Cognitive skills are only half of the equation. Social and emotional skills, sometimes called “soft skills” are as important as cognitive skills in determining success in school, work and life. These skills are developed during children’s earliest years. Learning to play with others develops language skills and improved teamwork; making up games and rules develops negotiation skills; learning to follow rules develops ethics; and early exploration develops creating thinking and problem solving, the ability to communicate, get along with others, control emotions, self- motivate, think creatively and solve problems.
Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman says we rely too much on IQ tests and SAT scores and not enough on character. Professor Heckman says “character skills turn knowledge into know-how and people into productive citizens.”A survey of business leaders found that employers view these “soft” skills as even more important to work-readiness than traditional skills, like reading, writing and math. And the media is paying attention.
- The Soft Skills Managers Want (Business Week)
- The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired (Time)
- How Grads can Effectively Showcase Soft Skills to Employers (Fox Business News)
This 5-minute video from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University
provides an overview of how soft skills are developed.