Tangible Progress on Intangible Skills

No matter what subject someone is studying, it is always good to take a step back and reflect on one’s progress. What have I learned? What do I still want to learn?

When it comes to learning skills, there isn’t a definitive endpoint…at least for a long time. When does one know that he/she “knows” the skill of “communication” or “project management”?

In Early College Studies, all of our students take three courses called Workplace Learning. These courses focus on students learning and improving all of the intangible, “soft” skills that employers require employees to have. They are what makes it possible for an employee to use all of the hard skill content knowledge (such as programming, etc.) effectively in the workplace.

The challenge that comes with a curriculum that is designed to have students continually improve their soft skills is that sometimes it can be hard for a student to communicate what they are learning. It’s not as easy as saying, “I’m learning about speed and velocity” when they talk about Science class.

To help students identify and reflect on what they have learned so far in Workplace Learning, students participated in the following presentation and used the information to identify and discuss their learning so far this year.

Upon completion of the lesson, their homework was to briefly reflect on their own skills. It also was an opportunity for the students to provide feedback about the Workplace Learning curriculum.

Out of all of the skills they learned that employers look for, are there any that are not being addressed by the Workplace Learning curriculum right now? If so, do they need to be?

Early College Studies is possible because of its partnership with Norwalk Community College. Together, along with our other partner organizations, students experience “the best of both worlds”: during their high school course, they focus on improving the soft skills they will need to be successful in the workforce as a computer scientist; During their time taking their classes at Norwalk Community College, they learn all of the technical “hard” skills that are required for a career in computer science.

By taking advantage of both of the Workplace Learning course sequence, students set themselves up to succeed and stand out in whatever domain they decide to enter for work — or for college!