Minnehaha Academy Blog

Preparing Students for Success Part 1: The Jobs That Don't Exist

Posted by Amy Barnard on Oct 11, 2018

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The following is the first in a series detailing how Minnehaha Academy is working to help your child build the necessary skills to succeed in life after school.

Today we look at why MA emphasizes not only exceptional academics but also specific mindsets and character skills that open the doors for greater lifelong success.

You might remember a day when achieving solid mastery of the "3R's" (reading, writing, arithmetic) opened the door to a steady job.

Realistically, that day is gone. Estimates suggest that more than half of the jobs our students will step into don't even exist today. That means that we as parents and educators must prepare students for possibilities we ourselves might not even be able to imagine.

What can we do to empower our students to achieve in a coming world with needs we can't predict?

This is a problem that Minnehaha Academy is actively working to tackle.

“Soft Skills”: The Building Blocks for Success (Just Ask Google)

After crunching the numbers on roughly 15 years worth of data, Google discovered that 7 of the 8 top characteristics for success within their organization were soft skills, including things like problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and listening.

Google isn’t the only organization sitting up and taking notice of this reality; a host of studies and articles have popped up across a multitude of fields detailing the importance of so-called "soft skills" for career success.

Some of the most often mentioned skills include:

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Perseverance

  • Self Control

  • Empathy

  • Listening

  • Critical Thinking

  • Leadership

  • Time Management

Google found that soft skills ranked higher than STEM skills when it came to success and advancement within their organization.

But What About Talent and IQ?

You might have heard that Einstein was an incredible scientist but a very poor co-worker. And he succeeded? Right?

While Einstein achieved much in his time, very, very few people in our country have his IQ of 160. As in, .01%. So even the exceptionally bright and gifted among our students are highly unlikely to score anywhere near Einstein.

2018 - Fall - Preparing Kids 1-1

What about those who do have extreme IQ’s? Studies suggest that without the above mentioned soft skills they may not achieve their potential in today’s society.

Angela Duckworth’s groundbreaking research demonstrated that over and over that perseverance (also referred to as “hard work” or “grit”) wins out when lined up against talent.“A bias towards finishing what you begin rather than leaving it half finished, is actually characteristic of some of the most successful people in the world,” Duckworth explained in an interview with ABC.

While hard work and self-discipline top the lists for most important among the soft skills, even these two skills only drive the bus partially down the road of success, which is why we want to see students grow in a wide range of these skills.

Integrating Soft and Hard Skills At Minnehaha Academy

In order to prepare students for jobs that don't exist yet, we can't assume that natural talent and intelligence along with solid academics will be enough.

We want each student to develop both soft and hard skills for success. That’s why our Curriculum Specialist, administration, and teachers are working hard to weave activities that encourage soft skill development throughout our solid academic programs.

These are not “side” issues that we simply talk about in little snippets, divorced from the rest of our day. The very nature of everything from our Innovation Lab to our Writers' Workshop is designed to create situations where students must stretch and grow their muscles for these soft skills.

Over the next few weeks we will be zooming in to examine specific examples of how Minnehaha Academy is making this a priority. Keep your eyes open for the second installment in this series!

Topics: Middle School, Upper School, Lower School

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