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Personal Skill Development


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Title: Personal Skill Development

Personal Skill Development
  • Christine LaRocco
  • International Center Educational Consultant

New International Center Product
  • Resource Kit
  • Personal Skill Development in Grades 6-12
  • Enhancing Learning for 21st Century
  • Success

Four Learning Criteria
  • Core Academic Learning Achievement in the core
    subjects of English language arts, math and
    science and others identified by the school.
  • Stretch Learning Demonstration of rigorous and
    relevant learning beyond minimum requirements

Student Engagement
  • The extent to which students
  • are motivated and committed to learning
  • have a sense of belonging and accomplishment
  • have relationships with adults, peers and parents
    that support learning.

Personal Skill Development
  • Measures of personal, social, service, and
    leadership skills
  • Demonstrations of positive behaviors and

Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1 Necessary Personal Skills for a
    Changing World
  • Chapter 2 Character-Centered Learning As the
    Basis for Lifelong Skills
  • Chapter 3 Soft Skills for Success in School and
    in the Workplace
  • Chapter 4 Communication Skills for the Workplace
  • Chapter 5 Group Communication Skills for the
    21st Century

Table of Contents
  • Chapter 6 Self-Management Skills for Success in
    Life and Work
  • Chapter 7 Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Chapter 8 Training Students in Leadership Skills
  • Chapter 9 Skills for Civic and Financial
  • Appendix A B Descriptions of Successful
    Programs Handouts

Data Gathering
  • How do we measure student personal skill

Sample Data Indicators of Personal Skill
  • Participation or hours in service learning
  • Students holding leadership positions in clubs or
  • Assessment of personal skills time management,
    ability to plan and organize work
  • Leadership and/or follower-ship
  • Respect for diversity

More Indicators
  • Work as a member of a team
  • Trustworthiness, perseverance, other character
  • Conflict resolution--Reduction in number of
    student incidences of conflict
  • Follow-up survey of graduates on development of
    personal skills

Need for Personal Skill Development
  • The world of work is now literally a world of
    workers in global organizations whose employees
    are no longer separated geographically.

Who Would Have Thought?
  • Today, a sales associate in Kentucky may have a
    co-worker in Ireland, and a supervisor in Hong

The American Worker
  • If they want to succeed on the team, American
    workers must be as sharp as their counterparts in
    China, South America, Europe, and India.

Competition in the Workplace
  • American workers must compete for jobs at every
    level with well-educated, highly skilled workers
    in other countries for jobs.
  • Outsourcing strips this countrys workers of
    their jobs when companies hire providers overseas
    whose workers are better prepared and will work
    for less money.

Skills Needed to Compete
  • To work in this environment, team members must
    demonstrate strong communication skills,
    flexibility, organizational skills, respect, and
    a positive attitude.

The National Center on Education and the Economy
  • During the past 30 years, the workforce of
    America has steadily fallen behind workers in
    India and China in levels of preparedness for
    entering the workplace.

The National Center on Education and the Economy
  • Preparation for the workplace.
  • 30 years ago, the United States had 30 percent of
    the worlds college students
  • Today -- only 14 percent.

  • In comparative studies of achievement, American
    students place only in the mid-to-bottom of
    advanced industrialized countries in mathematics,
    science, and general literacy.
  • NCEE, 2007

Interview surveys of more than 1,000 business
executives in 28 countries
  • Workers and managers need to develop personal
    soft skills in four areas of workplace literacy
  • Personal
  • Social
  • Business
  • Cultural Literacy

Personal and Social Literacy
  • Personal Literacy
  • --self-confidence, flexibility, decision-making,
    and insight.
  • Social Literacy
  • --engaging and challenging other people,
    listening skills, constructive attitude, and

Business and Cultural Literacy
  • Business Literacy
  • --guiding people through change, leading,
    setting goals, and connecting people.
  • Cultural Literacy
  • --looking beyond a personal culture,
    understanding cultural differences, and forming
    alliances with others.
  • Rosen, R. and P. Digh. Developing Globally
    Literate Leaders. Training and Development
    Magazine. May 2001, pp. 71-81

U. S. Department of Labor
  • Necessary Personal Qualities
  • Responsibility
  • Self-esteem
  • Sociability
  • Self-management
  • Integrity

U.S. Department of Labor
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Participates as a Member of the Team
  • Teaches Others
  • Serves Clients / Customers
  • Exercises Leadership
  • Negotiates
  • Comfortable with Cultural Diversity

J. Willard Marriott, Jr. CEO of Marriott
  • Young people need more than math and reading
  • substantial content knowledge
  • information technology skills
  • advanced thinking skills
  • flexibility to adapt to change
  • interpersonal skills to succeed on
    multi-cultural, cross functional teams.

