Blog Archives

Reassessing the Need for Soft Skills for Gifted Students

 

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.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Study: Teaching Noncognitive Skills can Spur Better Long-term Student Outcomes

Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact

What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non-Test Score Outcomes (pdf)

Teaching for High Potential: A Focus on the Soft Skills (pdf)

No Mind Left Behind: Understanding and Fostering Executive Control–The Eight Essential Brain Skills Every Child Needs to Thrive (book bn)

Empathy at Work for High-Potential Young Leaders

Why You Need to Focus on Soft Skills

Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (book)

Four-Dimensional Education – The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (YouTube 1:18)

Helping Gifted Culturally Diverse Students Cope with Socio-Emotional Concerns

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (book bn)

Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights

Beyond the Test: How Teaching Soft Skills Helps Students Succeed

The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book (book)

Hannah’s Collections (book bn)

The Most Magnificent Thing (book bn)

Should Schools Teach ‘Soft Skills?’ Many Say ‘Yes’

The Soft Skills College Students Need to Succeed Now and in the Future

Soft Skills List – 28 Skills to Working Smart

What It’s Really Like to Transition into Self-Management

Why Being Smart is Not Enough — The Social Skills and Structures of Tackling Complexity

Six Ways to Teach Social and Emotional Skills All Day

Mind Matters Podcast: True Grit – Fostering Tenacity and Resilience (Audio)

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Using Constraints to Boost Creativity

gtchat 02222018 Constraint

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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Why Imposing Restrictions Can Actually Boost Creativity

Moderate Constraints Actually Boost Creativity. Here’s Why

Theory of Constraints 3 Bottle Demo to improve Flow (YouTube 6:01)

The Power of Doing More With Less Using Constraints to Enhance Creative Problem Solving

Boosting Creativity through Constraints

How Constraints Force Your Brain to Be More Creative

The Love Affair between Creativity and Constraint (TEDx 11:32)

The Power of Constraints (TEDx 11:47)

Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough (Amazon)

Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined (Amazon)

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (Amazon)

Constraints: The Mother of Creativity

Creative Constraint: Why Tighter Boundaries Propel Greater Results

The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (Amazon)

How to Use Constraints of Time Money and People for Better Innovations

David Kwong: Finding Creativity within Constraints

Creativity: How Constraints Drive Genius

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

“How Cardboard Can Spark Creativity” with guest moderator, Krissy Venosdale

gtchat 11132015 Cardboard

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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Google Cardboard

Link to Venspired Cardboard Poster

“It’s Not About the Space… All Learning”

Caine’s Arcade 2: From a Movie to a Movement (YouTube 8:20)

Imagination Foundation: Global Cardboard Challenge 2015

Make Do

Constructing with Cardboard

Building with Cardboard

Cardboard Construction (Prezi)

How to Work with Cardboard

Wheatpaste Tutorial

Paper Crafty: 12 Cardboard Artists Think Outside the Box

Trashformation: Furniture & Shelter from Recycled Cardboard (YouTube 7:55)

Flexible Folding Chair (YouTube 1:36)

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Photo courtesy of Flickr    CC BY 2.0

“Smart Girls” with author, Dr. @RobynMcKay

gtchat 10302015 Smart Girls

 

This week we were joined by Dr. Robyn McKay, co-author of Smart Girls and founder of the website ‘She{ology}’. The discussion centered around smart girls – how they are viewed by society, barriers they face and strategies to use to become successful.

It was quickly pointed out that smart girls often don’t fit society’s image of ‘smart’; nor do they always meet a particular school’s image of ‘smart’. Robyn explained, “Smart girls are often too well-adjusted for their own good. Like chameleons, they adapt and fit in instead of stand out. They begin to hide ability by grade 5. They stop raising their hands in class and whisper the answer to their bff instead.  The trend of hiding ability continues thru high school, college, and their professional life [in adulthood].”

