21st Century Skills. Non-cognitive Factors. Soft Skills. Schools across the country are rapidly placing more focus on a set of skills that carry many names. Behind their various titles, these are simply known as life skills. As employers began to report a trend that college graduates had been trained academically to take on technical work but could not function in teams and struggled to act professionally, high schools started to take notice. Now, not only are students expected to keep up with their academics, but they are also being pushed to engage in life skill development for future career success. While beneficial, this can at times be overwhelming for your standard high school student. Below are three recommendations for how you can help support your child in developing life skills.
Most jobs today require work in teams. Regardless of whether your work is primarily independent or collaborative, students graduating from college must know how to work well with others. Whether it is a colleague, supervisor, or customer, knowing how to cooperate with others is key to career success. For younger children, encourage play dates often where they will need to play with many children, encouraging their communication and sharing skills. For older students, emphasize the importance of group projects, and when inevitable challenges arise in groupwork, treat them as learning opportunities for your child, connecting them to challenges they may face in the workplace.
Learning how to interpret information critically to make decisions is another key factor for career success. Critical thinking is typically glossed over in schools, with an overwhelming focus on covering content to prepare for exams and standardized tests. Therefore, seeking out after school academic enrichment programs that train students in life skills can be a great way to supplement your child’s education with skills for career success. Such programs can train students in critically interpreting readings, data, statistics, etc. to discover deeper meanings and make connections to the real world.
Problem-solving is one of the more difficult life skills to develop, as it requires other skills such as resilience and creativity. Still, this can be fostered in children starting at a young age. In the earlier stages of life, encourage your child to push through obstacles when they face them during play time, rather than allowing them to turn to another task before coming to a solution. For teenagers, encourage new and exciting methods of problem solving that are often used in creative workspaces, such as Stanford University’s Design Thinking approach (read more here).
If you are looking for after school enrichment classes that train students in both academics AND life skills, look no further! The A+ Program combines advanced academic enrichment with life skill development in leadership, collaboration, critical thinking, and more through our various school year and summer course offerings.
Contact us today to learn more about our upcoming April Saturday and Summer Enrichment sessions!