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Youthreach Soft Skills Framework An initiative by Mary Gordon, NEPS & Co Meath VEC Youthreach Centres.

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Presentation on theme: "Youthreach Soft Skills Framework An initiative by Mary Gordon, NEPS & Co Meath VEC Youthreach Centres."— Presentation transcript:

1 Youthreach Soft Skills Framework An initiative by Mary Gordon, NEPS & Co Meath VEC Youthreach Centres

2 Youthreach soft skills framework Culmination of years of work by practitioners working directly in Youthreach or providing services to Youthreach. The rationale for the project is to direct attention to the personal and social skills that form a core part of the programme and a major part of the work of centres.

3 Youthreach soft skills framework Representatives of the six Youthreach centres in Co Meath: Vivienne Branigan, Vanessa Connell, Aaron Fowler, Eileen Gargan, Fiona Graham, Alan Larkin, Liz Lavery, Enda McDonnell, David O’Connor Mary Gordon, Senior Psychologist in the Department of Education and Skills This project is being supported by NEPS and Co Meath VEC

4 Soft skills and well-being A person’s well-being relates to their physical, social and mental state. It requires that basic needs are met, that people have a sense of purpose, that they feel able to achieve important goals, to participate in society and to live the lives they value and have reason to value. People’s well-being is enhanced by conditions that include financial and personal security, meaningful and rewarding work, supportive personal relationships, strong and inclusive communities, good health, a healthy and attractive environment, and values of democracy and social justice. (NESC, 2009, p. 138)

5 The purpose of the Youthreach soft skills project 1.To identify the range of soft skills that are relevant to the work of centres and to locate these on a framework

6 The purpose of the Youthreach soft skills project 2.To identify suitable pedagogical approaches and resources for teaching soft skills

7 The purpose of the Youthreach soft skills project 3.To identify appropriate ways to measure learners’ progress in the development of soft skills

8 The purpose of the Youthreach Soft Skills Project 4.To identify appropriate ways to record and report on learners’ progress in relation to soft skills

9 What are soft skills? ‘Soft skills’, ‘Key skills’ and ‘Key competencies’ Soft skills continuum Education and labour narket initiatives Soft skills are not so much identified, as constructed (This gives a central position to the question of the purpose and values underpinning the identification of these skills.)

10 The rationale for identifying and teaching soft skills could be The empowerment of the learner To prepare the worker for the labour market To support the individual –to become an effective citizen –to become an effective parent/family member –to live respectfully in a culturally diverse society –to have environmental awareness Some or all of the above

11 The rationale for identifying and teaching soft skills Impacts on: The aim of the project The teaching methods The power dynamics between teacher and learner The areas chosen for assessment How assessment is done

12 Teaching soft skills Contextualising the skills in a meaningful situation and integrating them into other skills and activities The fundamental issue may lie in the actual development or teaching of soft skills, rather than focusing only on their assessment.

13 Methodologies Having clarity about the specific skills being taught Using formal, non-formal and informal approaches Recognition … and therefore assessment

14 Assessing Soft Skills International projects are concerned to measure soft skills –Not academic learning per se… –But things like problem-solving, learning to learn and working with others. –Certain areas are commonly considered to be difficult or impossible to assess.

15 Assessment of soft skills Identifying the gains made in the acquisition of soft skills ‘Soft outcomes’ …? ‘Soft indicators’ …? ‘Distance travelled’ …?

16 A soft skills framework

17 Soft skills framework 3 key competencies Responsibility Power Confidence

18 Soft skills framework 3 domains Others The world The self

19 Soft skills framework Responsibility Focus: On others Power Focus: On the world Confidence Focus: On the self

20 Workshop 1 Divide into 3 groups Each group takes a domain and identifies some of the soft skill competencies involved in it

21 Soft skills framework Competencies involve both awareness and acceptance Responsibility sensitivity towards and consideration for others Confidence awareness of and acceptance of the self Power k nowledge of and appreciation for the world

22 Soft skills framework Competencies involve skills Responsibility Self-regulation skills Social skills Confidence Life skills Self-regulation skills Power Social skills Life skills

23 Competencies versus skills “From a strictly conceptual viewpoint, competence has a broader meaning than skill and many analysts consider a competence to include several skills. If we accept that distinction, then the concept of competence should be considered as broader, more general and a higher level of cognition and complexity than the concept skill.” (Tiana, 2004)

24 Youthreach soft skills framework Competencies involve: Values Awareness Skills

25 Awareness and acceptance of self Life and self- regulation skills Knowledge of the world and appreciation for how it works Social and life skills Sensitivity and consideration towards others Self-regulation and social skills Power Responsibility Confidence Soft skills framework Competencies as overlapping

