Teach Essential Skills (AKA Soft Skills)

15 ESSENTIAL, TRANSFERABLE SKILLS FOR SUCCESS IN SCHOOL, CAREER, AND LIFE
(Listed alphabetically; for rank*, see Sabbatical Reports, spring 2017, Donna Davis)

Introduction

Welcome to the essential, transferable skills page.  This page has been developed for faculty members from any discipline who seek to incorporate into their courses lessons, activities, modules, or videos that teach why development of the skills listed is essential for student success and students can begin to develop the skills. 

The skills listed were formerly referred to as “soft” skills because, unlike “hard” skills that are specific to an occupation or industry, these skills transcend occupations and industries.  Becoming increasingly demanded by employers, “soft” skills are now referred to as essential skills, transferable skills, and 21st century skills. 

Here’s an overview video for faculty: “Strengthening Soft Skills” TedxTalk by Philosophy Professor Dr. Andy Wible of Muskegon Community College, Muskegon, MI:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkLsn4ddmTs (13:12)

And here are two overview videos for students, each less than 2:20:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tiy2LONr050
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwJIhZcAd0I

Lessons Overview

Lessons from New World of Work (NWoW) include two sets of videos for each of their ten “21st Century Skills.” The “What not to do” videos introduce the skill, while the “Assessment” videos help students assess their learning after the lesson.

New World of Work and LinkedIn have partnered to provide suggested next steps for students by creating a LinkedIn Crosswalk of courses and videos that align with NWoW’s top 10 skills. You may have free access to these courses and videos by creating your free account at the Professional Learning Network of the Chancellor’s Office. Not on LinkedIn?  Create your free account at Professional Learning Network, then access the videos and courses from this list.

Lessons from Skills to Pay the Bills include multiple lesson plans and videos of under 3 minutes.  Below are links to the overview page and videos.

All lessons from TED Ed are between 4:20 and 5:10 long and include an 8-question quiz under “Think,” additional resources on the topic under “Dig Deeper,” and one or more discussion questions under “Discuss.”

Sponsored by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s Doing What Matters Initiative and under the leadership of Health Sector Navigator Linda Zorn, a series of essential skills lessons was developed and posted. “Hi-Touch Health Care:  The Critical Six Soft Skills” lessons include lesson plans and Powerpoint presentations, some with videos, for a number of lessons related to each of 6 skills (8 lessons, for example, in the Communication module).  Faculty may have to request access to the curriculum by clicking on the curriculum tab at https://ca-hwi.org/.

ADAPTABILITY/FLEXIBILITY (12*)

Definition

Adaptability is the ability to be effective in a climate of ambiguity or changing priorities and to undertake varied roles, responsibilities, and schedules.  Flexibility is the ability to determine an alternate means of achieving a goal or completing a task and to respond constructively to setbacks or problems.  (See www.p21.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

BASIC ACADEMIC COMPETENCE (11*)

Definition

Basic academic competencies or foundation skills are attained through study and practice in courses found in an academic curriculum:  reading, writing, mathematics/quantitative reasoning, science, and information/communication technologies.  (See www.aacu.org and www.weforum.org.)

Lessons and materials to teach basic academic competencies are best developed by discipline specialists in each of the above-listed fields.  Basic academic competencies are considered foundational skills rather than essential skills, however they are highly ranked as essential by both researchers and employers.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT/SELF-KNOWLEDGE (12*)

Definition

Career development is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future.  (See www.thebalance.com.)  One component of career development is self-knowledge, which students may develop through exploration, examination, and reflection of their personality, interests, values, and skills. (MiraCosta Career Center definition.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

MiraCosta College’s Career Center:  Videos, personality assessments, interest assessments, narrated Powerpoints, and more can be found at:  http://www.miracosta.edu/instruction/careerservices/forstudents.html.

COLLABORATION/TEAMWORK (3*)

Definition

Students demonstrate collaboration/teamwork through behaviors under the control of individual team members:  the effort they put into team tasks, their manner of interacting with others on the team, and the quantity and quality of contributions they make to team discussions and outputs. (Adapted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Teamwork Value Rubric.  See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

From Skills to Pay the Bills

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 12 in-depth lessons covering all aspects of teamwork and collaboration.  A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

COMMUNICATION (1*)

Definitions

Oral Communication:  Oral communication is a prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners’ attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Oral Communication Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

Written Communication:  Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing.  Written communication involves learning to work in many genres and styles.  It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images.  Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Written Communication Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

From Skills to Pay the Bills

For Heath Professions:  Lesson Plans, activities, and Powerpoints for six lessons:  listening, non-verbal, information and communication technologies, written, professional networking, and emotional intelligence: https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/soft-skills-training/communication-competency/

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 7 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects of business communication, including communicating across cultures, and 6 lessons in interpersonal communication, including active listening and non-verbal communication. A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

CREATIVITY/INNOVATION (7*)

Definition

Creative thinking is both the capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Creative Thinking Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

Creativity and Innovation:  Pre- and Post-Tests, Student Workbooks, and Teacher Guides available from the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges upon request and creation of a .edu username and password: http://www.californiarht.com/curriculum-database-launches/.

