A study conducted by Google examined the relationship between employee hiring, promotion, firing, and a STEM background. Researchers wanted to investigate what the relationship between technology jobs and STEAM education was.
What the study concluded was that the top eight qualities that define whether someone is successful in their career, across all industries, was not only about a STEM instructional background. The top eight skills revolved around what they termed “soft skills,” which included coaching, communication skills and listening capability, empathy, and support.
Clearly, incorporating soft skills into your child’s education is essential to ensure they’re set up for success in the future. Below, we discuss soft skills and how a STEM/STEAM education helps foster this vital set of skills.
What are soft skills?
A firm grasp of soft skills gives the growing mind a foundation for success. Soft skills are things like:
Communication: Written, listening, verbal, body language, and business etiquette
Strategies: Problem-solving skills, critical thinking, the ability to use information appropriately, creativity, and decision-making skills
Self-management: Emotional intelligence, time management, professionalism, being predictable, integrity, persistence, and attitude
Teamwork: Collaboration and empathy
Leadership: Conflict resolution, the ability to delegate effectively, and collaboration
Soft skills, essentially, are the social skills that a person learns to communicate effectively at school and in the workplace, show empathy to others, and to work independently as well as alongside others.
Although none of the above skills are a focus onto themselves in schools, the atmosphere of any STEM/STEAM instruction is rooted in learning essential soft skills through collaborative, hands-on project.
Why should your child learn soft skills?
Outside of the study by Google highlighting the importance of soft skills in the workplace, your child’s academic career will also benefit due to soft skills. Being able to effectively communicate and work with others will ensure your child can complete group projects to the fullest of their ability.
Soft skills are learned through time and can be applied to every project or job that your child has, making them valuable even if they change career paths. From helping them shine in an interview to making them an essential member of a team, having a foundation of soft skills means your child is set up for success.
How are soft skills represented in a STEM/STEAM curriculum?
STEM focuses not just on science, technology, engineering, and math, but also on the child’s entire learning process, including the development of soft skills. Each class is designed to allow children to communicate their thoughts, be creative, and explore new concepts in teams.
Unlike traditional education, a STEM education fosters and requires collaboration and groupthink at every level, which allows children to ready themselves for a workplace where soft skills like leadership and teamwork are integral.
Additionally, when tackling a STEM/STEAM project, students are required to work towards a solution using a range of skills and creativity. Through these projects, your child is learning independent work, self-management, out-of-the-box thinking, and persistence.
STEM education helps your child to develop skills in technology and science, while also focusing on the soft skills in teamwork and self-management. As a result, your child graduates well-prepared to tackle the complex demands of the modern workforce and outshine the competition.