What Are Soft Skills and How Do We Enhance Them?

Learning and developing soft skills allows people to perform better in different areas. Keep reading to learn more about this.
What Are Soft Skills and How Do We Enhance Them?

Last update: 06 July, 2021

Soft skills are also known as character, non-cognitive or socioemotional skills. So, these are important skills for human development, including a series of aptitudes and attitudes related to personality traits, values, and knowledge.

What are soft skills and what do they consist of?

We’re speaking of a set of skills that allows us to perform better in our work and social relationships. So, unlike hard or cognitive skills related to technical and specific knowledge and IQ, soft skills are socioemotional skills related to feelings.

As we’ve said, soft skills are related to personality traits, aptitudes, attitudes and values, and allow us to better communicate and relate with others in specific environments. For this reason, those who’ve learned and developed soft skills are people who are:

Children smiling and learning what soft skills are.

  • Flexible.
  • Able to work in teams and with a collaborative spirit.
  • With leadership capacity.
  • Have critical, analytical and reflective thinking skills.
  • Persevering.
  • Proactive, capable of providing solutions and options to problems.
  • Responsible and committed.
  • Creative, curious and innovation-oriented.
  • Resilient people, able to learn and see the positive side in difficult and complicated situations.
  • Empathetic.
  • Quickly adapting to change.
  • with good communication, dialogue and verbal fluency.
  • Autonomous.
  • Motivated.

How to promote non-cognitive or socioemotional skills?

In order to strengthen socioemotional skills, it’s important to integrate informal learning in the classroom. In other words, take advantage of educational moments in which strictly curricular formal learning combines with informal learning.

So, this means connecting school with family, work and social environment, and planning educational activities to work on real, everyday issues.

Therefore, there are various strategies and methodologies for developing and enhancing soft skills in students in the classroom, which parents can also do at home. For example:

  • Promote teamwork and collaboration in students.
  • Encourage dialogue, debate, discussion and negotiation as a way to find solutions to problems and situations.
  • Also set out challenges that involve looking for solutions and evaluating options, alternatives and consequences.
  • Encourage the search for and evaluation of information and sources to learn about a topic.
  • Transfer real-life situations and problems to the classroom and work with them.
  • To develop emotional intelligence in students so that they can manage their feelings. To work on their worries, fears and own needs.
  • Make use of the conflicts that arise in the classroom to work on empathy and diversity of opinions and situations.
  • Finally, integrate ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) as a resource to favor the development of soft skills.
Children playing a game.

Why is it important to promote soft skills?

To sum up, in a globalized society marked by the widespread use of information technologies, we need an education that’s up to the task. Therefore, in a rapidly advancing society, we require an education system capable of training people who can and know how to adapt to constant change.

To this end, training hard skills, identified with specific curricular and academic knowledge, is just as necessary as training soft skills. In other words, developing skills that favor employability and are useful for daily life in general is also essential.

So, it’s important to promote the development of socioemotional or non-cognitive skills from an early age, since these skills help people have a positive predisposition to solve problems. Therefore, they have a greater capacity to adapt, because these skills allow us all to learn from mistakes through better management of emotions and frustrations.

In short, soft skills are useful tools that strengthen our ability to interact and communicate with others in diverse environments.

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