The debate about where educational innovation should go is undoubtedly exciting. More and more teachers nowadays have begun to believe that “Teaching isn’t just about learning the curriculum – it’s about life skills”. An article on the life of the guardian of the same name narrates the story of a teacher in England, Rick Teather who is of Canadian origin. His story reveals how various life skills were needed to do different kinds of jobs before he finally decided to become a teacher. The teacher iterates that he deems life skills more important for his students than knowing what symbiosis means. In short, the need to incorporate the promotion of emotional and social skills in the child into their educational objectives begins to be widespread among educators.
This combination resulting from reinforcing in the student emotional and social skills with life skills, as a complement to the traditional teachings taught in the school, begins to be an object of reflection in different areas of the education sector.
Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute and a contributor to the education section of the Huffington Post, identifies in an interesting article two types of competencies that could be reinforced at school: those related to character and life skills.
The main novelty of this approach is to incorporate into school learning the skills related to executive functions of the brain, which consist of the management of thoughts, actions and emotions to achieve goals. While emotional competencies are about who you are, executive functions are about how you handle what you know to achieve your goals.
In her article, Ellen Galinsky refers to 7 types of life skills based on executive functions that could be reinforced in school:
– Attention and self-control
– The taking of perspectives
– The communication
– The establishment of connections
– Critical thinking
– The assumption of challenges
– The capacity for self-learning
Many leading authors and educators such as E.D. Hirsch, Jr. founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, have written a lot on the need to incorporate in the education ‘the skills and the abilities needed to get ahead in the 21st century’. In fact, just job-oriented or profession oriented teaching cannot even address all the jobs that are coming or will come up in the near future.
There are jobs in the market that are unheard-of by the previous generations such as the profession of an image consultant. Image consultancy, nowadays, has been gaining great importance for the projection of an agreeable external image of a person, product or organization. There are image schools that teach the students to analyze their client and develop a strategy that will help them to ensure that the external image projected is appropriate.
Often there are high profile clients who need to know how to create an adequate corporate image, how to behave in events according to the protocols and norms. Image schools teach a student how to advise their client on some basics like makeup, social etiquettes, hairdressing and aesthetics to more complicated areas like public speaking skills, attending to the image requirements that their clients need to adapt to the latest market trends.
Another profession that a few years ago was not even considered a profession is the job of social media manager. If you own a smartphone or a computer, you might be on more than one social media websites or might be using social apps on your phone. It is a huge job sector that is only growing as the time passes.
These kinds of jobs have social and life skills as their basic requirement and majority educators are now feeling the need to impart these skills at the school level. There are challenges too as many educators are not trained on how to impart life skills but those have to be addressed by the educators themselves.
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