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Soft Skills: We Know They Need Them How Do We Teach Them?. Trish Bobst National Curriculum Specialist t Tuesday, February 14 Session  2 1:15 –  2:30 pm Room 101/102. Soft Skills & This Generation…. Gen Y learners (most of our students):

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soft skills we know they need them how do we teach them

Soft Skills: We Know They Need Them How Do We Teach Them?

Trish Bobst

National Curriculum Specialist

Tuesday, February 14

Session 2

1:15 – 2:30 pm

Room 101/102

soft skills this generation
Soft Skills & This Generation…
  • Gen Y learners (most of our students):
    • Are busy multi-taskers; media-oriented
    • Used to working on teams
    • Remain close to parents who raised them to think they are “stars” and “special”
      • Optimistic & confident; want to be rich and famous
    • Are achievement-oriented; need structure and feedback
      • Will negotiate anything
      • Lack diplomacy
    • Bring an “entertainment attitude” to school
      • Get bored quickly if it’s not FUN
    • Don’t think of computers & devices as “technology”
through the ages
Through the Ages…..

Before 1946

Silent Generation


Baby Boomers


Generation “X”


Generation “Y”

generation y
Generation Y


what are soft skills to you
What are “Soft Skills” to you?
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Work ethic/self-motivation/dependability/honesty
  • Critical-thinking/questioning/problem-solving
  • Risk-taking
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Leadership/influencing
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Creativity/innovation/resourceful
  • Organizational/time management
  • Attention to detail
what are soft skills
What are Soft Skills?
  • Moss and Tilly termed these subjective requisites as “soft skills, which are defined as skills, abilities, and traits that pertain to personality, attitude, and behavior rather than to formal or technical knowledge.” (Moss and Tilly 2001)
what are soft skills1
What are Soft Skills?
  • Soft skills are the qualities or social skills we all possess. They are the interpersonal skills we have and use when working with others—how we interact with our peers; how we network and communicate; how we empathize with others; our integrity, optimism, and enthusiasm; how we formulate important problems and find solutions for them.(Amstatnews, 2010)
what are soft skills2
What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, sometimes known as "people skills," are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable.

what industry says
What Industry Says…
  • Technical skills ALONE do not make someone competitive in the job market
    • In fact, computer literacy skills are assumed!
  • Today’s workers demonstrate GAPS in:
    • Communication skills
    • Team/interpersonal skills
    • Problem solving
    • Quantitative reasoning
    • Business process knowledge
    • Project management
what employers say
What Employers Say…

Attributes Most Desirablein New Employees…

  • Ability to work productively on a diverse team
  • Oral & written communication skill
  • Ability to think critically and analytically
  • Resourcefulness in solving problems
  • Ability to locate, organize & evaluate information from multiple sources
  • Creativity & innovative spirit
  • Ability to understand and communicate quantitatively
  • Sense of integrity and ethics
  • Understanding of global cultures and values
employers also
Employers also…
  • Expect colleges & universities to prepare students in these areas
    • 63% say we are not doing our job
    • 87% rate this preparedness as critical to the United States remaining competitive in the global economy
what recent graduates say
What Recent Graduates Say…
  • Provide balance between general knowledge and major-specific skills (72%)
    • Many end up in fields not closely related to major
  • They AGREE with Employers!
    • Critical to success are:
      • Teamwork skills
      • Critical-thinking skills
      • Oral & written communication skills
    • Yet majority don’t think college prepared them well (51%)

#1 reason students chose to major in a particular subject


They were interested in or passionate about that field or subject.


#1 reason students choose to major in a particular subject


Career Opportunities

Job Potential


which would you hire
Which would you hire?

