GOOGLE, EMPATHY AND STEM SCHOOLS
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One of Google's recent studies, Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google's top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. Google found that although the latest trend for students to master the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — and learn to code as well because that's where the jobs are, turns out to be a gross simplification of what students need to know.
The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach, communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others differing values and points of view, having empathy toward and being supportive of one's colleagues, being a good critical thinker and problem solver, and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Soft skills like equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence, emotional safety and no bullying came in tops. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard.
STEM skills are vital to the world we live in today, but technology alone is not enough. Incorporating social science, humanities and the arts are vital skills for children to be world ready and have satisfying, productive careers.
Cathy N. Davidson, founding director of the Futures Initiative and a professor in the doctoral program in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of the new book, "The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux."
With this in mind, parents would do well to emphasize social skills from a preschool age.
Perhaps come up with a “Value A Month” for a period of 12 months choosing values such as respect, compassion, gratitude, positivity, helpfulness, to name a few values that can help children understand these words and how they can easily be incorporated into our everyday consciousness.
Encourage children to think about their choices. You want their honest answers so that you can give a non-judgmental space for them to explore their feelings and make choices that don’t hurt others and they will eventually learn the importance of empathy and integrity.
These exercises will also help them to develop strength in their own choices therefore facing peer pressure and bullying later in life. They will be more comfortable knowing that not every choice they make will be popular with everyone and that’s OK.
Give them examples to work through:
… if you saw your best friend steal something from a store?
… your grandfather dropped a $10 bill and you wanted a new toy that day?
… the last piece of birthday cake your mother saved for dad later in the day?
… you saw someone being bullied in the school playground?
Discuss these answers with your children and how they will affect the feelings of others. Can they imagine themselves in those situations and how they would feel. Often children don’t realize how their actions affect others and make them feel. Helping children to identify with the other person who would be hurt in a situation can encourage them to make the ethical choice. Eventually they will feel better having made the right choices and build their self esteem and be valued by their peers as having leadership skills.
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