Defining Noncognitive Skills

Noncognitive, or soft skills, have become a point of emphasis for both educational leaders and business executives. Most people agree soft skills play a greater role in student and career success than previously realized. College administrators want to know how to teach these skills, and future employers want their applicants to have them. Disagreement arises when it comes to a definition on which people can agree. While Wisors coaching methodology, which continues to evolve, doesn’t align with a particular definition, its core elements: knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs address various soft skills. More behavioral in nature than a “hard” skill such as typing or math, they include time management, persistence, grit and adaptability. Coaches discover their students’ core beliefs and then build out knowledge, skills and attitudes where necessary.
Evaluating a student’s core belief is an important start to assessing soft skills.
The next step is to fill in those gaps by helping students develop habits for success.

Noncognitive, or soft skills, have become a point of emphasis for both educational leaders and business executives. Most people agree soft skills play a greater role in student and career success than previously realized. College administrators want to know how to teach these skills, and future employers want their applicants to have them. Disagreement arises when it comes to a definition on which people can agree. While Wisors coaching methodology, which continues to evolve, doesn’t align with a particular definition, its core elements: knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs address various soft skills. More behavioral in nature than a “hard” skill such as typing or math, they include time management, persistence, grit and adaptability. Coaches discover their students’ core beliefs and then build out knowledge, skills and attitudes where necessary.
Evaluating a student’s core belief is an important start to assessing soft skills.
The next step is to fill in those gaps by helping students develop habits for success.

Critical Thinking Videos

As our world recognizes increased globalization, 21st century learning refers to the skills and technologies that will position the students to succeed in a world that ever increasingly requires collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, adaptability, grit, perseverance in addition to learning facts and data. The how and why of learning becomes central and is far more important than the what or who from past models. Students must approach lifelong learning with a flexible mindset as they tackle 21st century issues. They must learn to work with and listen to a variety of points of view.

As we inspire students to be lifelong learners, we must focus on collaboration, systems thinking, developing empathy, ease in communication and the use of technologies that serve to help us tackle real world issues. Project based learning and group work should be the standard in education today. Listening to different points of view, working with a variety of people with each contributing to the whole is a hallmark of 21st century learning. Creating a system to tackle real world problems; brainstorming ways to solve a problem and trying a variety of potential systems until one works is how great discoveries are made.

Understanding that there are people with many different talents, strengths and opinions; assuming good will when embarking on a task and listening intentionally to others points of view are ways to help foster empathy. Approaching a task from the notion that you have much to offer and much to learn is also a fundamental tenant of empathy. Our students must be comfortable with public speaking, expressing their ideas verbally as well as in written format.

Technology plays a big part in 21st century learning. The use of podcasts, audio and video blogs and online learning all play into how education is moving and is significant in high schools and universities. Our focus at School should be developing basic computer skills including the ability to navigate the Internet for research. Students should be able to acquire Internet navigation skills and learn to filter the essential from the nonessential. The use of the interactive White Board is a valuable classroom tool. Students should have facility with iPads and laptop computers.

Top Ten Skills for 21st Century Student

1. Critical thinking
2. Creativity
3. Complex problem solving
4. People management
5. Coordinating with others
6. Emotional intelligence
7. Judgement and decision making
8. Service orientation
9. Negotiation
10. Cognitive Flexibility