What if she added another certification? Now would you hire her?

there are different approaches
There are different approaches
  • Teach soft skills as a piece of your core subject (integrated throughout)
  • Teach soft skills as a separate component of your core subject
    • Teach one unit of “soft skills”
    • Then teach a few units of core subject
  • Teach soft skills as an equal “piece of the pie”
    • Capstone, Assessment, Senior Project, etc.
soft skills what of grade
Soft Skills – What % of grade?
  • 10% will affect a letter grade
  • If you keep it less than 20%, it won’t affect a grade in a big way
think about this
Think about this…
  • You could have great technical skills, but if you cannot communicate those skills, what good are they?
  • Aren’t Soft Skills more like…

Life Skills?

what are soft skills3
What are Soft Skills?
  • Abilities for understanding communication
  • Interpersonal Skills that complement technical skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • The capacity to behave appropriately
soft skills in action
Soft Skills in Action
  • Participating as member of a team
  • Teaching others new skills
  • Exercising leadership
  • Communicating competently
soft skills for a digital workplace
Soft Skills for a Digital Workplace
  • Give your students a 360 degree education and a career advantage
  • Students become more marketable to employers
  • Signature two-page spread format
  • Robust Online companion site
    • Hands-on activities, scenarios, projects, problems, games, read, listen and quizzes
what is the content of these products
What is the content of these products?

Written Communication

  • Email and Memos
  • Secrets of Clear Writing
  • Developing Reports and Proposals
  • Writing For Employment
  • Writing Professional Letters
what is the content of these products1
What is the content of these products?

Verbal Communication

  • Basics of Communication
  • Working With Customers
  • Developing Professional Telephone Skills
  • Improving Informal Communication
  • Making Formal Presentations
what is the content of these products2
What is the content of these products?

Problem Solving and Decision Making

  • Identifying and Defining the Problem
  • Solving the Problem
  • Thinking Critically
  • Group Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Decision and Support Tools
what is the content of these products3
What is the content of these products?


  • Presenting Yourself Professionally
  • Developing a Professional Work Ethic
  • Developing Your Interpersonal Skills
  • Winning at Office Politics
  • Planning and Managing Your Career
what is the content of these products4
What is the content of these products?

Teamwork and Team Building

  • Working in Groups and Teams
  • Team Roles and Processes
  • Team Building and Development
  • Being a Team Leader
  • Having Successful Meetings
critical thinking questions
Critical Thinking Questions
  • From the end of unit materials
  • 5 critical thinking questions
  • Graded by instructor with a rubric.
putting your soft skills to work
Putting Your Soft Skills to Work

Peer review and critique activity

putting your soft skills to work interface
“Putting Your Soft Skills To Work” Interface

The student will read the assignment, build the document/assignment and upload it where it will be visible (on the right side of this image) for all students and instructors to critique via ratings and rubrics.


Soft Skills Survivor - Graded

A movie will play in the left panel, pausing at set points in a scenario. Students will be prompted with a question based on the presented scenario. If they get the question wrong, they are prompted to watch the video clip again and they cannot move onto the next video segment until the get the question correct.

reproducible binder
Reproducible Binder
  • Written Communication
  • Verbal Communication
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism
  • Includes 30-pack student access codes (additional codes can be purchased, as needed)

Preview Guide 0538477806


21st Century Skills

  • 21st Century Skills

21st Century Skills

  • 21st Century Study Outcomes
  • Core Subjects – 3Rsand 21st Century Themes
  • Global awareness
  • Financial, Economic, Businessand Entrepreneurial literacy
  • Civic literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Environmental literacy
  • Learning and Innovative Skills,
  • including the 4Cs:
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Information, Media andTechnology Skills
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy
  • ICT (Information, Communications
  • and Technology) literacy
  • Life and Career Skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Initiative and self-direction
  • Social and cross-cultural skills
  • Productivity and accountability
  • Leadership and responsibility





JUNE 2010

design and organization
Design and Organization

Four strands

Reading (including Reading Foundational Skills)


Speaking and Listening


An integrated model of literacy

Media requirements blended throughout

key advances
Key Advances


  • Balance of literature and informational texts
  • Text complexity


  • Emphasis on argument and informative/explanatory writing
  • Writing about sources

Speaking and Listening

  • Inclusion of formal and informal talk


  • Stress on general academic and domain-specific vocabulary
soft skills we know our students need them but how do we teach them

Soft Skills: We Know Our Students Need Them, But How Do We Teach Them?

Thank you!

Trish Bobst

National Curriculum Specialist