Five ways to instill soft skills from an early age
They not only aim to increase the employability quotient, but also help to lay the foundation for attitudes to learn to coexist with others.
The drastic shift to the online mode has made soft skills more important than ever. Clear and crisp online verbal communication and proper presentation in the virtual visual medium are extremely important. Soft skills are relevant not only to working professionals, but also to students of online courses. So how do we make sure our kids learn skills like teamwork, empathy, good communication, problem solving, and mental agility? By ensuring that our education system actively teaches them.
First of all, when is the right time to introduce soft skills? Contrary to popular belief, soft skills should not be viewed as a finite set of skills to be acquired only in adulthood to increase the employability quotient. Soft skills are life skills that form the basis of children’s personalities and their attitudes towards learning and successful coexistence in society and the world.
Given the criticality, they should ideally be instilled in the early years of education to achieve holistic growth. Early childhood programs and preschools that base their pedagogy on appropriate child development foundations and developmentally appropriate practices instill them through taking turns, sharing, active listening and listening. assigning responsibilities to children in the classroom. All of this develops essential soft skills such as empathy, flexibility, teamwork, problem solving, and ethics. Here are five ways to instill soft skills:
Model: do like me
Humans are deeply influenced by what they see. With so much power to influence young minds, teachers must be the primary role model for soft skills. If teachers model these skills and also explain their benefits, students are much more likely to make these behaviors a way of life.
Role play: Let’s practice!
Working with others successfully depends more on abstract aspects such as nonverbal cues and body language. Role play helps to elucidate the abstract side of soft skills and to put them into practice. It can be integrated into the teaching and learning cycle by using it in debates and discussions and as a tool for students to demonstrate their learning. The role play should always be followed by an active debriefing and discussion time during which students are asked specific questions to guide their analysis of body language and communication.
Group projects: A slice of real life
These are ideal for developing teamwork, leadership, collaboration, problem solving, and time management. They motivate introverted students to find their voice, and others with diverse skills and abilities to find their niche, and build self-regulation, discipline, and time spent on tasks. They expand the horizons of thought as perspectives evolve by engaging with others. In addition, students learn to negotiate and manage various personalities.
Active listening: talk less, understand more
The ability to focus on the speaker to understand not only their words, but also their non-verbal cues and body language, understand information, and respond thoughtfully are rudimentary to be a great communicator. Teachers can foster active listening by using literature to develop empathy and different perspectives among students. Using model videos where actors show how and how not to communicate and offering students activities based on these videos will promote active listening and thoughtful response.
Video Newspapers: The First Step to Digital Label
As online meetings and remote working become the norm, it is important to know how to present yourself very well on a digital platform. Video diaries are recordings of people sharing their thoughts, opinions, ideas and feelings. It promotes self-reflection, critical thinking, awareness of body language and communication. Students can be asked to register by explaining a topic or project, teaching a concept, or simply sharing their opinions.
The term “soft skills” is a misnomer. For these are the skills that truly strengthen and complement the personality.
The writer is the co-founder of Learning Matters