Will Your Child Be Prepared for Careers That Dont Yet Exist?

By Susan Kruger, M.Ed [Guest Article]

"We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,
Using technologies that haven’t been invented,
In order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet."

- Karl Fisch, Educator and author of "Did You Know"

When we grew up, the employment rate was fairly stable. Our greatest concern was having to compete against a few "local" job applicants to get a "good" job.

Our children, however, will face new challenges. For one, they will no longer be competing with people in their hometowns for jobs; they will be competing with people all over the globe!  Secondly, companies are down-sizing. For better or worse, technology is allowing companies to do more with less.

In order to give our children a competitive advantage in this Information Age and global economy, we must teach them how to learn strategically -- to organize themselves, process new information efficiently, make critical decisions about that information and access it at a later time.

These types of learning skills are called "soft skills." They include learning, organization, and communication strategies. Most schools do not teach these skills because the national and state standards that drive their funding are focused almost entirely on content. Very little focus falls on learning or processing skills.

One study done by the Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Melon Foundation found that 75 percent of long-term career success depends on soft skills and only 25 percent on technical knowledge!

Another survey asked hundreds of employers in growing industries what skills they needed from their employees now, and in the future. Of the top 57 skills they listed, only four were related to technology.  Ninety-five percent of the skills they need include things like: the ability to think critically, know how to use various learning strategies and manage time efficiently.

It seems unthinkable that our education system would ignore the top 95% of skills that students need for career success! But, that is exactly what is happening. They have the heavy burden of making sure students pass standardized tests. Ironically, they don’t have time to provide instruction that is relevant to your child’s future.

In the world of education, "soft skills" are called "study skills."  Study skills let students use strategies in school.  Students use strategies for sports and video games...why don’t they know how to use strategies in school? 

Study skills are the skills:

* Required to be an independent learner.
* That build confidence.
* That develop efficiency.
* That allow students to be proactive, make good decisions, and think critically.
* That improve performance to prepare students for high-stakes tests and the globally competitive job market of the future. 

Do Study Skills Make a Difference?

Ohio State University published a study in 2009 confirming the dramatic impact study skills can have on school performance.  The study found that students who took a study skills class earned a higher grade-point average. More significantly, they found that study skills had a major impact on graduation rates!

* 45% = the increased likelihood that students who had "struggled" in high school would graduate from college.

* 600% = the increased likelihood that students who had "average" grades in high school would graduate from college!

If study skills are this powerful for college students, imagine the impact they could have on upper elementary, middle, and high school students?  Imagine the confidence students would have much earlier in life? 

Study skills give students a competitive advantage for the future, help them earn better grades (in less time), and develop confidence! The only way to ensure your child has every advantage to compete in our global economy is to provide access to these life-long skills. 

You can download a free Homework Rx Toolkit featuring simple study skills that can make a difference for your child.

Posted on November 9, 2011 by Susan Kruger, M.Ed [Guest Article]

Susan is a former struggling student, a certified teacher with a Master's Degree as a Reading/Learning Specialist, and author of SOAR Study Skills.

© 2011 Susan Kruger, All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live. 

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