Ep. 15: Why Soft Skills are Critical in the 21st Century

In this episode, Ziz and Pam talk about the importance of soft skills in the new economy, not just for getting a job, but for navigating a successful life. These are human, interpersonal, relationship skills. How are these skills developed? It’s about creating experiences, relationship and mentorship opportunities, and embracing our humanness.

The rise of automation means job candidates will need these uniquely human skills. Employers are looking for agile, critical thinkers. One study found that 51% of human resource managers said that education systems have done little to help address the soft skills shortage in the workplace. As we shift from teacher/institution directed learning to learner-centered engagement, we will provide the type of environment that fosters creativity, communication, and innovation. 

Parents can advocate for their children, protect their time and space, and co-own the process with teachers and students. But it starts with the learner, honoring their individuality and humanness.


Ziz: “The top missing soft skills are problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, and–the big one–communication.”

Pam: “Innovation requires so much diversity of perspective, thought culture, to be able to break out of that river of thinking. So diversity is innovation and we are not allowing that in our school system.”

Ziz: “Diversity isn’t necessarily about gender or color. It’s perspective.”

Pam: “Diversity is the human complexity that each of us brings to the table, based on our experiences.”

Pam: “Allow kids the time to play, to be bored, to pursue things that are of interest…Encourage them to look at themselves and what they can give to the world, not what the world is going to give to them.”

Pam: “We start with the human being. When you hear ‘learner-centered’, think ‘human being centered’. That is the future of education.”

Pam: “There’s not one school that fits all children, or all family circumstances and needs.”

Pam: “Human beings are open systems. We need to engage with others in different environments. So when we put ourselves in these closed silos, it leads to a lot of distress. We have to break down the school walls and give experiences, expand the multigenerational relationships, mentor-up as businesses and parents. We have to inspire each other to co-own the learning and education that can happen in museums, libraries, businesses, and different types of collaborative, online learning.”



Preparing Students for Success in the New Economy

Duncan Wardle – Diversity is Innovation

Viktor Frankl

Emerson Collectives QX Super School

Getting Smart with Tom Vander Ark

Place-Based Education

No Time to Lose: We Must Broaden Our Children’s Exposure to the Real World

Education Re-imagined – LEARNERS AT THE CENTER. #BuiltForThis

FinTech (financial technology) Nexus Degrees

In An Automated World, Our Humanness Is The Advantage

The Five C’s to Success in the New World of Work



Share your thoughts with us.