Dr.Sujatha is a professional Pathologist, Health and Lifestyle Adviser(Coach) and a professional Nutrition Consultant.

Education’s role is to prepare our future generations to take their proper place in society as future learners, professionals, and citizens. However, there is frequently a fundamental mismatch between the skills students learn in school and those they will need to function effectively in the real world. Take, for example, a recent study conducted by a leading research firm called YouGov, which discovered that less than one out of every five surveyed employers considered graduates to be “work ready.” On the contrary, most employers reported that graduates lacked key employability skills such as teamwork, communication, and the ability to deal with stress. In another survey, more than 60% of bosses claimed that graduates were unable to handle customers professionally, while 50% claimed that graduates were unable to take charge of their professional duties on their own. This is concerning, because many of these skills are essential not only for our children to earn their place as competent professionals, but also for them to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them in the wider world. For far too long, students have been taught with an almost exclusively razor-sharp focus on exams, with little regard for the kinds of transferable skills they will require once they leave academia.

With the world evolving faster than ever before and workplaces becoming more competitive than ever before, it is more important than ever for educators to equip students, particularly those preparing to pursue further education or enter the workforce, with key life skills so that they are better prepared to face the challenges that the future holds. Among the most important are:

•Seed Emotional Intelligence: Emotionally intelligent children grow into well-adjusted, self-aware adults. To teach your children emotional intelligence, start by acknowledging their point of view and communicating empathy, even if you don’t always agree. Accepting a child’s emotions rather than denying or downplaying them allows him or her to accept the emotion, resolve their feelings, and move on. In the long run, this teaches children to self-regulate their emotions, allowing them to progress to the next step, problem solving.

*Instill Critical Thinking: Facts and figures are important, but not enough to devote the majority of a child’s education to memorising data. Children must also learn to think for themselves so that they can use evidence, evaluate available information logically, and form their own opinions. This will be critical in their future careers as well as their higher education. A good way to instil critical thinking skills in children is to talk to them about topics that aren’t limited to their textbooks on a regular basis, encourage them to share their thoughts on current events and news, and encourage them to look beyond headlines and investigate what they find.

•Improve Communication: Written and oral communication skills will eventually play an important role in all aspects of your child’s life. Encourage your child to participate in writing-related extracurricular activities to improve their written communication skills. Regular, consistent practise can help to improve oral communication by having children discuss their problems with you rather than just telling them how things should be done. Children learn far more effectively from positive role models, so it is critical that you demonstrate your own communication abilities and openly discuss any communication challenges you may have encountered.

•Teach Work Ethics: As children grow into young adults, good work ethics will prove to be a key differentiator. As a result, it is critical to never lose sight of the importance of them performing any task they undertake to the best of their abilities. In school, this could mean completing projects and assignments on time, as well as preparing for tests and evaluations. Make it clear to children that they must always strive to achieve what they are truly capable of, rather than settling for good enough. Instead of focusing solely on the outcome, praise children for the effort they put forth. Encourage children to take complete ownership of projects, both within and outside of the classroom, to teach them accountability.

•Train in Time Management: In order to truly differentiate themselves, professionals today are expected to do more with the limited time and resources they have. This emphasises the importance of teaching children the fundamentals of time management at a young age. A good place to start is to have them purchase a planner, which they can use to keep track of upcoming deadlines, goals, and key milestones. This exercise can also teach children to prioritise because they may have to choose between doing something they enjoy and doing something important. Finally, assist children in identifying and eliminating potential time wasters so that they can be more productive and efficient.

•Suggest Self-Advocacy: Most adults will eventually have to learn to stand up for what they believe in or what they believe they are entitled to, whether in their personal or professional lives. These situations will always be difficult, which is why giving children enough practise in self-advocacy throughout their childhood is critical. Instead of always intervening for children, take a back seat and allow the child to take the lead and advocate for himself/herself. When asked for advice, be ready to listen and provide it. You must also set a good example and expose your child to self-advocacy through your own actions.

I also strongly support the six-calibration model to ensure that the child learns and remembers these lessons for the rest of his or her life:

•A Lifestyle Choice: Children frequently imitate the behaviour they observe around them. It is therefore critical for you, as an educator and caregiver, to change your own outlook on life in order to leave a lasting impression on a young mind.

•Courage with Belief: Believing in children’s abilities and talents provides them with the positive reinforcement they need to continue displaying commendable behaviours.

•Build Capability: Your role as an educator and caregiver is not to carry children through difficulties, but to help them develop the ability to adapt and learn on their own.

•Confidence: Show confidence in the child’s ability to learn and provide sufficient positive verbal reinforcement for them to repeat desired behaviours.

•Dedication: Devote yourself to the task at hand, both in your teaching and in your own actions.

•Consistent: It is critical to maintain consistency in order to eliminate confusion in the child.

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