Mental health issues can arise for smart girls. Robyn told us, ” They are good at masking disabilities like anxiety, depression, and ADHD (inattentive type). They mask because they CAN.  Smart girls use their intellectual resources to fit in and manage their disabilities. Just think how creative twice-exceptional smart girls could be if they didn’t have to work so hard to mask anxiety depression or ADHD.”

Next we considered what it meant to be smart and a girl in today’s world. Robyn said, “Intellectually able women often discount their intellect and credit hard work and luck to their success. They often don’t believe that they are smart. Although smart woman are able to juggle many responsibilities and have it all, this can also lead to burn out and early exit from careers.” Add to this that attempts to define ‘smart’ for women have been colored by ideas of gender, race and culture.

“We need to educate all students about gender disparities, inequalities in life and empower them to not just overcome but challenge them.” ~ Tyler Murphy, Kentucky educator

In the book Smart Girls, Dr. McKay and co-author Dr. Barbara Kerr made it a point to leave out definitions of giftedness that include sensitivities, intensities, or overexcitabilities as they focused on talent development. We ask Robyn to clarify this approach. Her response was, “Research has not linked overexcitabilities, intensities or sensitivities to academic achievement, high performance at work, or life satisfaction – the predictions we were interested in. Focus on OE sensitivity or intensity can cause us to pathologize giftedness; to make it seem as if strong, even maladaptive, reactions are a sign of giftedness rather than a sign of a very frustrated, bored or troubled child.”

Then we turned our attention to the barriers smart girls face in having their intelligence recognized. Previous flawed research assumed women could not achieve eminence. Barriers to recognition of intelligence can include environment, race, appearance and privilege. Robyn noted, “Gifted underachievers – who don’t “look gifted” because they don’t get As in every class are often overlooked. Creative girls with uneven performance in school are over looked – get As in the classes they love and and Cs and Ds in the classes that bore them and fail the classes they hate.” Furthermore, Robyn told us, “Smart girls need to know: what’s her IQ? What’s her personality profile? These help her understand why she is the way she is. Armed with data, her self-esteem rises.”

Finally, what are some strategies smart girls can use to succeed in the 21st century? Don’t allow society’s views dissuade your ambition – work toward your passions. For young gifted girls, encourage imaginative play, a healthy diet and adequate sleep. Encourage choices that help girls fulfill their dreams; realize their ‘future self’.

Robyn offered this advice to smart girls, “Don’t date “potential” – don’t date people who aren’t chasing their own goals and dreams. Make career decisions based on your creative flow and strengths. Say “yes” to new experiences. Get support for your mental health. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders keep you from living your dreams. Get As in the classes you love and Bs in everything else. You don’t have to be perfect.”

Transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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 Noon NZDT/10 AM 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Smart Girls in the 21st Century: Understanding Talented Girls & Women (Amazon)

Gifted Parenting Support: Smart Girls in the 21st Century

Smart Girls Takes Silver in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Awards

Celebrating Smart Girls in the 21st Century with Dr. Barbara Kerr at The Psychology Podcast

Reviews for Smart Girls in the 21st Century

Dr. Robyn McKay’s Website ‘she{ology}’

About Dr. Robyn McKay

When Intensity Goes to School: Overexcitabilities, Creativity and the Gifted Child (Google Books Preview)

Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement and College Culture (Amazon)

Gifted Girls – Many Gifted Girls, Few Eminent Women: Why? (pdf)

Gifted Women: Identity & Expression

Harnessing Gifted Girls’ Emotional Strengths

What About Gifted Girls

Gender and Genius

Gender Identity and the Overexcitability Profiles of Gifted College Students (pdf)

The Effect of Gender-Role Stereotyping on the Career Aspirations and Expectations of Pre-Adolescent Children of High Intellectual Ability (pdf 1967)

The Intersection of Gender Equity and Gifted Elementary Education: Does Numerical Parity Tell the Whole Story (pdf)

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

A Mighty Girl (website)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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