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Youthreach Soft Skills Framework An initiative by

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1 Youthreach Soft Skills Framework An initiative by
Mary Gordon, NEPS & Co Meath VEC Youthreach Centres 9;30

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) Starting from a notion of well-being Softskills - So what are we talking about?

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

7 The purpose of the Youthreach soft skills project
To identify appropriate ways to measure learners’ progress in the development of soft skills What are we doing Why are we doing it Who are we doing it for Who is driving it Why

8 The purpose of the Youthreach Soft Skills Project
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.) Hard to pin down Terms like ‘soft skills’, ‘key skills’ and ‘key competences’ used interchangeably Continuum from content - or knowledge - focused skills (e.g. politeness) to personal qualities and dispositions (e.g. like empathy) Referred to in Education and/or Labour projects Involved in general and vocational systems and adult education Used by employer stakeholder bodies, sometimes with input from trade unions Also influenced by research in cognitive psychology and theories of learning Adult education focuses more on the development of the whole person, community and citizen Vocational education is more geared towards labour-market readiness i.e. employability 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 Why are they so important?

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 Challenge to Traditional Teacher talks students listens Effects the way we teach, the motivation what we teach – hidden curriculum

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. The absence of a set of signposts by which to assess soft skills has been a major obstacle for practitioners and for programmes. The ongoing teaching of soft skill in

13 Methodologies Having clarity about the specific skills being taught
Using formal, non-formal and informal approaches Recognition … and therefore assessment In order to teach soft skills in deliberate ways teachers need to be clear about the specific skills they are encouraging and developing in their learners at any particular time. The methodologies they use may be formal or informal. Identifying specific skills to teach and thinking about how they will teach them also allows teachers to recognise when the skills are demonstrated by their learners and this facilitates their assessment and makes it more natural.

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. Communication, Maths and IT are generally assessed through regular assessment processes and so are not under consideration here per se. The most common soft skills areas to feature are problem-solving, learning to learn and working with others. Areas close to designating personal dispositions or qualities are not widely assessed formally within the system but this does not necessarily mean that they are not assessed at all. Some stakeholders, e.g. employers in some countries, are very interested in the formal assessment of these areas (and certification, by the education system), for the purpose of facilitating recruitment. 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’ …? Soft outcomes are defined as those which, unlike hard outcomes cannot be measured directly or tangibly. They are: intangible, not concrete subjective a matter of degree rather than absolute personal, depending on individual client needs intermediate (usually measuring progress towards hard outcomes such as employment and qualifications) The term soft indicators refers to the achievements which indicate acquisition or progress toward an outcome. Examples of soft indicators are: information and practical knowledge coping mechanisms (such as anger management and solution-focused thinking) social behaviours appropriate to different situations confidence less fearfulness about the unfamiliar or unknown self-protection skills assertiveness and self-reliance habits of forward planning, reliability and responsibility. The term distance travelled refers to the progress that is made towards the achievement of soft skills as a result of a project intervention or programme. While the acquisition of certain soft outcomes may seem insignificant for certain individuals, the leap forward in achieving these outcomes can be immense for others. Discuss

16 A soft skills framework

17 Soft skills framework 3 key competencies Confidence Power
Responsibility

18 Soft skills framework 3 domains The self The world Others

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

20 Workshop 1 Divide into 3 groups
Each group takes a domain and identifies some of the soft skill competencies involved in it 10;10am mins long When started move to next slide

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

22 Soft skills framework Competencies involve skills Life skills
Confidence Life skills Self-regulation skills Responsibility Self-regulation skills Social 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) Broader heading Skills – doing Competency – doing and thinking / with a consciousness

24 Youthreach soft skills framework
Competencies involve: Values Awareness Skills The values are the principles that underpin the Youthreach programme – why we want learners to increase their confidence, sense of responsibility and power. They are based on the notion of value that we – as practitioners in Youthreach – place on the young people, on others and on the world so that we want the learners to accept themselves, treat others with consideration and see the world as a place to be curious about, explore, enjoy and safeguard. Each competency involves awareness on the part of the learner – of the self, of other people and of the world The skills have been identified as: Life Skills Self-Regulation Skills Social Skills

25 Soft skills framework Competencies as overlapping Confidence Power
Responsibility

26 Soft skills framework Skills as overlapping Confidence Power
Responsibility

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

28 Divide into 3 groups again
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 12;15pm mins long When started move to next slide and give out handout for workshop 2

29 Soft skills framework Domains Competencies Skills Others The world
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 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 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 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

30 Teaching soft skills

31 Teaching soft skills 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 Can look after self in practical ways e.g. self-presentation, sexual health Can make decisions and plans to benefit self and advance life goals Can place value on own achievements Can weigh up risks and decide how to act accordingly Can solve a range of practical problems

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 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 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. 2;30pm The 10-point rating scale is not envisaged as an equal-interval measure. The distance between the lower numbers is greater than between the higher numbers. For example the move from 1 to 2 is considerably greater than from 8 to 9. This is because soft skills build cumulatively – the more a young person has the more easily they can acquire new ones. The biggest challenge for a centre is often to begin the process of soft skills development, moving a learner from their initial low levels of self-regulation, social interaction and practical capability. This way of conceptualising the ten-point scale is illustrated by the following figure

39 Template Page 1

40 Template Page 2 Plan for addressing improvement in the rating assigned to each student

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” 2;45pm


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