Soft skills are increasingly valued

16.05.2020

What are soft skills: definition

Soft skills refer to non-cognitive skills that allow us to know and relate to others and to oneself, efficient and creative problem solving, recognizing and managing emotionally, setting goals and planning to achieve them, etc.

These are skills that, with respect to cognitive skills that focus on the experience and acquisition of content, are transversal, that is, they occur in all contexts of life and represent, in broad strokes, the way in which people we relate to our environment.

The importance of soft skills

Soft skills are extremely important as their benefits go far beyond academic or professional success. People with positively developed soft skills are usually happier people, with a pro-social behavior and with a very good level of health.

People with high cognitive abilities can achieve great academic achievements, but if they are not accompanied by good soft skills, they may not perform as expected. On the other hand, people with high transversal skills but without academic studies can achieve very good levels in their personal, professional and social quality of life.

The role of soft or transversal skills in learning

Non-cognitive skills can greatly determine content learning and cognitive skills themselves. There are people who, despite their poor ability in some (or many) of the aspects of transversal skills, achieve high academic achievement. From here, these types of people may stay there without achieving any goal in their personal life due to lack of soft skills or, there are also cases, they achieve great professional success but are characterized by being unprofessional people.

On the other hand, it is worth highlighting the so-called "alternative pedagogies" that are emphasizing how education should focus on accompanying and developing soft skills in order to, from there, develop cognitive knowledge and skills. It is precisely the respectful accompaniment of the different needs of children, according to their evolutionary state, which will allow them to develop favorably on a physical level but also on an emotional and psychological level, giving them sufficient confidence to feel motivated towards learning.

From this approach it is also highlighted how the child's learning should not be adapted to the academic content and cognitive ability to develop, but rather the other way around. If the content is adapted to the child's evolutionary level, including here his personal characteristics, this content will be motivating for him and, therefore, his learning will be meaningful and will remain longer in his personal baggage.

This learning and development of soft skills or, as they have come to be called, "skills of the 21st century", are presented as an alternative to the memorized learning of content or the unique development of cognitive skills typical of most of today's formal education.

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List of examples of soft skills

Soft skills, which are currently referred to as "21st century skills", as they are the most valued and considered necessary to develop optimally in our current social environment, can be classified into the following:

  1. Creativity: fundamental aspect to grow as a person and society, taking into account that life itself is constant movement and fluctuation.
  2. Innovation: it means creating things that can be profitable for the moment we live.
  3. Critical thinking: allows you to reflect on new or established aspects with the ultimate goal of generating new responses.
  4. Problem solving: indispensable ability to successfully go through moments of crisis that occur on a daily basis
  5. Teamwork: a very satisfactory way of working that favors the positive development of human relationships and from which very beneficial results are obtained by uniting the strength of the different human potentials.
  6. Collaboration: this aspect, together with multidisciplinary teamwork, represents a great advance on a human level and with results.
  7. Effective communication: the ability to transmit the message in a positive, clear and respectful way together with the capacity for active listening and empathy favors personal relationships and, with it, the achievement of projects.
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