In his article These Are the Skills That Your Kids Will Need for the Future (Hint: It’s Not Coding), Greg Satell, author, speaker, and innovation adviser, outlines four critical skills that our students will need in the future – think “soft skills” not “hard skills” like coding as his title suggests.
- Understanding systems – As the world becomes more and more complex, understanding the big picture and how different aspects of the world connect and are aligned become increasing more critical. In fact, deliberately and explicitly figuring out how to align things that may initially seem disconnected becomes an essential skill.
- Apply empathy and design skills – although automation and robotic development are increasing and in many cases replacing the human element, there are human emotion (empathy and understanding others / the end user) and creativity that arguably cannot be replaced. As Satell writes in his article, the “absence of empathy makes it hard for machines to design products and processes that will maximize enjoyment and utility for humans. So design skills are likely to be in high demand for decades to come as basic production and analytical processes are increasingly automated.” We can begin by employing the Design Thinking process in our creative and effective approach to solution-finding – innovation for all.
- The ability to communicate complex ideas – this fits right with our Communicate Like a Cobra oral and written communication goal and rubric at BCS where students artfully make claims, share evidence, reasoning, counterclaims, and synthesize their thinking to communicate their ideas. Satell shares that “the ability to communicate ideas effectively is becoming a highly prized skill…Amazon…Though it is one of the most innovative and technically proficient organizations on the planet…is so fanatical about the ability to communicate that developing good writing skills are a key factor to building a successful career there.” And to do this, “learning technical subjects like math and science is always a good idea, studying things like literature, history, and philosophy is just as important.” It’s not just about the STEM subjects.
- Collaborating and working in teams – no other details needed her as this is one of the hallmarks to the the founding principles of BCS. And, we teach collaboration through our Engage Teamwork Rubric.
Andy Wible TED Talk: “Soft skills are thought to be unmeasurable, unteachable, and unimportant. This presentation will challenge each of these assumptions. From the Ancient Greeks to today’s leaders, the evidence is clear that these skills are not so soft after all. They are essential to living a good life, creating a good community, and having meaningful employment.”