What Skills Should We Teach?

For the last year or so, I have been attempting to distill a list of skills that high school students should be able to successfully accomplish before they graduate.  I have borrowed from countless sources to come up with this list.  A rich source of information comes from The Blue Skunk Blog as well as the sources cited in the article.  I have also borrowed from Smart and Good High Schools.  I should also acknowledge the good work done at the American International School of Hong Kong.

Having said all of that, I am sure that there is room to improve on the list of skills that I have identified.  I would appreciate hearing what you think.

Information Acquisition and Management

  • Listening
  • Reading and Observing
  • Ability to Understand and Interpret Data
  • Study Skills
  • Organization – Knowing where you put things- both physically and mentally


  • Questioning
  • Creative Thinking
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    — Compare and Contrast
    — Contextualization
    — Continuity and Change Over Time
    — Synthesis
    — Global Patterns/Processes Over Time/Space
    — Argumentation


  • Anticipate Problems
  • Develop Solutions
  • Ethics
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Delayed Gratification and Tenacity
  • Goal-Setting and Follow-through

Relating to Others

  • Communication
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration and Contribution
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Negotiation
  • Leadership and Responsibility

Math and Accounting

  • Saving and Investing
  • Reading Financial Statements

2 responses to “What Skills Should We Teach?

  1. As hesitant as I am to mention a book that I didn’t like very much (agreeing and liking are two very different things), have you read The End of Education? Very similar subject matter to what you discuss here.

  2. I haven’t read the End of Education, but I will look into it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s