This is the first of three posts I am writing in an attempt to inspire more discussion around the question: How do we prepare students for future success?

Determining an answer to this question is a discussion that I believe should include students, instructors, parents, businesses, and community members. In other words, this is a discussion that should include everyone!

To approach this question from an educator’s point of view, I want to take a look at three different questions:

  • What are the skills our students need to be successful?
  • To help students develop these skills, what kinds of projects and assessments can we engage them in?
  • What are some tools and practices we can use to implement these skills in the classroom?

Essential Skills All Successful Students Have

I decided to compile the notes I took while doing my research. My goal was to identify the skills that were developed the most in an attempt to determine what skills our students will need to be successful in the future.

The following is the list of the 10 most frequently mentioned skills:

1. Adaptive Thinking:

In the digital age, things are changing at an exponential rate. When employees learn the latest software or program, a better version emerges.

Future employers will need to continually adapt to changing conditions and be able to learn new things quickly and efficiently. We need our students to learn how to learn.

2. Communication Skills:

There continues to be an emphasis on communication skills. In the digital age, however, we have access to a wide variety of new forms of communication, from video conferencing to social media.

Future employers need to be able to communicate with people within their team, as well as people outside of the team and organization.

3. Collaboration Skills:

Most classrooms promote a culture of competition and independence rather than a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Future employers will need to quickly adapt to a collaborative culture.

They will need to collaborate with others inside and outside the organization, often using various new technologies.

4. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills:

There is less emphasis on employers following directions and more emphasis on employers thinking critically and solving problems.

In a rapidly changing world, employers need employees who can solve problems, contribute ideas, and help improve the organization.

5. Personal Management:

This includes the ability for employers to plan, organize, create and execute independently, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them.

6. Inquiry Skills:

The vast majority of academic assessments ask students for answers. We rarely test students on how well they can ask questions. However, the ability to ask important questions is a critical skill that is desperately needed in a culture that demands constant innovation.

7. Technology Skills:

Nearly every company I talked to said that employers will need to be adept at using technology. In the digital age, technology is everywhere.

Schools, however, have been slow to adapt to this change. Students are rarely required or taught to learn technology efficiently. This needs to be emphasized.

8. Creativity and Innovation:

This skill is often mentioned. I think it correlates with the ability to ask good questions and the ability to solve problems. Employers will increasingly look to employees for creative and innovative solutions to existing problems.

9. Soft Skills:

Schools rarely spend time teaching students soft skills, including skills like time management, organizational skills, the ability to look someone in the eye when talking to them or use a handshake. sign.

I have heard several times from different business leaders that these skills seem to be disappearing.

10. Empathy and Perspective:

While this skill has always been important, it seems to be slowly fading away. The ability of our students to put themselves in the place of others, understand their feelings and help solve their problems.

While it is important for our students to learn a basic set of knowledge, we are not helping them develop these 10 skills by simply asking them to regurgitate facts in an attempt to gain grades for a course.

We need students to apply what they are learning by engaging them in projects. We need to engage them in higher-order thinking skills so that they develop the skills that will be critical to their future success.

Bloom’s Taxonomy provides an excellent illustration of the different levels of thinking. As educators, we need to stop relying on lower-level skills like memorization and memorization, and help students develop higher-order thinking skills like applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

Then, and only then, will we be helping students develop these skills? Most educators I spoke with agree with this analysis. However, a question always arises: to help students develop these skills, what kinds of projects and assessments can we engage them in?