Tips for Teaching the Importance of Soft Skills
Have you been giving fair and deliberate attention to the importance of soft skills in your courses? Do you buy in to the importance of soft skills?
The Importance of Soft Skills
It seems that teaching soft skills has never been so important as it is right now. And there is good reason for that. Childhood and young adulthood isn't the same experience it was in the not too distant past. The lifestyle and environment that children and students are experiencing today is not properly preparing them for working with others and performing well in the workplace outside of their actual job skill.
For example, mindtools.com says this about the importance of soft skills:
I appreciate the UK's National Career Service take on soft skills:
I like that they emphasize that soft skills are transferable. So even if you career evolves (as so many do) over the course of your work life, your soft skills are always relevant. And if taught well, always with you.
According to skillsyouneed.com, these are the most important soft skills:
- Communication skills
- Making decisions
- Self motivation
- Leadership skills
- Team working skills
- Creativity and problem solving skills
- Time management
Want to know more about why soft skills are so important? Visit this post.
Cover Soft Skills with CTE Curriculum
If you are now convinced of the importance of soft skills curriculum, your next question might be "where should it be covered?" While many soft skills can be incorporated and practiced into just about any subject, it's also important to spend some focused time exploring soft skills. This can be done quite well and in a very timely fashion within CTE Curriculum. Where better to emphasize the importance of soft skills than right along side the technical and clinical skills also required for many jobs and careers?
For example, the state of Ohio is tackling soft skills as part of their Strand 1 Business Operations/21st Century Skills curriculum standards. Here's how they are leading the way in preparing students with soft skills.
While you have students putting all their energy into those required skills, tack on soft skills lessons that will help them maneuver through the workplace on a whole other level. The combination of job skills along with soft skills will give those students a distinct edge over those that have not had the training.
Teaching Soft Skills
So we've covered the why and the where. Are you ready for "how?" Where can you find some solid ideas for soft skills lessons and activities?
The US Department of Labor offers a really great program, "Soft Skills to Pay the Bills." It covers these important soft skills:
- Enthusiasm and attitude
- Problem solving and critical thinking
Another fabulous resource? Teachers Pay Teachers is a great resource if you have a little bit of time to do some digging. Just type in “soft skills” on the site, and you’ll find all sorts of options for projects and activities. You can further narrow down your results by age group.
What about teaching soft skills by giving great examples of really bad soft skills?! This post is just the ticket.
How to Improve Soft Skills
Want to take soft skills lesson plans to the next level? Try an engaging, age-appropriate system of curriculum, PowerPoint presentations, study guides, lesson plans and activities! CareerCenter21 focuses on the importance of soft skills, plus a whole bunch more to really round out your career readiness curriculum.
Teacher, Pamela Bunch, of Smith High School in North Carolina says of this curriculum, "Employers want to know students have the soft skills to succeed. The program taps into those skills."