Heather Wolpert-Gawron

The Top 5 Skills Students Need For Their Future: The Results Are In!

By on April 29, 2011

Thank you to everyone who responded to my survey calling for the Top 5 Skills students need for their future. The list to choose from initially came from one included in my book, ‘Tween Crayons and Curfews: Tips for Middle School Teachers. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t more that I would like to see on the list, but my point was to examine what the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has to say as it relates to its goal of College and Career Readiness.

So, I initially asked myself, what does that mean exactly to those in higher education and business? The following list of 13 skills (an excerpt from my book) is based on the responses of leaders in both colleges and businesses when asked what skills K-12 education should be providing for the students of tomorrow.

1. Collaboration – learn how to work in groups. It’s a given in the business world and has become a given in our global community.

2. Communication – learn how to talk to anybody at a party. Learn how to speak with respect to both the waitress and the owner of the restaurant. Learn how to talk to your boss and your co-workers. Learn how to write an email, leave a voicemail, and even shake a hand. Learn to read the communication of gestures and expressions, and understand what your gestures and expressions send out as well.

3. Problem-Solving – learn how to research answers and solutions. Learn where to go and how to get there.

4. Decision-making – learn how to be definitive.

5. Understanding Bias – learn how to recognize agendas.

6. Leadership – learn how to be a leader, not a ruler.

7. Questioning – learn to be skeptical appropriately (see above section), to question with clarity, and to inquire calmly. Learn to question as a means to guide others to an answer, and learn how to use questioning as a means to make your own knowledge deeper.

8. Independent Learning – Learn to Find Answers Yourself

9. Compromise – Learn to find contentment even while giving something up. Learn to find contentment with finding a middle ground.

10. Summarizing – Learn to get to the point.

11. Sharing the Air – Learn to shut up. Learn to that you can learn from others.

12. Persuasion – learn use the art of persuasion both in the written and spoken word.

13. Goal Setting – learn to define your quarry and hunt it down. Learn to identify and visualize where you want to get to and the path that can get you there.

So this past weekend, I asked colleagues and friends and followers and readers to answer a survey to help me whittle the list down to the top 5.

And the winners are:

Independent Learning

The next question is, are teachers at least using these 5 in their everyday lesson planning? And if so, how? The key is to use these skills to promote content in lesson planning, note taking, and assessments.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some lessons that you can do to address these skills and for you to mull over for Someday or use on Monday. Hope you’ll share some of your lessons with me and my readers in this thread as well. After all, collaboration is a key future skill and one that must be modeled by the teachers in the room.

Take care and thanks for participating!

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Posted in: Educational Policy