1. Persistence: an obvious one yet a vital one. I do not believe that you can teach this just in a book or with a story. Kids need to be challenged to find this. They need an authentic reason to draw upon this. There may be tears and disappointment but that is when learning can arise. Give kids a good reason to persist. Provide learning that requires them to not throw in the towel.
2. Flexibility: Such a must in the current system. Changes are intense. The modern world is moving so promptly. Children need to learn the skill of being flexible.
3. Collaboration and teamwork: we all know how the current work force is. The power of a team is vital. As a teacher, we know shared workloads, shared tasks, dividing work, moral support
4. Being organised: Getting materials ready and packing up promptly. All teachers know the pain and frustration. Kids not being organised. About to start a workshop, forgotten book. About to start writing, forgotten or lost pencil. About to start reading, twenty minutes finding their book. It drives us all crazy! Why? Because organisation is an essential life skill to have. Not having it is where things come unstuck or valuable learning is missed. Teaching kids the skills of packing up, moving quickly, using a diary, planning frames are all part of being organised. Once this is done well and properly, you will be surprised how quickly kids learn.
5. Effort: Never underestimate the power of effort. It is the one that people want to see. You trying your hardest and giving it your ALL even if you do not quite measure up. In today’s world, effort is the difference between getting a job and missing it. It is the difference between two work samples. All kids need to know that if they try their best and work their hardest, then people are proud of them no matter what the results!
6. Prioritise: Another one that is essential for good learning. How many times do we experience a lack of it? Kids publishing work on the computer and the font and title are priority. Three tasks to finish and the kids pick the one that is due last. It can be frustrating. Using “to do lists” or displaying due dates are simple ways to help students learn to prioritise. After all, we all know how much we rely on this skill as adults.
7. Reflection: Kids need to learn to stop, think and slow down. This is an essential skill in moving learning forward. We all know the power of reflection. Internal reflection where it is just you and your thoughts or external when it is shared and public. Taking the time to think about where they are, were to next and why is an important tool for all students.
8. Feedback: Accepting it as well as appropriately giving it. I love the notion of warm and cool feedback. Kids tend to listen more to each other than teachers especially when they get older. So teaching kids the power of authentic and meaningful feedback is necessary. Feedback is confronting. It often does not match with what you think in your mind. I might think that a student needs further work on an aspect of learning and they may be so proud of where they are. I love the notion of simple warm and cool feedback. Kids tend to understand this, even when they are younger. Always building in both types of feedback can help to make it a natural part of learning.
9. Risk taking: A big hurdle for most kids. Taking new risks and trying new things or using new strategies is where some kids shine and some fall apart. To move forward and strengthen learning, students need to take risks. We all know it and I think they know it. However, for some, trying something new or taking a risk brings genuine fear and anxiety. Helping students, with reassurance of course, to take small supported risks is a wonderful way to help them take some learning risks.
10. Adapt and manage change: So things do not go according to plan. That is life. Students need to learn that this is part of life and to adapt to change. This is one skill that kids often find challenging. Understandably, they like things the same to feel safe and secure. While schools try their hardest to provide a stable and secure learning environment, the current curriculum demands that kids adapt and manage change. They move from room to room from such a young age. They now work with a variety of teachers, not just one. Changes are often made to improve the learning. Managing change is a huge skill to teach kids especially when they are younger. I am not advocating for changes all the time. I am a firm believer in safety and security for kids. However, they need to learn to be adaptable and managing change in our current world.
I could go on with a massive list of course. Yet these skills are the ones that I see students need the most in the educational system. In our communities, lacking these skills is what stops kids from learning and moving forward. I do not believe that you can teach these skills from a book. You cannot just do a “wellbeing” or “health” program to tick these off a list. These are the skills that curriculum needs to be designed around. We want strong and powerful learning experiences that naturally draw out these skills.