26 Life skills Social skills Self-regulation skills Power Responsibility Confidence Soft skills framework Skills as overlapping

27 DomainsCompetenciesSkills The self Confidence Self-awareness and -management Life skillsSelf-regulation skills Others Responsibility Social awareness and effectiveness Self-regulation skills Social skills The world Power Knowledge of and effectiveness in the world Social skills Life skills Soft skills framework

28 Workshop 2 Divide into 3 groups again In each group explore under the headings what skills might be demonstrated by a learner in each area of competency

29 DomainsCompetenciesSkills The self Awareness of self Management of self Life Can look after self in practical ways e.g. presentation, sexual health Can ask for help Can have fun with others Can make decisions and plans to benefit self and advance life goals Self-regulation Can recognise emotions Can cope with adverse circumstances Can manage interactions with others Can be assertive Can exercise control over substances Can put in effort and motivate self Others Awareness of others Effectiveness with others Self-regulation Can manage emotions e.g. anger, jealousy, exuberance, anxiety Can restrain impulsivity Can take responsibility for own actions Can decentre and notice others Can observe rules Social Can understand where others are coming from Can take care of others Can empathise with others Can communicate effectively in social situations The world Knowledge of the world Effectiveness in the world Social Can work cooperatively with others Can deal effectively with people in formal and semi-formal situations Can follow instructions from others Can keep own word Can manage others Life Can solve a range of practical problems Can access information and use it Can employ learning strategies Can locate self within the wider world and understand its structures, practices and rules Can think about and evaluate social and political matters or events Soft skills framework

30 Teaching soft skills

31 Focus: The self Goal: To develop confidence Competencies involved include: Emotional literacy, a sense of identity, a sense of purpose Skills: Life skills Can look after self in practical ways e.g. self-presentation, sexual health Can ask for help Can make decisions and plans to benefit self and advance life goals Can have fun with others Can recognise and place value on won achievements

32 Teaching soft skills Focus: The self Goal: To develop confidence Competencies include: Emotional literacy, a sense of identity, a sense of purpose Skills: Self-regulation skills Can recognise emotions Can express emotions appropriately Can acknowledge own needs Can be assertive without being aggressive Can cope with adverse circumstances Can manage anxiety and try out new experiences Can put in effort and motivate self

33 Teaching soft skills Focus: Others Goal: To develop responsibility Competencies include: Social sensitivity, a sense of connectedness, a capacity for empathy Skills Self-regulation skills Can manage emotions (e.g. anger, jealousy, exuberance, anxiety) Can restrain impulsivity Can take responsibility for own actions Can notice how others are feeling Can take account of others Can observe rules Can handle criticism

34 Teaching soft skills Focus: Others Goal: To develop responsibility Competencies include: Social sensitivity, a sense of connectedness, a capacity for empathy Skills Social skills Can understand where others are coming from Can de-centre and observe others’ experience Can take care of others Can empathise with others Can listen Can communicate effectively in social situations Can manage and resolve conflicts

35 Teaching soft skills Focus: The world Goal: To develop power Competencies include: Relational awareness, ability to decentre the self, curiosity Skills: Social skills Can work cooperatively with others Can deal effectively with people in formal and semi-formal situations Can be punctual and reliable observe social rules and niceties Can keep own word Can lead others Can manage others

36 Teaching soft skills Focus: The World Goal: To develop power Competencies include: relational awareness, ability to decentre the self, curiosity Skills: Life skills Can solve a range of practical problems Can access information and use it Can employ learning strategies Can understand the structures, practices and rules that apply in the wider world Can locate self within the wider world Can think about and evaluate social and political matters or events

37 Rating, planning and recording progress

38 10 point rating scale The 10-point rating scale is not envisaged as an equal-interval measure. For example the move from 1 to 2 could be considerably greater than from 8 to 9.

39 Template Page 1

40 Template Page 2

41 Recording soft skills Record includes both Quantitative rating and Qualitative description (reason for rating) Meaning of rating A collaborative decision Rating values Slower progress at first But greater achievement

42 Planning Template records rating and reason for rating Template also records plan – link to teaching

43 Measuring progress Templates over time show progress made by each individual (distance travelled) Reasons for ratings identify soft indicators and imply soft outcomes Total templates over time show achievement of centre

44 Pilot project in Co Meath Youthreach centres Piloted in 2012 in six centres Very positive evaluation from centres Next step: Role out in other VEC areas New context of Solas Need for “metrics”


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