According to the 2006 report, Are They Really Ready To Work?, employers are no longer looking at just the "content literacy" of their employees and prespective employees. More and more, employers are looking for applied skills called "Soft Skills".This in-depth survey of 461 business leaders conducted by the Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and Society for Human Resource Management reveals that while the three "R's" (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are still fundamental to every employee's ability to do the job, employers view "soft" skills as even more important to work readiness. The report also finds that younger workers frequently lack these skills, which include:
At METRO we are committed to ensuring all of our students have the knowledge and applied skills neccessary to be successful in the 21st Century. It is for this reason, the "soft skills" are an integral part of learning at Metro and integrated into students' final grade. We are confident you will be able to see and hear the difference our integrated focus on the "Soft Skills" makes on our students.
Integrates Knowledge and Applied-Knowledge Skills
The Metro Schools of Design are committed to helping students build a solid foundation of skills that will ensure their success in the 21st Century. Metro has identified five core 21st Century skills, called “Soft Skills”, that are integrated with each courses' content literacy. Creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and professional ethics; these "Soft Skills" that are assessed across Metro's K-12 continuum. These skills ensure that students, in addition to learning the hard content of the courses, are learning how to think, create, collaborate, and communicate effectively with their peers and community.
Definition: The learner is able to demonstrate mastery of the core content with a depth of knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century.
Just like every other student in Texas, Metro students must demonstrate mastery of their content standards. These state standards, called Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS), ensure that every student is equipped with the knowledge skills required for success in the 21st Century.
Definition: The learner is able to analyze problems from a unique perspective and explore innovative design ideas aimed at real-world solutions.
This skill focuses on the students receptiveness to new ways of thinking. Is the student able to accept the ideas of others, and are they able to question and challenge those ideas in a non-judgmental way? Lastly, we want students to play an active role in fostering a “culture of critique” where students work is continually refined and improved.
With this skill, we hope that students see the value of learning from their mistakes. Instead of being discouraged or frustrated by mishaps, we want our students to see their mistakes as opportunities to improve themselves and their work.
A central focus of creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas. So, by “generating ideas,” we are referring to process through which the students create new ideas. Is the student able to various techniques like brainstorming or mind-mapping to help them come up that next big idea? More importantly, are students able to pull together (synthesize) various ideas to create even better one.
The ability to create imaginative and/or inventive solutions to the various problems we face in our professional and personal lives. At METRO, we encourage our students to explore and apply their ideas creatively, in order to create better solutions for the future.
No idea is perfect, but they can be improved upon. We want our students to be able to analyze and evaluate their ideas to determine how they may hone and refine those ideas, and also which ideas are worth pursuing. In other words, we want our students to know that every idea has the potential to be great if they continue to work on it.
Simply having good ideas is not enough. If we are unable to find ways to translate those ideas into tangible, real-life products and/or solutions, then our ideas are meaningless. METRO students are always encouraged to make their crazy ideas applicable to the task at hand.
*This skills is considered a skill of Creativity, but is graded as a skill of Collaboration. See description in Collaboration.
Definition: The learner is able to clearly convey views and ideas effectively in written, visual and verbal formats in a way that exudes confidence and is relevant to a given audience.
It is paramount that all students learn how to interact within the basic social norms of communication. They must be able to speak when it is their turn and NOT talk over others. Furthermore, students must be able to make meaningful contributions to group discussion and do so in a socially appropriate way.
Active-listening is an important skill for students to learn and exhibit. Here, we want to ensure that students are giving their full attention to really listen and hear what other are saying to them.
Students must be able to effectively communicate with others using the skills of verbal communication such are speaking rate, enunciations, and pause for effect. They must be able to speak clearly, and effectively choose and use the correct words to express their ideas.
Students must be able to effectively communicate with others using the skills of nonverbal communication such as body language and facial expressions. They must be able to provide eye contact to the person they are speaking to and use an appropriate tone of voice.
Definition: The learner is able achieve success by setting high standards of excellence for himself through self-discipline, work ethic, honesty and integrity.
Ensuring that tasks are completed on time or in a timely manner is an essential part of Professional Ethics. Here, we are looking at the student’s ability to meet project deadlines and to remain on task with little to no redirection.
Student at METRO should know that you should not ONLY do the things asked of you. In fact, it is important to voluntarily take on responsibility that will help themselves and/or others improve. We want our students to demonstrate initiative by taking on new responsibilities, facilitating group discussions, and actively seeking to discover new local and/or global resources.
Being organized comes in various forms and shapes, but is an extremely valuable skill used in every work environment. METRO students should know where to find what they need to find, when they need to find it.
We all know that choices have consequences, but more than this, it is important that we hold ourselves accountable for the decisions we make whether they be good or bad. It is important for student to follow through on the commitments they make to others, and to take responsibility when they do NOT follow through on those commitments.
Definition: The learner is able to use analytical thinking to solve problems and generate new ideas based on information gathered from observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication with others.
We want our METRO students to be well-reasoned decision makers. In other words, we want them to sufficiently think through their problems before arriving at a conclusion.
METRO students are always encouraged to question and/or challenge the validity of the information being provided to them. We want our questions to make sure that the information that informs their decision is relevant AND reliable. Furthermore, students should be able to continually pose questions that lead their group toward a collective solution.
We live in an age where quite literally, “the world is at your fingertips”. With a click of a button, students can access a wealth of information. This is why it is of dire importance that students analyze and evaluate the relevance and accuracy of every source from which they receive information.
Receiving feedback from others is an important part of improving our work, and is an essential element of METRO’s “culture of critique”. METRO students are expected to listen to and reflect upon the feedback they receive from other peers and/or professionals. The feedback they receive from others may and sometimes is what helps to make their products the best that they can be.
We want our METRO students to understand that the choices they make have an impact on others. Because of this, students are expected to willingly explore the possible impacts and/or implications of their group decisions/conclusions.
This skill is is considered a skill of Critical Thinking but is graded as a skill of Collaboration. See description in Collaboration.
This skill is is considered a skill of Critical Thinking but is graded as a skill of Creativity. See description in Creativity.
Definition: The learner is able to work effectively in a variety of groups and contribute to discussions, support peers, come to consensus and achieve the group goals as defined by the project or task.
Much like the business world, it is essential that students are able to work well with others. This is why METRO student’s are expected to be receptive to different ways of thinking and value the skills and knowledge of other group members. Also, students must actively share--not hoard--their own knowledge and skills.
Conflict is a natural part of life and the creative process. We want our METRO students to be comfortable with handling conflicts, working towards resolution, and encouraging others to do the same.
It is NOT okay to let everyone else do all the work for you. In the real world, employers expect their employees to make valuable contributions to their business. At METRO, we want our students to do the same in their project groups. We want students to offer their ideas, provide feedback to other, and do so in a respectful manner.
Students as members of their project groups must be able to work toward the collective success and achievement of themselves and others. With this skill, students offer their support and encouragement to help themselves and their classmates be successful in their project/class work.
This skill focuses on the decision making process. When disagreements within a project group arises, it is easy for students to feel discouraged and decide to act on their own. This is why we want METRO students to learn the skill of building consensus among their group members so that, although they may NOT agree with every decision their group members make, they are comfortable enough to negotiate and compromise towards an agreeable solution.
Metro Schools' Mission: Nurturing creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration by design.
Metro Schools' Vision: Global learners who lead with the passion to create, the persistence to innovate, and the confidence to design new possibilities for the future.