In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Gladwell asserts that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve mastery in a field. Researchers, time and again, reached the same conclusion: it takes a lot of practice to be good at complex tasks. According to Gladwell, “achievement is talent plus preparation.” How can students leverage this idea and work toward becoming experts in a career field they haven’t yet identified?
Next week I will be speaking to a room full of homeschool parents about the value of teaching skills, not just academic skills, but also Life skills, and Marketplace Skills. It’s natural for parents to stress Academic skills while their students are, well, students! But there is a synergy that happens when students gain confidence in Life and Marketplace skills alongside academics.
I have often said that grades 9-12 are not the LAST four years of a K-12 education, but rather the FIRST four years of a college and career plan. Every student should consider building his own bridge – one that spans education to vocation. With summer on the horizon, how will you encourage your student to spend his or her time?
Many high school students realize the value of working part-time while going to school to gain the transferable (soft) skills that employers are looking for. College students are using internships as a stepping stone to gain career-specific (hard skills) that help them land that first post-college job. These are both excellent ideas and should be part of your students’ high school-to-career plan.
Working toward 10,000 Hours
In addition to teaching academic studies, be intentional about encouraging your students to grow their transferable skills and gain experience by putting them into practice. Initiative, grit, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and team work are skills that are strengthened by putting in the hours! Don’t let summer pass by without a conversation about SKILLS. Here are just a few ideas of activities to include in your student’s summer plans:
• Personal finance course (Dave Ramsey)
• ACT / SAT Prep
• QuickBooks and simple accounting
• Webpage Design
• Volunteer to care for others
• Computer skills (GCFLearnFree.org)
• CPR Certification
• Robotics Competitions
• Minecraft or Coding (TeamTreeHouse.com)
• International missions trip (Adventures in Missions, Envision, YWAM)
• Inter-cultural volunteer opportunities
• Tutor for an after-school program
• Start your own business
• Teach ESL
• Civil Air Patrol, Scouts
• Write a blog
• Technology classes (KhanAcademy.org)
• Student Government, Speech and Debate, Toastmasters
• Youth Camp Leadership
• Take a free online entrepreneurship course from MIT
• Sports Teams
• 4-H Leadership
• Community and Church Volunteering
• Maintenance or mechanical skills
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