In a collaborative study from The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management, they worked to identify the most important skills needed for success in the workplace. Employers all over the country were asked for their opinions in this study. Those skills cannot only be taught in a classroom. They need to be learned through experience. These skills are:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Oral communications
- Professionalism and work ethic
- Critical thinking and problem solving
The No Child Left Behind Act from 2001 has required each state to administer yearly testing for students. It has also asked teachers to monitor student ability, write annual report cards for students, and track teacher qualifications and training. And of course, schools want to pass their yearly accreditation. With these increased pressures, many teachers are feeling the need to spend all of their classroom time teaching to those tests.
While it’s important for students to do well on these tests and for our schools to be accredited, it doesn’t necessarily help to enhance the skills mentioned above. If businesses all over the country are saying these things are of the utmost importance, why aren’t we helping our students to build these skills?
And if part of a teacher’s job is to educate students for life, why is there a push to educate them just for a test? By teaching the test and making SOLs are primary focus, we are stripping students of a holistic learning environment, limiting the curriculum for them, and adding unrealistic pressure on our educators.
So how do you teach your kids these skills, while still helping them to be educated and prepared for their tests? Schools that incorporate a project-based or problem-based curriculum have found it to be beneficial in many ways:
- Students enjoy school more!
- Students understand the importance and value in collaborating with their peers.
- Students demonstrate soft skills growth
- Students’ participation in a project curriculum did NOT result in lower test scores for those students.
At Challenge Discovery, we see that need. Not only are our team building programs aligned with SOLs, they help students to hone in on those skills needed for life. These team building and leadership programs are held in the Richmond and throughout Virginia. If you’re interested in how our programs can help your students gain and strengthen these skills, give us a call at 804-876-9733 or email us at [email protected].