, and genetically modified foods were not yet on the market. Now we are worried about biological computers, electronic currencies, and the health impacts of genetically modified foods.

For decades, education experts encouraged schools to track kids into narrow areas like molecular biology, medieval history, copyright law, or Fortran programming. As technology advanced, the lines between disciplines began to disappear and some areas vanished.

Now a person’s long-term employment prospects are based on his/her ability to quickly learn new things, interact with others, and change. This means everyone needs a strong understanding of all the disciplines including the arts, math, history, science, languages, etc. In addition, employers need people who can communicate, listen, and empathize with others; have a strong work ethic; and possess good character. This means our kids need a completely different type of education than we did when we were growing up.

Here is a list of the skill gaps that exist in our education system and parenting approaches.


1. Ability to think critically and assess and analyze information
The problem often develops in elementary school. Primary school teachers need strong proficiency in this area.
2. Collaborative/Influential
Students need practice working with others. Schools are not structured to provide exposure to different ages.
3. Agile/Adaptable
Schools/parents want stability. Students need exposure to change.
4. Initiative
Students need opportunities to start new programs, etc.
5. Effective Written and Oral Communication
Schools need step by step teaching approaches and effective ways to assess proficiency.
6. Curious, Imaginative, Creative
Schools should foster these abilities with short creative blocks during the teaching day.
7. Ethical
Parents need to demonstrate acceptable behavior.
8. Polished and Courteous
Parents need to teach their children basic life skills – allow others to finish speaking before you begin, chew with your mouth closed, etc.
9. Well-read
Parents should discuss world affairs and technological advances with their kids.
10. Strong work ethic
Parents need to teach their children about self-discipline, punctuality, follow-through, etc. and then allow them to experience consequences when they do not deliver.

Once we realize what worked in the 1900s no longer makes sense today, we can work together to make sure our kids are ready for life on their own.