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Soft Skills: We Know Our Students Need Them, But How Do We Teach Them?. Trish Bobst National Education Consultant trish.bobst@cengage.com. Educating Students for Success 26 th Annual In-Service Seminar for Business Educators Robert Morris University April 26, 2011.

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


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    1. Soft Skills: We Know Our Students Need Them, But How Do We Teach Them? Trish Bobst National Education Consultant trish.bobst@cengage.com

    2. Educating Students for Success 26th Annual In-Service Seminar for Business Educators Robert Morris University April 26, 2011

    3. www.cengage.com/focus/pa

    4. 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”

    5. Why “Generation Y”… • I've always wondered about this myself. Now I know........- The Silent generation, people born before 1946. - The Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and1959. - Generation X , people born between 1960 and 1979. - Generation Y, people born between 1980 and 1995.Why do we call the last one Generation Y? I did not know, but a caricaturist explains it eloquently ..Learn something new!

    6. Generation Y Censured

    7. 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, p. 44).

    8. 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

    9. What Industry Says… • Technical skill ALONE does 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

    10. Skills Employers Want! % of Employers Looking for These Skills • 99% Work Ethic • 96% English Language • 95% Reading & Writing • 94% Problem Solving & Critical Thinking • 94% Interpersonal • 90% Math • 68% Computer Software • 68% Leadership • 58% Manual Labor • 44% Tools & Machine • 40% Spanish Language *Oregon Employment Department Employer Survey 04/08

    11. What Employers Say… Attributes Most Desirable in 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

    12. 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

    13. 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%)

    14. 2003 #1 reason students chose to major in a particular subject

    15. 2003 They were interested in or passionate about that field or subject.

    16. 2009 #1 reason students choose to major in a particular subject

    17. 2009 Career Opportunities Job Potential

    18. Maybe at one time this was true?

    19. Recently…

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

    21. 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.

    22. 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

    23. 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?

    24. Soft Skills At Work • Concise problem-based video “field trips” show realistic workplace issues that require students to find a solution. • Accompanying printed casebook provides a conceptual framework for solution development—students choose which tools to use instead of being shown and told what to do. • Broken into five sections: Career Building, Cyber “You,” Teamwork, Technical and Writing skills, and Presentation Skills. Each section is accompanied by a video which is approximately 10 minutes long. • All videos include closed captioning for students unable to access the audio element.

    25. Soft Skills At Work • Chapter 1: Career Preparation (Video: The Interview) • Chapter 2: Your Online Persona (Video: Interview Follow-Up) • Chapter 3: Written and Verbal Communication Skills (Video: Useful Software Skills) • Chapter 4: Team Dynamics & Generational Differences (Video: Team Dynamics) • Chapter 5: Effective Presentations (Video: The Big Presentation)

    26. Soft Skills At Work ISBN: 1-60334-014-9 DEMO CD: 1-60334-016-5 http://www.course.com/softskills/ View sample chapter

    27. Soft Skills At Work • Chapter 1: Career Preparation (Video: The Interview) • Career Building – Effective Resume Writing Skills, Job Interview Preparation Techniques, professional job interview attire, business etiquette that can be enhanced by the use of technology • Chapter 2: Your Online Persona (Video: Interview Follow-Up) • Educates students on the role social networks and Google searches play in a working professional’s life. It also highlights privacy and information security issues related to their online presences and illustrates how the lines between private and professional life are often crossed on the internet.

    28. Soft Skills At Work • Chapter 3: Written and Verbal Communication Skills (Video: Useful Software Skills) • Students learn how to use their written and verbal skills to their advantage. Email etiquette, cell phone and text messaging, using Microsoft Office work tools and other topics are presented. • Chapter 4: Team Dynamics & Generational Differences (Video: Team Dynamics) • Focuses on helping students focus on how generational differences contribute to work ethic and the effectiveness of teams. Students will discover their own personal work styles and personalities and then relate those skills to working with a team.

    29. Soft Skills At Work • Chapter 5: Effective Presentations (Video: The Big Presentation) • Uses Microsoft Powerpoint skills to teach students the Do’s and Don’ts of effective presentations from drafting outlines, to selecting appropriate graphics and animations and affects.

    30. PowerPoint Presentations • What do your students’ powerpoint presentations look like??? • Life After Death by Powerpoint

    31. 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

    32. 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)

    33. 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

    34. 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

    35. 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

    36. What is the content of these products? • Team Work and Team Building • Working in Groups and Teams • Team Roles and Processes • Team Building and Development • Being a Team Leader • Having Successful Meetings

    37. What is the content of these products? • Professionalism • Presenting Yourself Professionally • Developing a Professional Work Ethic • Developing Your Interpersonal Skills • Understanding Office Protocols and Politics • Planning and Managing Your Career

    38. Learning