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
Technology can be an excellent way to engage gifted students. They can use the Internet to link to more “knowledgeable peers and experts” and collaborate on projects. Online connections can assist GT students to locate mentors who can scaffold their learning.
Tech tools can help teachers differentiate for a wider range of abilities with increasingly sophisticated programs. Technology can provide platforms for students to advance at their own pace; utilize distance learning; and engage in independent study.
Research shows that gifted and talented students use tech to do creative and social learning activities in the classroom. Teachers can look for small changes in student engagement; this will impact student achievement. If you notice attendance is up and students want to be in your classroom, it may be because they can use tech to demonstrate proficiency.
How can technology help 2E students (i.e., Asperger’s/EFD) be more engaged in school? Many twice-exceptional (2E) kids respond well to computer programming that eliminates emotion in instruction and provides patience in interactions. Also, they can use smartphones and tablets to organize schedules and assignments.
Parents can support the use of technology in their child’s school. A student’s technology-rich life outside of the classroom can serve to support learning that goes on at school (Siegle, 2004). Students who do not have access to computers outside of school may fall behind academically (Neuman & Celano, 2006).
Check out the links below to see what technology was most liked by chat participants. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 1 PM NZST/11 AM 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Strategies for the Tech-Savvy Classroom (Prufrock Press)
Explore the Garden (Edufest 2017)
Tech Tools & Resources to Whet Your Appetite (Slideshare)
iPiccy: Leveraging Thought Bubbles to Differentiate Learning (YouTube 5:21)
Shazam: Writing techniques using technology (YouTube 1:05:03)
Using Word Clouds 21st Century Gifted Students (YouTube 55:45)
Learning Ally (2E)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad