Today we’re going to talk about something a bit different to our normal study skills-based articles.
We want to take a look at the bigger picture.
Perspective is important.
In a way it’s not ‘news’ to us, but we’ve come across a really interesting article on the findings of Christy Lleras, a professor of human and community development at the University of Illinois. Her findings highlight the pivotal importance of ‘soft skills’ in determining a high school student’s higher academic achievement and earnings in adult life.
By ‘soft skills’ she means sociability, punctuality, conscientiousness, the ability to get on with people, communication skills, leadership, and creativity.
Apparently these attributes are so important to success in the real world that they’re actually better predictors of later life achievement than good grades!
This basically means that your teen is much more likely to make it to the final interview stage (at a job or university interview) if their good grades are backed up by a great personality.
Now, this wasn’t exactly groundbreaking information to us, as I’m sure it isn’t to you. But, it is interesting to actually see this idea being played out for real, with study results to back it up!
Yeah, OK. So what?
Well unfortunately, while employers are looking for talent in one area, education systems all over the world are pushing in the completely opposite direction.
Schools are becoming more and more obsessed with meeting standards and looking good in statistical analyses. Sport, drama, and all-roundedness are out. Getting good grades is paramount in the eyes of the school.
But employers want people who can think, who can talk, and who can deliver something amazing – on time.
We can’t really point the finger at schools for this backwardness. They’re stuck in a pressure cooker with the heat being constantly turned up by governments – who control the purse strings – and parents – who go out of their way to ensure their kids go to a ‘good school’.
Furthermore, the attrition rate for teenagers partaking in extracurricular activities like sports, music, drama, debate, art, is horrendous. Surely this is only going to further impede teenagers’ ability to build up the ‘soft skills’ that the real world rewards.
Luckily (for everyone) the biggest influence on children is still their parents.
So please don’t let your teen give up on playing sport or learning an instrument.
Reward any confident and positive behaviour they display.
Encourage discussion and debate.
Help them realise that values such as integrity and punctuality are absolutely priceless.
At least where we’re from, the Head Boy or Head Girl of a school (or Student Council President) doesn’t usually make valedictorian as well. It would be interesting to conduct a study and see which group, 10 years down the track, experiences greater happiness and success.
We know who our money would be on.
Read the full story here
Image Credit: Dreamstime