Survey of 400 Employers
  • Surveyed by
  • The Conference Board
  • Corporate Voices for Working Families
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Most Important Skills for Success
  • Professionalism and the Work Ethic
  • Oral and Written Communications
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.

Survey Says
  • Basic knowledge in reading, writing, and math are
    always going to be fundamental to workplace
  • But they must be paired with personal skills.

Survey Says
  • To maintain an entry level job and move up to
    better positions, workers need to demonstrate
  • Teamwork
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Creativity

On Professionalism and Work Ethic
  • 70 percent of employers rated high school
    graduates deficient
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills were
    also considered deficient.

  • Hey, we knew that!
  • Just ask the average consumer about the level of
    customer service at their local shopping center!

Dont You Wish the Clerk at the Store Had These
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Self-motivation and initiative
  • Work ethic including dependability
  • Critical thinking and creativity
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Leadership and Interpersonal skills
  • Organization skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Multicultural skills
  • Time management skills

550 Employers in Virginia Say
  • Math, reading, writing, and speaking should be
    paired with decision making and problem solving.
  • Workers should take the job seriously, and have a
    positive attitude and demonstrate responsibility,
    reliability, and flexibility.

Virginia Survey Says
  • The primary responsibility lies in the education
    system, K-12.
  • Three-fourths of the respondents believe schools
    should prepare future workers with both the basic
    skills and the applied personal skills they need
    for success.

The Good News
  • Yes!
  • There is good news!

300 Research Studies Say
  • When students learn to communicate effectively,
    respect others, accept responsibility, resolve
    problems, analyze, evaluate, and work on teams,
    their academic achievement improves.

How Much Improvement?
  • Students improve 10 percentile points and more on
    standard achievement tests.
  • Attendance records improve.
  • Better classroom behaviors
  • Far fewer discipline referrals

South Carolina Study
  • U.S. Department of Education Funding
  • 91 percent improvement in student attitudes
  • 89 percent improvement in behavior

Lets Repeat That Outloud!
  • Focusing Efforts on Personal Skill Development
    Will Increase Student Academic Achievement and
    Improve School Behavior

  • Hallelujah!

  • Okay, I believe you, but
  • Where do we start?

Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • I have a dream that my four little children will
    one day live in a nation where they will not be
    judged by the color of their skin but by the
    content of their character.

Character Education Programs
  • Learning and practicing responsibility, respect,
    integrity, compassion, perseverance, and other
    principles of behavior can transform a school and
    its student body.

Proven Results
  • A strong Character Education program will
    positively impact students personal lives, their
    families, and the community.

Character Education Partnership
  • Should partner with community groups, parents,
    administrators, local leaders, and others.
  • Must be deliberate and intentional
  • Must be incorporated into all aspects of school
  • Must be stressed in students and adults
    interpersonal relationships

No Quick Fix
  • Changing to a climate of character takes
  • strong leaders and a committed and
  • enthusiastic teaching staff.
  • In the best programs, the entire community
    becomes involved.

Six Steps to a Model Initiative
  • 1. Identify Leaders
  • Leadership Team to design and implement the plan
  • Must have top-down support for bottom-up change
  • 2. Develop Partnerships
  • Community Advisory Panel parents, students, and
    the community
  • Determine the attributes children should possess
    when they graduate from high school

Next Steps
  • 3. Determine Guiding Principles
  • Which guiding principles should be the schools
  • 4. Establish Plans
  • Mission statement and a vision
  • Strategic plan defining the activities to be
    conducted and methods for involving students,
    parents, and staff.

