As parents, we often put a great emphasis on academic performance. We encourage and expect high grades because they can increase the likelihood our children will be accepted at the university of their choice.
However, this might mean taking away their opportunity to take part-time jobs, volunteering, or developing a small business, as studying takes the majority of focus.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills (or practical skills) are learned from doing practical things in real-life scenarios. A few examples of soft skills are communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving, and conflict resolution. These are the skills that often determine success in adulthood.
Studies have shown time and time again that children who take part in educational programs that promote emotional-social management skills tend to have more successful and happier careers.
Fortunately, they still have time to learn at school. At IPEKA Christian School, we place a great emphasis in developing both academic skills as well as practical skills. We encourage students to join extracurricular activities such as the student council and other organizations.
At the end of the day, a productive student isn’t necessarily someone who always scores the highest in the class, but someone who is adaptable in a variety of situations.
Can soft skills be developed at home as well?
The good news is that soft skills can also be developed at home, or at least outside of school. If you have a relative who owns a business, you can encourage your teen to work part-time as a cashier, store clerk, or sales person. Although they won’t be applying their lessons on differential equations or macroeconomics, they will deal with very real challenges — dealing with people.
Another opportunity is to develop their interest or hobbies while at the same time benefiting from them. For example, if your teen loves visual arts and is capable of using graphic design tools, they can take on projects that use their skill to help other people and communities, such as the church.
It can be important to make sure that the hobby is connected to community service. Reading may be a solitary activity, but reading a story out loud to little children or writing a new story with them can be interesting projects for your teen who loves to read.
Joining a sports club is easily the simplest way for your teens to develop soft skills while doing the activities that they enjoy the most. Team sports require teamwork, coordination, creativity, and active social skills in order to achieve success as a group.
In the end, the goal of developing soft skills is to supplement academic skills. In order for your teen to use their academic skills in the real world, they must learn how to live in the real world. This often demands good adaptability, high determination, and creative thinking.
IPEKA Christian School in Jakarta strives to help your child succeed in all fronts. We develop their academic prowess and instill life skills to help them achieve success. Together with the wisdom of the Scriptures, your child can one day create a life that is rich and meaningful, all on their own.