What skills are most important, and how do you build them?  

“Top U.S. Companies:  These are the Skills Students Need in a Post-Pandemic World” was published by EducationWeek last week. The entire article is worth reading, but here is a quote:  McKinsey & Company asked global HR professionals about missing skills for an increasingly automated world. They identified problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity as being most needed, followed by the ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity.

Other skills, such as growth mindset, resilience, and collaboration are also mentioned throughout the article.  To me, this doesn’t seem very different from previous surveys.  We know these are all important skills.

What is NOT mentioned?

It is really important to to notice that specific skills are NOT mentioned.   Multiplying fractions, determining elapsed time, writing and evaluating exponential functions, determining the measure of a central angle in degrees and radians – none of these are mentioned.  That doesn’t mean we should not teach these things, but it does mean that other skills are more important. Critical thinking and problem solving should be part of every lesson. 

How do we, as teachers, incorporate these important skills into every lesson?

As teachers, we have so many great resources.  (We also have some that are not as helpful!)  Choosing which resources to use and knowing when and how to use them can be overwhelming! Have you read ‘How is a Great Math Class Like a Daffodil?  Join me as we begin a conversation on asking questions and choosing and using resources that build critical thinking, resilience, growth-mindset, and other important skills in every student!

What are your thoughts?  What skills do you consider most important, and how do you build them?  Please share your comments!

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