Helping All Students Prepare for Their Future

Craig Gastauer

Biology Teacher in San Diego County. Working to understand how I can improve the student experience for all students at my high school.

prepare for their futureSince the beginning of the standards movement, coverage of those standards has been the first priority in a vast majority of the classrooms across the nation.  Teachers cite their desire for students to perform well on external exams as why they speed through the curriculum rather than focus on student learning and preparation for their future.  With the adoption of the Common Core, there was supposed to be a shift to prepare students for College and Career Readiness.

Duke University researchers studying a program known as Fast Track found that learning academic skills in the early grades were not as powerful as helping students learn “soft” skills like self-control and social skills.

In this article from NPR, researchers found that specifically helping students learn to collaborate with others and think critically about their actions made more long lasting impacts on at-risk students’ when examining future crime and delinquency rates.  Additionally, rather than a one shot lesson, these skills were taught and reinforced in multiple ways from first through the 10th grade.

However, researchers found that the challenge to these findings would be to find a way to incorporate the teaching of these skills in the classroom under a climate when external exams never measure these soft skills.  How do you and your schools incorporate the teaching of these “soft” skills into the curriculum in a productive and meaningful manner?  Share your experiences and ideas in the Comments Section below.

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