Have you ever heard anyone talking about soft skills? Do you know what they are? Thank to an infographic I found on Twitter, we can find out. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.
Tracy Clark posted an infographic she created that lists 23 different kinds of soft skills. “Soft Skills” are defined by Google as “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” These skills are essential to survival. However, they're more difficult to grade or teach directly. Hard skills are the opposite of soft skills. According to Google, part of their definition is that they are “measurable,” “teachable,” and “specific” skills such as typing or reading. It's easy to determine if hard skills are taught effectively, but not soft ones. That's why it's essential we stay aware of them.
Many school results focus on hard skills because they are easier to measure, but you could argue that the softer skills are more important. Without these skills, a person cannot function because they include essential skills such as “time management” and “empathy.” While math and reading are important, a person can still succeed even if they have not mastered every hard skill. It's much more difficult to achieve both success and happiness without mastering most, if not all, of the soft skills.
In the end, it's essential to teach students both soft and hard skills. Keeping an image of this infographic around will help remind you that just because something isn't measurable, it doesn't mean we shouldn't teach it.
How do you teach these two skill types? Do you know any other soft skills? What are some ways schools could teach these skills?
Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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