By Teachers, For Teachers
While your students may have the technical skills to get the job, do they have the soft skills? Soft skills include the ability to communicate, problem solve, observe, adapt, and work within a team, be flexible, have the ability to negotiate, as well as have self-confidence and motivation. These specific personal characteristics will help students function as an individual. When it comes to being able to succeed at your job, having these skills are a necessity. Here are a few classroom activities that will help your students prepare for the “Real “world. These classroom activities can accompany or even replace your getting-to-know you activities, because all of these classroom activities will help your students learn to get along and work well with others.
A fun way for students to learn that the words they use in order to communicate with others is important is to place students into teams of two and have them take turns leading one another through an obstacle course, blindfolded. This “Trusting” and “Communicative” activity will help students understand that the way they speak and the verbal cues they use in order to communicate with their partner must be efficient and effective. The only way that their partner can successfully compete the task is if they give clear and explicit directions. Once the leading student gets their partner to the end of the obstacle, then students will switch roles. At the end of the activity, make sure that you have students reflect upon what went well and what didn’t, as well as what they would change if they had to do it over again.
Time management is a skill that all individuals need to know in order to survive at their jobs. As a teacher, we all have a mile-long list with things that we need to get done, and sometimes we just have to prioritize that list in order to complete it efficiently. For this activity, students will need to complete a list in a limited time frame. Students will work in small groups (which makes this task that must harder) to complete their list and receive their points within a 10-minute time frame. For example, do 20 squats (10 points), write down 10 ice cream flavors (5 points), make up a three-verse rhyme and sing it to the teacher (25 points), etc. Students will need to prioritize their list in order to make the time, and receive the maximum amount of points. Students will learn how to negotiate and communicate with their peers, as well as use their critical thinking skills, and of course learn essential time management skills.
Listening is a skill that needs to be reviewed because in this overstimulating world, technology has taken over our ability to be able to really listen to one another. In this day and age, children need to learn how to be respectful and really listen to one another. By this, I mean listening in order to be able to effectively answer a question or complete their thoughts on a topic, and having the ability to really understand what the other person is saying.
For this activity, students will use their interpersonal skills in order to listen and communicate with their partner. To begin, divide students into teams of two. One person chooses a topic card and reads it aloud to their partner. Their partner must not talk, and must listen to everything their partner is saying without thinking of how they will respond or without letting their mind wander. Once their partner is finished speaking, they must review or summarize what they just heard. Then the students switch roles and continue the activity.
If you ever want to get ahead in life or get what you want, then you will need the ability to negotiate. When your students are out in the real world, there may come a time when they need to negotiate with others. Students will learn all about the art of negotiation by bartering for puzzle pieces with their peers. To play, divide students up into small groups and give each group a variety of puzzle pieces. Instruct students that their goal is to try and barter with the other groups in order to get the rest of the pieces that will complete their puzzle. Once each group puzzle is completed, they have learned how to effectively negotiate.
All of these classroom activities will help prepare your students with the soft skills that they need in order to succeed in the workforce and in life in general. By boosting your students’ soft skills, you are giving them the tools that they need in order to succeed.
How do you teach job readiness in your classroom? So you have any classroom activities that you would like to share? Please leave your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.