16 Jan How 1:1 Learning Can Help Students Become Productive Leaders
Beyond subject-based learning, one-to-one technology programs can help students learn to manage projects, make decisions and communicate in leadership roles.
Scan the mission statement of any one-to-one program, and you’ll discover that preparing students for college and occupational success is among the top objectives. Technical skills that once set you apart are now baseline requirements to survive in the professional world, which is a major reason why 21st-century employers are shifting focus to “soft skills” when recruiting young adults.
Why Soft Skills Matter for 21st Century Students
While subject-based learning equips students to understand the physical, cultural and social world they live in, project-based learning shows them how to interact with others and make productive decisions that will help them succeed in any endeavor they choose. The same holds true for adults in professional careers. Technical competencies, or “hard skills,” give you the tools to perform specific jobs, but soft skills help you optimize your effectiveness in any job by building constructive relationships. As your school transitions to a one-to-one environment, it’s essential for educational leaders to design curriculum that engages interpersonal skills, in addition to academic and technical learning.
Building Core Soft Skills in One-to-One Classrooms
One-to-one initiatives enrich learning and increase engagement by allowing students to take the lead in their education. In many traditional schools, students often lose interest because they are frequently told what to do and how to do it. The end result is a learning system measured by a student’s ability to perform repetitive actions. Yet, today’s students are used to being surrounded by rapidly changing technology, and they value opportunities to choose which tools they use and how they approach assignments. Whether your school is using Chromebooks, G Suite apps or other digital resources, these easy tips can help you strengthen soft skills in the classroom.
1.Set up an online community and resource hub. [Key soft skills = communication, cooperation, collaboration, decision making]
Understanding the importance of digital citizenship early in life can help young people avoid conflicts down the road. As technology overtakes classrooms, educators must devote more time to teaching students the value of maintaining a positive online reputation. Engaging students in a safe online community shows them how to present opinions while communicating respectfully with fellow classmates.
When possible, educators at your school should also assign projects that require online research and collaboration. By working together in a virtual environment, students become skilled at identifying credible resources on the web, sharing digital materials and making decisions as a team.
2.Give every student a chance to take the lead. [Key soft skills = leadership, communication, teamwork, conflict-resolution, problem solving, decision making]
Good leadership can be taught, like any other skill. To prevent the natural leaders and wallflowers from automatically slipping into comfortable roles, assign team leaders to make sure every student gets a chance. Reserved students may try to relinquish responsibility under pressure, so make it mandatory for the team leader to assign jobs to the rest of the team.
Putting students in charge forces them to communicate with classmates to learn their ideas, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and assign the best jobs. With a shared grade on the line, student leaders are challenged to make decisions and resolve any problems to hand in a successful project.
3.Assign self-evaluation reports during multistage projects. [Key soft skills = self-motivation, decision-making, time management]
Successful professionals take time to understand their strengths and flaws, so they can make the most of their abilities while still striving to improve. Similarly, self-evaluations can help studnets identify issues that increase or hinder their progress. By assessing their goals throughout a project, students also develop self-motivation by seeing how their personal choices influence outcomes.
4.Offer multiple options for completing an assignment. [Key soft skills = creativity, decision making, self motivation, problem solving]
Inspire creativity by allowing students to choose how they approach a project. Everyone thinks differently, and in many cases, students may have innovative ideas that never occurred to the teacher. However, you can require students to make proposals and get their ideas approved, evaluating them on how well they achieve their stated goals. This method makes it easier to standardize the grading process and maintain order when students are working with a variety of resources. While every project can’t be open-ended, adding opportunities for creativity here and there will keep students motivated to do a good job.
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