Friday, April 4, 2014

Teaching Soft and Hard Skills

Teaching Soft and Hard Skills
Belinda @ Kids Matter
I recently read an interesting article on soft skills verses hard skills. I have to say, I’m a little disturbed by the thought that both can’t be taught simultaneously. Are we so closed minded to learning new things and new ways that we are impacting the workforce? I would like to believe that we are constantly growing and learning as a society. So, why not broaden our horizons and start teaching both soft and hard skills starting with the alphabet?
Soft skills, as defined by Investopedia are, “The character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person's knowledge and occupational skills.” Soft skills include being adaptable, business minded, confidant, dedicated, effective… etc. Do you see what I did there? A, B, C, D, E… etc! Bear with me as I explain.
Hard skills, as defined by SearchCIO are, “specific, teachable abilities that may be required in a given context, such as a job or university application.” Hard skills include profitability, quickness, reading, security, typing, utilization, volubility, writing … etc. And, there it is again… P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, and W.
So how does the alphabet relate to soft and hard skills that are required for employment and life in general? Easy, everything starts with the alphabet. Learning the alphabet is just opening the door to the rest of the world and our lives. That letter C is for way more than Cow! What if you were to throw in C is for Creative or Counting?
Both soft and hard skills can be taught. We aren’t born being committed and determined. We get there through lessons. Employers must understand that people need both types of skills to be successful in employment. If parents and teachers open the door to expanding lesson plans to incorporate both types of skills, it will open greater doors to success. My idea is to take current lesson plans and expand on them. Teach your children to think outside the box. You are only limited by your own imagination, and that can easily be expanded with a little creative thinking and research. Make it a challenge to find new and creative ways of teaching the alphabet. Use themes and carry them throughout the day or week. Make learning fun and exciting. Most importantly… when you point out C for Cow, remember to add more C words including those used in soft and hard skills.  Don’t be afraid to start them out with small definitions… expand their vocabulary and watch a whole new world unfold for them.
Below are a few sites with good ideas. It’s up to you to make them better and include those soft and hard skills they will need later on in life. Feel free to share your ideas with us.
Discovery Education – Unique idea of teaching the alphabet using animals.
CanTeach – Amazing ideas for using different mediums to make art while teaching the alphabet. – Wonderful site for pulling alphabet themed lesson plans including free printables and activities.


  1. I never really though about it this way. makes perfect since to start at a young age and broden their vocabulary. Will start using this with my grandson who really enjoy's learning his letters:)


    1. Thank you! As teachers we have to break through that old standard of teaching the alphabet. Children are exposed to letters at an earlier age than even 25 years ago. We need to push forward to be able to give employers what they need in an employee. It all starts with the alphabet. Enjoy your time with your precious grandchild! We know those childhood years don't last long :-)