What are the real skills we need?

Term starts in a couple of weeks and I will be working on a fist year module that is designed to develop students skills and their approach to learning. The trouble is what skills is that they need?

There is ‘motherhood and apple pie’ – communication skills, numeracy, IT skills, working with others and self development, which we need to build on – but what else do employers and society expect from  a graduate?

There are the higher order skills – critical appraisal, logic; evaluation? According to Bloom(1952) the heirachy of skills are

  • knowledge acquisition.
  • comprehension.
  • application.
  • analysis.
  • synthesis.
  • evaluation

But this is far to simple – or so it appears to me.  When I think of what I use to ‘synthesize’ and ‘evaluate’ – I draw on a wide range of resources I have gathered.  It is this process of ‘meta-cognition’ (wisdom?) that we all develop and use that underpins the popular presses view of ‘dumbing down’.

So all teachers can do is give students knowledge and skills – it will be how they use that over the next three, five, ten, twenty or forty years that will really be the proof of whether we have taught them the right stuff and developed the right skills.

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