CRITICAL THINKING/PROBLEM SOLVING (2*)

Definitions

Critical Thinking:  Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Critical Thinking Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

Problem Solving:  Problem solving is the process of designing, evaluating and implementing a strategy to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Problem Solving Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

From Skills to Pay the Bills

https://www.thinkreliability.com/problem-solving-resources/ includes videos, articles, case studies, and a template for cause mapping and root cause analysis.

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 5 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects critical thinking and problem solving, including criticl thinking exercises and problem solving strategies. A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson.  For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

CULTURAL COMPETENCE (8*)

Definition

Intercultural knowledge and competence is “a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.” (Bennett, J. M., 2008, as quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Value Rubric.  See http://miracosta.edu/governance/deqcc/resources.html and www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 7 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects of business communication, including communicating across cultures. A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTATION (10*)

Definition

Customer service orientation is the ability to display positive attitudes and behaviors that demonstrate an awareness and willingness to respond to customers in order to respond to and meet their needs, requirements, and expectations. (See http://www.csu.edu/humanresources/empdev/documents/CustomerServiceOrientation.pdf.)

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 7 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects of customer service, including in person, by phone, and online as well as handling disputes. A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson.  For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

ETHICS/INTEGRITY/PROFESSIONALISM (4*)

Definition

Ethical reasoning is reasoning about right and wrong human conduct.  It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions.  Students’ ethical self-identify evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Oral Communication Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

Lessons and Materials

For Health Professions: See the Ethics in Health Care and HIPAA and Integrity lessons under Workplace Ethics and Professionalism:  https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/soft-skills-training/workplace-ethics-professionalism/.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS (12*)

Definition

Interpersonal skills are comprised of a number of skills considered necessary for successful interaction with others, particularly in a workplace setting.  Students develop and demonstrate interpersonal skills through awareness and application of skills related to social and cultural diversity, communication and collaboration, and establishing and maintaining relationships and networks.  (MiraCosta College Career Center definition.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

From Skills to Pay the Bills

Interpersonal Skills for Teams:  Pre- and Post-Tests, Student Workbooks, and Teacher Guides available from the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges upon request and creation of a .edu username and password: http://www.californiarht.com/curriculum-database-launches/.

For Health Professions:  See lessons for Communication Competency for interpersonal communication, non-verbal communication, listening skills, professional networking, and emotional intelligence: https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/soft-skills-training/communication-competency/; see  the Social Graces lesson under Workplace Ethics and Professionalism:  https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/soft-skills-training/communication-competency/.

LEADERSHIP (9*)

Definition

Leadership herein refers not to one’s role or job title, but to a combination of interpersonal skills and qualities one possesses that inspire and motivate others to find better ways of accomplishing goals and of seeking resolutions to problems; this type of leadership is referred to as transformational leadership.  (See http://online.stu.edu/transformational-leadership/).

Lessons and Materials

For Health Professions:  See the Effectively Giving and Receiving Feedback and Conflict Management lessons under Problem Solving: https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/soft-skills-training/effective-problem-solving/.  See resources also for COMMUNICATION and INTERPERSONAL SKILLS.

LEARNING TO LEARN (12*)

Definition

Integrative learning is an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.  (Quoted from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Integrative Learning Value Rubric. See http://miracosta.edu/governance/oac/slo.html and www.aacu.org.)

Resources rather than lessons and materials are available for teaching students how to learn and how to integrate their learning. 

PERSONAL QUALITIES (6*)

Definition

Personal qualities are a set of characteristics possessed by people considered successful in the American workplace; they include initiative, self-direction, lifelong learning, self-management, time management, and resilience.  (MiraCosta College Career Center definition.  See also Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning Value Rubric from www.aacu.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 5 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects of self-management, including goal setting and managing emotions.  A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

PLANNING AND PRIORITIZING (9*)

Definition

Planning is the thinking skill that helps an individual develop strategies to accomplish goals.  Prioritizing is ranking tasks by determining those most important or urgent.  (See www.learningworksforkids.com and, for a list of key behaviors, see: https://hr.od.nih.gov/workingatnih/competencies/core/planprioritization.htm.)

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) CareerReady 101 offers 5 in-depth lessons covering a number of aspects of time management, including organizing and planning, setting priorities, and overcoming procrastination.  A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.

TECHNOLOGY SKILLS (5*)

Definition

Students who exhibit technology skills select and use appropriate technology to accomplish tasks; they apply technology skills to problem solving; use standard technologies easily; embrace new technologies, and are able to quickly access information. (Adapted from the Connect Ed’s student learning outcomes definitions.  See www.connectedcalifornia.org.)

NWOW Lessons and Materials

American College Testing’s (ACT’s) KeyTrain Workplace Skills Series offers 5 lessons covering information technology, including reading, math, locating information, and other information technology skills.  A final quiz is included at the end of all lessons, as are interactive quizzes for each lesson. For access, contact Donna Davis, Career Center Faculty Director.