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2 Skills You Can't Leave Home (or College) Without

Knowing right from wrong. Children learn that by kindergarten. Having a polite, meaningful conversation. Certainly by high school; today’s students hold their own here based on the popularity of high school speech and debate teams. Yet, these “softer skills” are being newly emphasized when measuring what college students today should be able to do by graduation. 
 
During the past five to seven years the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) introduced initiatives like Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) and developed the LEAP Principles of Excellence to define “college learning for the new global century” that will drive change in teaching practices at U.S. colleges and universities.  
 
In the language of academia, the ultimate desired skill set gets defined as essential learning outcomes. Those have also been updated in this body of work and divided into four main categories that AAC&U strives to deliver to today’s undergraduates:

  1. Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

  2. Intellectual and Practical Skills

  3. Personal and Social Responsibility

  4. Integrative and Applied Learning
Have most parents shopping for colleges with their child seen this list? Do they know which universities provide course work rich with ethics and dialogue skill development, so that their child receives the most significant financial and directional return for their future? They should.
it’s evident concern for others must be taught well past the playground
Based on what we see in American and global business, it’s evident concern for others must be taught well past the playground. Looking at the American political system right now, it’s evident statesmen and women are arriving to their positions without knowing how to have a productive dialogue that uses advocacy and inquiry to understand why people hold certain beliefs. The good news is these are subjects today’s kids want to learn.
 
If you look at the updated AAU&C outcomes it echoes the sentiment from my previous post, “What Gattaca Taught My 6th Grader About Ethics,” and is evidence that ethics and dialogue are skills people need. In the LEAP Principles of Excellence list, No. 3 says to “Teach the Arts of Inquiry and Innovation” by “Immers[ing] all students in analysis, discovery, problem solving and communication, beginning in school and advancing in college.” Additionally, No. 6 says to “Foster Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning” by “Emphasiz[ing] Personal and Social Responsibility, in Every Field of Study.” 
 
Can you teach such thing in college? Apparently AAC&U and the employers they worked with to develop these principles believe you can and must in order for colleges to deliver skilled employees.
We need more academic offerings in ethics and inquiry for students even before college to prepare them for the world and work.  
We need more academic offerings in ethics and inquiry for students even before college to prepare them for the world and work. If you let high school students pick between some of the current disciplines of study and classes on say Ethical Reasoning or the Art of Dialogue, the latter might draw more students than the former, particularly once the strict and demanding Tiger Moms of America understand that colleges are actually looking for these skills in college students today and employers in their workforce tomorrow.
Business, Education, Ethics, Global
parenting,Illuminate

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