Make it More than Simply STEM #BCSLearns

In a Washington Post Article, The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students,  reporter Valerie Strauss shares a study in 2013 called Project Oxygen where Google learned about its employees concluding that mastering STEM skills is a “gross simplification of what students need to know and be able to do.”  In the study, ranking the most important skills, “STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.” 

Now, most recently, Google’s spring 2017 Project Aristotle showed “that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes.” 

Compare these two “lists” from Google from Tony Wagner’s 7 Survival Skills from his 2008 book, The Global Achievement Gap.  Below is his list and a 4-minute clip from his TedTalk where is summarizes the skills (or your can check out a 30-minute video worth the time).

  1. critical thinking and problem solving
  2. collaboration and leadership
  3. agility and adaptability
  4. initiative and entrepreneurism
  5. effective oral and written communication
  6. access and analyze information
  7. curiosity and imagination


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