Last Steps
  • 5. Implement Practices
  • Emphasize development of strategies that teachers
    can implement naturally in interactions with
  • Students need positive experiences in applying
    the principles.
  • 6. Evaluate the Initiative
  • Behaviors and attitudes should be evaluated to
    determine the effect of the initiative.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
  • Personal Skill Development
  • School programs should be designed to help
    students consciously cultivate the soft skills of
    responsibility, leadership, accountability, and

Lesson plans
  • Focus on developing opportunities to practice
    leadership, accountability, and social
    responsibility within the course content of core

To engage students and achieve authentic learning
  • Schools should move from traditional learning in
    school to out of school experiences.
  • Create classrooms where students apply knowledge
    to real-world problems and practice working
    together in groups
  • develops motivation for learning.

Lesson Design
  • Place students in a situation where they must
    interact as if they are employees of a company.
  • Workplace situations impose
  • Authentic expectations
  • Demonstration of workplace behaviors

Incorporate Teamwork in Lessons
  • Create teams to work on workplace projects.
  • Teams force students to practice interacting with
    others and honing their soft skills.
  • Expect the teams to behave professionally,
    responding to one another with respect.

Workplace Expectations
  • Students should be expected to perform the
    activities at the high level of proficiency
    demanded in the workplace.
  • Businesses cannot send materials to customers
    with mistakes in sentence construction, grammar,
    or spelling.

Students as Managers
  • Give students managerial roles where they can
    experience the workplace through the eyes of
  • Managerial roles allow students to practice
    leadership and organizational skills.
  • They must analyze a situation, determine
    solutions to a problem, assist others, and view
    the big picture.

Invite Professionals to School
  • Ask employers to speak to the class about the
    importance of soft skills at work.
  • Discuss ways they participate in groups and the
    necessity of strong interpersonal skills.
  • Reliable and respected community people make a
    strong and lasting impression.

Example Language Arts
  • Beowulf Legendary Dragon-Slayer, kills Grendel
    who has terrorized the community
  • Groups of students what community problems are
    causing conflict?
  • Attend City Council, County Commission, or
    Department of Transportation open meetings
  • Interview elected officials or community leaders

Beowulf Lesson Plan
  • In groups
  • Brainstorm the problem, cite the opinions of all
    entities involved, determine what solution will
    provide the best solution for all parties.
  • Write an action plan that presents their solution
    and includes a timeline, approximate costs,
    sources of funding, and other detail.
  • Presentation to appropriate audience.

Example Social Studies
  • Study the Dust Bowl Period in American History
  • Gather data on the cost of supporting a family of
    four for one month in their area of the state.
  • Research includes costs of housing, groceries,
    child care, transportation, utilities, insurance,
    clothing, and other standard expenses, and the
    average salaries of representative jobs in the

Social Studies
  • Design a 6-panel informational brochure outlining
    these costs for young families moving into the
  • Deliver the brochures to appropriate agencies in
    the community.
  • Prepare a panel presentation on the data and
    their findings.

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Integration Health and Art Classes
  • Research the use of art as therapy for
    Alzheimers, post traumatic stress disorder,
    mental illness, and other diseases.
  • In groups, develop a plan for implementing art
    therapy for patients in conjunction with the
    schools art department.
  • Write a proposal that includes the feasibility of
    such a program, an outline of the activities, a
    timeline, costs and materials, and other
    pertinent information.

Group Communication Skills for the 21st Century
  • Advantages of Learning
  • Group Communication Skills

Research on Group Projects
  • Student achievement improves, as well as their
    attitude toward the subject, when they work
    together in heterogeneous groups.
  • Greater acceptance for their peers from different
    cultural backgrounds and for those students who
    are academically and physically challenged.
  • (Slavin, 1995)

Self-Management Skills
  • Self-management skills training for students
    involves training in
  • goal setting
  • planning their time
  • effective follow-through
  • completing tasks efficiently.

Self-Management Skills
  • Students need practice in
  • identifying goals
  • prioritizing tasks
  • eliminating procrastination
  • developing action plans for time management.

