Fostering Soft Skills in Collaborative Education

Fostering Soft Skills in Collaborative Education

By working through rubrics and teacher feedback, parents and carers who work with students at home can help build self-guided learning attributes and soft skills in students.

Contemporary education is pulling away from the industrial formula where school leavers undertake professional based education or training for life-long careers.

Even for the most skilled employees, professionals are required to be adaptive as change is constant in today’s workforce. Today’s school leavers need to foster the desire for skills and knowledge, to engender a life-long learning attitude. Today and future employment landscapes require the incumbent to be adaptive, as the tools used, processes utilised and services provided are dynamic. Soft skills including communication, interpersonal, motivational, leadership, decision making and time management are all highly desired in employees.

Learning also occurs outside the school walls. Family and community engagement in its variety of contexts assist our learning. Teachers use a variety of strategies in the classroom, and some of these are related to assessment. There are strategies that can be used at home to support student learning and the development of these desired soft skills within an assessment task.

Critical thinking1 is entwined in many soft skills and working at home with students on assessment tasks can facilitate the adoption of these skills. At home, being engaged and involved with the learning students are participating in at school, parents and guardians can encourage a metacognitive2 process. This can be as simple as asking questions like “tell me what you think about that question”? or, “Let’s focus on what we see as success here. Let’s look at the rubric”? or “Let’s discuss the process of how you are going to approach this task”?

Reading and engagement with teacher feedback to classwork and assessment, reading rubrics and assessment tasks and setting plans, aided by the engagement of parents and carers, all help to foster self-directed learning and the attributes of soft skills, which are so desired in today’s workforce.

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Anthony Pitt. Assistant Head of House (O’Brien and Tracey).

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