Soft skills more important than textbook knowledge

Soft skills more important than textbook knowledge
Highlights

Soft Skills More Important Than Textbook Knowledge. It requires something more than mugging up textbooks to be successful.

Geeta is studying in class 11. Her knees seemed to wobble and her heart was beating fast. Her palms were sweating too. This was stage fright at its worst. She was the newly elected head girl of the school and was asked to recite a poem.

To start the school assembly, she had to recite a poem by Sarojini Naidu. She started off, but her mouth went dry and her mind went blank for the elusive verse which she had learnt several times the night before. But all she sensed was a snigger echoing through the crowd. She ran to the classroom and sobbed silently and bent her head in embarrassment.

Just then her class teacher Lalitha, who was a loving and pleasing personality, entered the room. But she was a ‘no-nonsense’ kind of teacher when it came to academics and extracurricular activities. She was stern and was respected by students and her colleagues. She put her hand on Geeta’s head and calmly said, “Now try reciting the poem. Fear nothing.”

Magically, the verse flew without a hiccup.

“Now why don’t you go back to the audience and recite?” she told Geeta.

The 16-year-old tried again and strangely the words flew spontaneously without a hiccup.The entire assembly broke into a thunderous applause. Geeta had redeemed herself.

There is something beyond books and homework which schools and teachers need to realise.

In the past few years there's been growing awareness among school and college managements that examination success does not necessarily translate into workplace success. There is a different approach at work place which books in schools do not teach.

It requires something more than mugging up textbooks to be successful. And that vital missing link in the education process is the acquisition of life skills - capabilities which prepare children to cope with life's diverse challenges. They need to get street smart.

“The skills which need to be nurtured help children tackle failure, relationships, sexuality, exam fears, rejection, peer pressure, and stress -- problems which can severely affect their lives,” says UNICEF.

Somewhat belatedly educationists, especially in urban schools across the sub-continent, have become acutely aware that teaching soft skills to students is as important as developing academic capability for professional and personal success.

The corporate world today prefers candidates who are not good at academics alone but also are adept at soft skills, decision making, good manners, communication and interpersonal skills. This saves industry time and huge money as these qualities are required for a company to increase its productivity. If these characteristics are missing, corporates end up spending time and money training the candidate.

Is it not time that our schools think beyond the textbooks?

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