Self-Management Skills
  • Study skills strategies
  • remembering information
  • note-taking
  • vocabulary development
  • test taking

Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Instruction and practice in problem-solving and
    decision-making is basic
  • Students can learn to think better if schools
    concentrate on teaching them how to do so.
  • (Preisseisen).

Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • The three categories of necessary skills are
  • 1. Process skills include planning,
    implementing, and reviewing skills.
  • 2. Interpersonal skills involve listening,
    offering an opinion, and consulting with others.

  • 3. Personal qualities for effective
    problem-solving include determination,
    responsibility, leadership, initiative, and
  • (McNeil)

Problem-Solving Skills
  • Students who use problem-solving skills discover
    a new role for themselves in school.
  • They are no longer passive recipients of
  • Participate as active learners, participating in
    the creation of understanding.

To make this shift
  • Students should be engaged in activities that
    have meaning.
  • Do not force them to choose one right answer.
  • There should be a variety of responses possible.
  • (Rossman).

Research and Solve Community Problems
  • Lack of student parking at the school
  • Recycling program for the area
  • Need for an animal shelter in the area
  • Assistance for the elderly yard clean-up,
  • Recreational facilities for youth, senior
  • Tutoring programs for younger students
  • Affordable day care center for young families.
  • Student health clinics youth employment centers
  • Literacy programs for adults, immigrants
  • Need for an EMT unit in town

Leadership Skills Training
  • According to Howard Gardner (Multiple
  • A leader is an individual who significantly
    affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors
    of a significant number of individuals.

  • We all know students whose leadership involves
    persuasive techniques to convince others to join
    them in cutting classes, using drugs, or
    committing crimes.

  • Leadership involves inspiring, motivating,
    directing, and sharing a vision with others.
  • A leader must be a strong communicator, a
    decision-maker, a motivator, a risk taker, and a

Leadership Training Research
  • Personal self-confidence, cooperation, and
    citizenship are characteristics of students
    involved in student organizations where
    leadership skills are practiced.

  • Schools should involve more students in
    activities that expect them to lead as chairs of
  • Schools need to develop materials to give
    students opportunities to practice leadership
  • Students need more activities and experiences in
    group achievement and productivity.
  • (Carter and Spotanski).

Ways to Train Students in Leadership
  • Involve Students in
  • Service Learning
  • Civic Literacy Projects
  • Financial Literacy Projects

Service Learning 1999 Survey
  • The National Center for Education Statistics
  • 83 percent of public high schools have students
    involved in community service
  • 57 percent of all public schools have organized
    community service activities for their students.
  • 32 percent of all schools have Service Learning
    incorporated into the curriculum.
  • Service Learning is part of the curriculum in
    nearly half of all high schools.

Benefits of Service Learning
  • Increased personal and social responsibility.
  • Greater self-awareness and self-esteem
  • Fewer behavioral problems and referrals for
  • More trusting and reliable attitudes greater
  • Increased civic responsibility
  • Higher grades on state tests of basic skills
  • Improved grade point averages
  • Improved motivation and initiative
  • Better school attendance rates

Civic Literacy Skills
  • Schools are the breeding ground
  • for citizens who vote, who become involved, and
    who strengthen the foundations of democracy by
    their community participation.
  • Schools need to encourage pro-social behavior and
    the internalization of civic norms appropriate to
    a society that is both democratic and caring
  • (Stimmann Branson 1).

NAEP 2006 Test in Civics
  • Topics
  • Civic life, politics, and government
  • Foundations of the American political system
  • The constitutional government democracys
    purposes, values, and principles
  • The relationship of the U.S. to other nations
  • Roles of citizens in American democracy

The Nations Civics Report Card
  • Results of NAEP 2006 Test in Civics
  • 4th Grade
  • 73 percent Basic
  • 24 percent Proficient
  • 1 percent Advanced
  • 8th Grade
  • 70 percent Basic
  • 22 percent Proficient
  • 2 percent Advanced

High School NAEP
  • 12th Grade
  • 66 percent Basic
  • 27 percent Proficient
  • 5 percent Advanced
  • These are 18 year olds who can and should vote.

3-Part Model of Good Citizenship
  • Part 1
  • The Personally Responsible Citizen
  • assists those who need help, follows rules and
    laws, is willing to help without taking payment,
    is kind, and tells the truth.

