Career readiness is among the most common concerns that teachers, parents, and students themselves have to deal with. While yes, the quality of education they’re receiving can be first-rate, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the skills that the job market requires. That’s especially so with the digitization era we’re living in, where the job market needs are ever-changing.

Why SEL?
According to PositiveAction, SEL equips students with the right skills to succeed even after graduation: “Adding SEL to the curriculum at your school equips children with skills that help them advance beyond the classroom.”

According to EdTechMagazine, “Today, social and emotional learning tools are in high demand, with employers seeking people who have not only professional and technical skills, but also the ability to collaborate and work with a team, critical thinking capabilities, professionalism and effective communication talents.”

In the upcoming part, we’ll describe 4 SEL skills that will prepare any student for future jobs.

1. Decision-Making
Today’s world is full of complex issues that require analytical thinking to make sense of. To do so, students need to be able to make solid decisions based on a logical thought process to end up with successful outcomes.

Since the home isn’t exactly where decision-making is fostered, the classroom should be where students are granted the opportunity to practice decision-making or analyze others’ decisions. For example, literature classes can be a great enabler for that by analyzing characters in novels, their actions and repercussions, different possible scenarios, and more.

Alternatively, for a less subtle option, you could teach students about effective decision making explicitly. The Effective Decision Making Framework lays out the approach one should take to make a sound decision in the form of a step by step guide, so that should come in handy. To link theory with practice, allow students to implement the approach, even on a small scale.

2. Communication 
Communication skills are inevitable, and they include verbal, non-verbal, and listening skills combined. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2016 revealed that employers perceive verbal communication as the most essential criterion for candidates. That’s probably triple as important now.

Remember those breaking the ice exercises? That’s exactly what students need more of. Allow children time for discussions, dialogues, and networking opportunities. Encourage teamwork as much as possible and make sure that every student speaks and is heard.

Most importantly, leave room for disagreements and conflicting opinions. That’s the only way children will learn to disagree respectfully and provide constructive feedback to one another, without resorting to dismissing or hating those who disagree with them.

3. Organization
Multitasking and working under stress come with the job package. Accordingly, students must be taught early on to prioritize tasks and stay organized. If students are already losing their assignments, missing deadlines, and so on, you’ll need to pay attention to them to entice them to become organized.

You can do so by being a role model. Showcase your own schedules and plans, involve students in your thought processes, and tell them how much time you spend on planning. Make sure to highlight how planning and organizing your tasks sets you up for success, and they’ll end up copying you.

Also, a lot of tools can support students, like flow charts, planner notebooks, binders, and more!
4. Self-Efficacy
While yes, teamwork and communication are crucial skills to have, self-efficacy and independence are equally important. Employers want a candidate who can jump right into the job and not require micromanagement. The best candidates are those who are self-motivated and able to work independently with minimum supervision.

Therefore, you want your students to rely on you less by time. Distance yourself and cement in their minds that they’re their best resource and can figure out anything. They’ll certainly be resilient at first, but make sure to reassure them and give them confidence that they can.

It’s also a good idea to reward those who work independently. By proving that when they invest their effort in learning and finding solutions, they end up with a reward.
Final Words
While today’s job market is much more flexible and offers a greater life-work balance, it’s also all the more challenging and competitive. Naturally, students are pressured and lack confidence when it comes to navigating such a market.

Luckily, strong social-emotional skills can explicitly equip them with the degree of career-readiness they need. The above 4 SEL skills that will prepare any student for future jobs are pretty easy to build, so let’s empower our students to succeed!

About the Author:

eCampus News staff and wire reports