The Skills High School Students Need
There are three categories of skills we focus on at Opportunity Education: Learning Skills, Work Skills, and Essential Habits. All of these skills are necessary for doing well in school, but more importantly, for thriving in careers, relationships, and life in general.
- Learning Skills help students become lifelong learners that think critically and take initiative.
- Work Skills help students to work smartly and efficiently.
- Essential Habits are skills and attitudes that help students discover who they are and how they can best contribute to the world and their community.
You’ll see these skills referenced in many places on our website – other blog posts, teacher resources, lesson plans – and in the products we build, because they’re core to our mission, method, and everything we create and do at Opportunity Education.
Today I’m sharing these skills with you. Over the next few months, we’ll dive into each category and skill, and provide you with strategies, examples, lesson plans, templates, and more to help you support students with practicing and developing these critical skills.
We identified 12 important Learning Skills and organized them into four groups.
These might sound familiar to you if you’re well-versed with national and state standards. They closely align with many of them. Regardless of the specific curriculum you use or subject you teach, these skills are likely already identified as part of the learning objectives and outcomes for the courses you teach.
We identified four Work Skills that focus on how a person works and accomplishes goals effectively. These include:
It doesn’t matter who’s the smartest person in the room. People who have these Work Skills thrive in school and their careers, because they work hard, are organized, and self-regulate. As a result, they’re able to accomplish their goals.
We have also identified Essential Habits, which are skills and attitudes that focus on discovering who you are and how you can best contribute to the world and your community. The Essential Habits are:
A Lifelong Process
Learning Skills, Work Skills, and Essential Habits are applicable and relevant in every grade, subject, course, and career, which makes them a great set of skills to use in your classes and at your school, especially if you don’t already have a set of skills defined.
For all of us, these are skills that we’re always learning, always practicing, and always trying to improve. This holds not just for high school, or college, but for all of life. We may never perfect any of our skills, but with regular, reflective practice, all of us can consistently improve.
Jolene Zywica, PhD
Dr. Zywica is Opportunity Education's Senior Director of Learning Strategy. She ensures that the resources, tools, and experiences designed for teachers and students effectively support teaching and learning. Prior to joining the team in 2014, Jolene dabbled in teaching both high school and college students, was a high school literacy coach for 5 years, and has spent over 18 years designing and studying the impact of learning programs aimed at engaging students through active learning and technology.