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Who Should Teach 'Soft Skills'?

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There's a lot of talk lately about how schools should be teaching so-called "soft skills," such as punctuality, respect for deadlines, working well with others, and time management. Undoubtedly, these are very important skills and most of them are all about motivation.

But the question is: Should schools really be responsible for teaching such skills?

The LeaderTalk blog weighs in on this issue with the perspective of an administrator who grew up in a working-class, coal-mining community where everyone learned soft skills early on through jobs they worked at outside of school.

Here is an excerpt from that blog post: "I realize that there's a balance in life. But soft skills are something I've just taken for granted my entire life. I'll have to do some serious thinking about how to build those into our instruction. If I can only get students to show up to school on time. Even with our positive incentives and negative consequences, that remains a challenge."

Go here to read more.

5 Comments

You asked: "But the question is: Should schools really be responsible for teaching such skills?" My question is "Should schools be teaching sex education without teaching about relationships and responsibility?"

When I grew up, we had no sex education. We did have a class on marriage and family which included some sex education but mostly dealt with relationships, family finances and responsibilities and other so called soft skills.

These skills, IMHO, should be left up to the parents; however, in today's society, many parents don't have these skills. Do teachers of today have these skills? Hopefully but...

Then what do we do? Regardless of the solution, parents, teachers, managers and directors of businesses, need to lead by example. That's how you learned and how I learned.

Frank

A parent's comment: Who should teach "soft skills"? It starts in the home and continues in the community. Since the school is the major community for the children's education it should be a closely knitted effort between home and school. The school should integrate "soft skill" expectations and education into the K-12 basal curriculum and establish a parental educational component that reaches out to the community of preschool parents. It is unfortunate that the secondary schools are so willing to teach teens about how sex works but don't teach how to deal with the prime natural consequence of sex, that of being a proficient parent. Schools have a vigorous attendance policy, primarily because their income depends on bodies in the classroom, the community punishes parents that allow truancy. Schools don't have an equally vigorous homework policy, the teacher cries and bemoans parental irresponsibility and lowers grades for homework nonperformance but the parent isn't pursued and punished. An orderly desk, and orderly binder, and an orderly mind are all learned behaviors that start with very early childhood and continue throughout adolescence. Yes, schools should share, with parents, in the responsibility to teach "soft skills" and schools (and parents) should suffer consequences for student failure in "soft skills". (Perhaps academic neglect should join physical neglect and emotional neglect in prohibited behaviors.)

It is a demanding world out there. Schools are pressed for standards, testing and curriculum, while parents are doing their best to make ends meet. It was different for me my mom was a stay home mom, but lets face it it is a completely different world today. I feel it takes a village to manage the problem. I feel that there can be a win-win if maybe some type of integrated program or after school program could be weaved into the school setting. Young adults are going to need these skills and it our responsibility to provide it to them or we set them up for failure. I know firsthand the struggle. I formed my own company to accomplish this and have been met with nothing but resistance. I believe it can be achieved if we all work together. It will make a differnce.

Yes, schools are responsible for teaching soft skills to the students in 21st century world. Today, everyone is required certain skills besides academic knowledge may be in school or college or university, for surviving and performing well in the world of work. Finishing schools are coming up for teaching this, but if schools take responsibility to teach it through organizing co-curricular and extra curricular activities and observed them critically. Really they learn and enjoy the school lives more.
Thanks.

I was teaching in one of the most conservative Christian Schools in Oregon. My services were abrubtly terminated because few parents complained that I was not liberal with homework ,assessment and discipline. Everyone knew I was clerly in the right but unfortunately the school was forced to please those parents who paid a big fee for their kids. My question is..."Big fee to learn what?"
to the school.

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