In my role as head of skills-based learning, I decided to revamp the skills that our pupils focused on this year. I wanted to ensure that they were broad without being too vague, and that they could be broken down into different layers by both staff and students themselves.

I spent a day last summer thinking about what, as a teacher/parent/prospective employer, I would want our children to take from school as a set of transferable life skills. This is what I came up with.

  • Collaboration– to be able to work with those outside of their friendship circle, learning to compromise, resolve conflict and ‘pull their weight’ for the good of the team.
  • Reflection – to review/assess/adapt their work and success in both teamwork and individual projects, using this as a way to set targets.
  • Curiosity – to ask questions about topics of interest and use technology to research answers effectively.
  • Pride – to care about the quality of work/presentation that they produce, in both teams or when working alone.
  • Organisation – to organise themselves, their equipment and their time in groups and individually, to make sure that they complete tasks set in the time given.
  • Creativeness – to ‘think outside the box’ about different ways information might be presented (written or otherwise) with different audiences in mind.
  • Independence – to have a set of strategies in place to enable them to resolve problems as they arise before asking an adult for help, enabling them to complete work to a high standard.
  • Resilience– to persevere even when doing they’re not especially skilled at/fond of the topic or task given, turning mistakes into ‘near-wins’ and embracing the challenge.
  • Empathy – to put themselves ‘into the shoes’ of people of other races, religions, ethnicities and cultures, in a variety of situations, really considering their feelings/actions/choices/decisions.
  • Attentiveness – to listen deeply, rather than hear, both teachers and students around them, being able to relay this, make inferences and ask questions in response.
  • Confidence– to be able to try new things and take risks, especially in terms of communicating in groups and class presentations, using speaking techniques to communicate with a range of different audiences with different purposes in mind.
  • Critical thinking – to weigh up the uselessness, reliability and trustworthiness of a range of sources and media, using this to make informed judgements and decisions.

I realise that there are other things I could have included here. I thought about including things to do with responsibility and respect, but really I felt like these were things that we cover within our school behaviour policy. Also, I felt that these ideals could be incorporated into the 12 skills above. For example, speaking to people respectfully is part of being collaborative – you can’t be a successful team leader or member of a small or large group; or even a successful individual within a class, if you speak to people like they’re something that you stepped in.

As I told my students, very few people are good at all 12 skills at the same time, even after years of attempting to master them, myself included. The first step is awareness – to know what you’re doing well, what you could do better, and how you’re going to do it.

I welcome any thoughts or comments.