Soft skills – aka non-cognitive skills or social-emotional learning skills – can be categorized in many ways. In school, we consider communication skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking and concise writing. They also involve resilience, resourcefulness, integrity, ambition … habits that improve learning. Soft skills revolve around the realization that mastery is an ongoing process and not based on hard and fast rules. Soft skills can be applied in any circumstance one chooses to use them.
Considering that soft skills need to be taught even though hard to measure; skills such as self-regulation, flexibility when faced with new situations and motivation to get things done can all help students succeed. Career success must embody the adoption of soft skills such as dependability, adaptability, working on a team while maintaining positive relationships with others. Other invaluable skills include stress management, facilitation and leadership. Advanced soft skills are necessary for career advancement; skills often needed earlier in life for GT students and include networking skills, negotiating skills, savvy self-promotion, and the skill of persuasion.
Academic expectations for GT students are extremely high throughout the school day … expected to be leaders, independent learners, team leaders, great communicators … all of which can lead to burnout. GT students and their teachers are mainly focused on academics and achievement; easily measurable expectations. Soft skills may be overlooked, but necessary for these students just as they are for all students. Many GT students struggle with interpersonal relationships, dealing with failure and perfectionism, working in class with age-peers. They need to be taught perseverance, flexibility, regulating emotions.
How do soft skills help our 2e kids to be successful? The very nature of twice-exceptional students – having needs to be met, but often misdiagnosed or mis-judged … calls for nurturing of soft skills in their everyday life. When 2e kids are given the tools to succeed; they can live a more fulfilled life without the stresses associated with social and emotional setbacks.
Soft skills need to be taught and well-prepared teachers are essential for this task. The most simple soft skills – reading social cues, socializing with age-peers, respecting others – are the foundation of a successful life. They can aid in self-confidence and emotional regulation.
Best practice for teaching soft skills begins in the realization that these skills aid in learning. Teachers who model excellent soft skills such as self-regulation, patience, and empathy will be the most successful. In teaching social skills, best practices values students’ voice and attitude towards education, school attendance, and behaviors. Student outcomes are dependent on more than test scores and achievements. Soft skills can be integrated into the curriculum through project and problem based learning, 20% time, and genius hour which encourage time-management, self-control and self-reflection on the educational process.
Parents of gifted students can reinforce soft skills outside the classroom by modeling these skills in their everyday life. Character building based programs can have wide ranging positive influence on their children. They can seek to build a positive relationship with their child’s teacher and school personnel. They can model the use of patience and perseverance in difficult relationships; seeking additional support when necessary. Parents who place value on soft skills are uniquely positioned to teach them at home as well and to focus on the benefits of future outcomes for success in their child’s life.
A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Hannah’s Collections (book bn)
The Most Magnificent Thing (book bn)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad
Constraints come in many forms including time, money, and the availability of appropriate resources. Less obvious constraints can include the accessibility to comprehension of suitable outcomes, talent and the intellect necessary for task completion.
No matter the project, a change in your perspective will enhance creativity. Daily routines though comforting, don’t provide stimulation or novel thinking. Changing things up can give you that creative spark you seek. Changes in when you wake up, the route you take to work, work location, how you approach colleagues; increasing novel experiences can increase creativity simply by rethinking your restrictions, limitations, interactions, or your comfort zone.
Constraints exist in virtually all real-life problems that need solving. Overcoming constraints requires creative solutions. Without time constraints, there would be little incentive to find a solution that would be worthwhile to benefactors. Our brains are constantly in efficient mode, constraints force us to think. They can inspire us to use our minds to be more resourceful; responding to challenge. This is a major reason we want our children to face challenge early on in school.
How can we inspire students to persist through constraints, complete tasks & be more creative? Teachers should consider the scope and breadth of assigned projects and even tasks. It’s important to consider time constraints will reach across all areas of your students’ lives. By cutting down the number of choices, projects are more manageable. Most students will be able to respond better to smaller projects with tighter schedules rather than semester long projects. Even with increased workloads, creativity can increase in these situations. Students who encounter constraints tend to think more deeply about options. They were also more motivated. They explore less familiar paths, to diverge in previously unknown directions (Haught-Tromp.)
How do we overcome the Goldilocks effect; to find the right balance to spur creativity? The severity of limited resources leads one to contemplate where to draw the line. Creativity can be squashed if the limitations are simply too great. Finding balance to spur and optimize creativity requires us to prioritize necessary resources, innovate and be thoughtful of how we approach each project.
There are some examples of famous projects that took advantage of constraints. Monty Python & the Holy Grail – a low-budget movie where the actors decided to pound two coconuts together to imitate the sounds of horses was incredibly creative while adding hilarity to the film. A famous use of constraints was Hemingway’s response to a proposal to write a memoir in 6 words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Tragic, thought-provoking, and genius. Check out the transcript of this chat at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Theory of Constraints 3 Bottle Demo to improve Flow (YouTube 6:01)
The Love Affair between Creativity and Constraint (TEDx 11:32)
The Power of Constraints (TEDx 11:47)
The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (Amazon)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Many thanks to Krissy Venosdale @Venspired for moderating our recent chat on “How Cardboard Can Spark Creativity” while our moderator was at a conference. Below, please find links to resources on finding and using cardboard for the classroom, homeschool, and home.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Caine’s Arcade 2: From a Movie to a Movement (YouTube 8:20)
Cardboard Construction (Prezi)
Trashformation: Furniture & Shelter from Recycled Cardboard (YouTube 7:55)
Flexible Folding Chair (YouTube 1:36)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.