Part 2
  • Participatory Citizens
  • Are actively involved in community issues,
    concerned about state and local issues, and
    believe they can make a difference in the
    community by working with others.

Part 3
  • Justice-Oriented Citizens
  • Believe in working with others to change unjust
  • When there is a need for societal change, they
    believe in the strength of public protest, and
    they will work to challenge inequalities in
  • (Flanagan, et al).

The National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Survey in 2003
  • Students who have participated in civic education
    are 2-3 times more likely
  • -to vote
  • -to contact their leaders
  • -to be concerned about issues
  • -to follow the workings of the government.

Students Trained in Civic Literacy
  • Become adults who are engaged and contribute to
    the healthy functioning of the U.S. political

Planning Civic Literacy Training
  • --Determine when and how long students will study
  • --Cannot be a one-shot effort.
  • --Should start in elementary school and be
  • --Should be integrated into the whole-school

  • Todays Teens Toys
  • Cars and Trucks
  • iPods
  • Cell Phones
  • Portable DVD Players
  • Computers and Printers
  • Electronic Equipment
  • Credit Cards
  • Checking Accounts

  • Youth and Travel
  • Who flew in to DC?

  • Did you notice all the kids with the electronic
    entertainment devices on the plane?

Handling Money
  • Teaching students to manage their money is
    critical to their success as students and adults.
  • Students need skills not only in making money
    but also in handling it through budgeting and
    good savings habits
  • Many schools have added curriculum in financial

Alan Greenspan, Former Chair of the Federal
  • Financial learning should begin at an early age
    and continue throughout a persons lifetime. It
    must be cumulative.

  • Must build the skills necessary for making
    critical financial decisions that affect ones
    ability to attain the assets, such as education,
    property, and savings, that improve economic

Five Financial Tasks of Youth
  • Select and train for a career
  • Maintain a good credit record
  • Develop a personal financial plan
  • Consider insurance protection
  • Start savings and investment programs
  • Eastern Michigan University

Government Involvement
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Acts
    Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act.
  • Establishes a Commission whose central focus is
    to develop a national strategy to improve
    Americans financial literacy

Website and Toll-Free Number
  • Toll-free telephone number
  • 1-888-MYMONEY
  • (1-888-696-6639)

Not Just the Government
  • The Jumptart Coalition for Personal Financial
  • 150 partners -- financial service corporations,
    foundations, associations, government agencies,
    and 47 affiliated state coalitions.
  • (Does Your State Have Jumptart?)

Statistics on Youth and Money
  • 90 percent of high school students rely on their
    parents for guidance with finances.
  • Only 35 percent of high school students say they
    have learned about money management from school.

  • Over half the parents surveyed believe that high
    school graduates are unprepared to manage their
    own finances.
  • 3 out of 4 parents with children five years and
    older felt they were unprepared to teach them
    about basic personal finances.

Importance of Financial Literacy
  • Visas Poll
  • Personal money management is very important in
    the eyes of parents, second only to writing, as
    their children become adults.

Five Standards in Financial Literacy
  • Financial Responsibility and Decision Making
  • Income and Careers
  • Credit and Debt
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Saving and Investing

The National Endowment for Financial Education
  • Over 5,000 students trained
  • --60 percent of students increased in financial
    knowledge overall
  • --60 percent grew in understanding of the cost of
    credit car insurance, and investing.
  • (Danes).

  • Three months later, 60 percent said they had
    changed their savings patterns
  • --90 percent of the new savers said they save so
    they can make purchases.
  • --Students confidence in handling their personal
    finances increased overall

Free or Low-Cost Financial Literacy Programs
  • Family Economics and Financial Education
  • National Endowment for Financial Education High
    School Financial Planning Program
  • Hands-On Banking -- (Wells Fargo)
  • EconEdLink -- (Verizon)
  • Practical Money Skills for Life -- (Visa)
  • Financial Fitness for Life --(Bank of America)

We need you!
  • Program to include in the
  • Appendix to this new resource kit?
  • Please Email

Personal Skill Development
  • Christine LaRocco
  • International Center Educational Consultant