Shifting the focus to the soft skills of teachers: Developing a research question Shifting the focus to the soft skills of teachers • Background • Skills of excellent teachers • Soft skills • Conclusion Where did it all start? (1) • From my position • A passion for teaching • A teacher • Training teachers • My own studies / research Where did it all start? (2) • Newspaper headlines • National and International Reports on the position of teachers (HSRC&MRC,2005:5, VSO 2002:2, Crouch & Perry 2003:12) Outcomes • Giving you a sense of what I have come across • Focusing on the role of the teacher in education Motivation “…the quality of an educational system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” (Malm 2009:78) Shifting the focus to the soft skills of teachers • Background • Skills of excellent teachers • Soft skills • Conclusion Skills of Excellent teachers • Collison (1999:4) states that “knowledge and theories to explain the complex nature of teacher excellence remain limited” Skills of Excellent teachers • professional skills (didactic, content etc.) • interpersonal skills • intrapersonal skills the last two refer to the non-technical knowledge, defined in this study as “soft skills”. (Collison 1999:4) Skills of Excellent teachers • Vastly different skills are necessary • The Norms and Standards for Educators in South Africa (1998:53) identify 7 Roles of the teacher • leader, administrator and manager • scholar, researcher and lifelong learner • have community, citizenship and pastoral role Skills of Excellent teachers Sigmund Freud once remarked, ‘it is hard to decide whether what affects us more and was of greater importance to us (as teenagers) was our concern with the sciences that we were taught or with the personalities of our teachers (Jarvis 2005:10) Shifting the focus to the soft skills of teachers • Background • Skills of excellent teachers • Soft skills • Conclusion Defining “Soft skills” • Not defined in a concise way (Crosbie 2005:38) • Difficult to measure (Muir 2004:6) • Hard to quantify and have a long term effect (Ramsoomair 2004:231) • They do exist like “golden threads” (Kruger et al. 2006:12) Defining “Soft skills” (1) “…attitudes and behaviours displayed in interactions among individuals that might affect the outcomes of such encounters” (Muir 2004:96) Defining Soft skills (2) “doing the right thing at the right time, and doing it nicely” (Joubert et al.2006) Types of Soft skills • Interpersonal • Intrapersonal • Ethics (Van Staden et al. 2006;34,Polk 2006:23, Fernandez-Sanz et al. 2010:2680) Where do we find research on the “soft skills”? • Business • Medical Field (Van Staden et al. 2006:34) • Computer field (Fernandez-Sanz et al. (Muir 2004:96) 2010:2680-2684) Types of Soft skills (1) Interpersonal • Communication reception skills • Communication sending skills • Teamwork • Ability to motivate Types of Soft skills (2) Intrapersonal • Responsibility • Self confidence • Flexibility • Initiative • Planning ability • Innovation / Creativity • Reflective competencies /Critical thinking • Self development / Lifelong learning Types of Soft skills (3) Ethics • • Awareness of ethics Professionalism Training: Soft skills Crosbie (2005:47) reasons that these can be acquired and grown, but for these to become “skills” they need to be practised continually. Shifting the focus to the soft skills of teachers • Background • Skills of excellent teachers • Soft skills • Conclusion Implications (1) • Malm (2009:77) asks “how well do we understand and cater for the development of the whole person when we design and implement teacher training programmes?” Conclusion • My research question: Which soft skills are important for a teacher in the current South African educational context?