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Three myths about skills

Watch the video in which Tom busts three myths about core skills.
Hi. I’m Tom. I’m founder and CEO of Skills Builder Partnership. I’m going to talk a bit about the three myths. The first myth is this idea that you’re either born with the skills or not. We often hear of born leaders, team players, or natural communicators. But the assumption we have to remember is that most children or young people won’t be able to build these skills. So why invest the energy in trying? To overcome this myth, we need to remember that we’re talking about skills, not personality. We don’t believe that some people are born car drivers and others aren’t.
The trick is to break down the skill into teachable chunks and teach them in a logical sequence so that students achieve each skill, step by step. A second myth is this idea that core skills are built by luck. Indeed, some of our children and young people benefit from wonderful opportunities to debate, act, perform music, and compete in sports. But we need every child and young person to build these skills. So instead of hoping that they’re picked up by luck, we need to assess what students can already do and what they struggle with, like using formal language when presenting. We can then target learning tightly rather than just relying on them picking up these skills by luck.
The third myth is this idea that we have to choose between skills or knowledge. And there are lots of arguments about whether core skills or knowledge are more important, but we don’t have to choose. We can build both together. For skills to stick, they need to be taught directly. But they also need to be practised in lots of different settings. And in doing so, they can help build knowledge too.

For years, employers, colleges, and universities have been crying out for students to be equipped with something more than the academic.

They are looking for a set of core skills too. The Sutton Trust recently reported that 97% of teachers saw these skills as being at least as important as academic grades for their students’ future success. But why, then, are we not teaching them? There are three myths we need to bust.

Watch the video in which Tom talks about some common myths regarding skills. As you listen, note down the three myths he mentions.

Over to you

  • Have you seen examples of these myths in action?
  • What is the effect of them?
  • What are some ways of ensuring every student builds their core skills?

Use the comments section to read what others have said, then post a short comment of your own.

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Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

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