Soft skills are THE skills

I feel so incredibly grateful and privileged to do the mahi I do. Last week affirmed that for me ten-fold.

The day centred around building Emotional Intelligence in a group of incredible educators, with the view of taking this mahi to their students.

Through a day of professional learning, they began to understand the history and key competencies that underpin their emotional capital. They then explored their individual profiles, grounding their new knowledge within their own world. We also explored their team Emotional Capital profile and looked at how they could amplify their strengths and work together to lean into areas for development.

Conversations throughout the day interchanged between their individual, team and students, as they made meaning, asked curious questions and came to new understandings.

Through this journey, and linking with research, they came to realise the following things:

  • Soft skills are THE skills to be learning…they are at the heart of what it means to be human.
  • We can do the doing, but it is how we are being together that role models to those we teach, and sometimes this means talking about the uncomfortable stuff in a safe way.
  • When schools, whānau and students work together on developing these competencies, we create both a caring and daring culture where everyone belongs.
  • Emotional-social intelligence mahi is context-free and runs like an aqueduct at the deepest level of our being. It is foundational for happy, healthy learners, not an add-on, programme, or an afterthought. It needs to be at the heart of every curriculum.
  • Cultural Capability is underpinned by empathy, relationship skills and self-awareness. Without these competencies, you will struggle to understand another’s world.

Back in 2019, when doing some research with Leamington School in Cambridge, Principal Mike Malcolm stated:

“Most schools talk about developing happy, emotionally rounded and resilient children, but don’t have a deliberate way of supporting this, or have any metrics to determine whether they are making a difference. We wanted to make a deliberate transition from hoping we are making a difference to having the confidence that the many resources we already put into supporting these things is having an impact.”
(as cited in Posselt, 2019)

Our mahi at that time used metrics and included staff, students and whānau, was planned and considered, and made a significant difference to the wellbeing of all. Three of the teachers became trained Emotional Capital Coaches and then led this initiative in the school. This was what made the difference to its success on the ground.

And so, with Ministry of Education support over subsequent years, we are able to continue this journey with not just the teachers of this school, but the students and their whānau.

It is exciting, and such deeply important mahi…the stuff that makes my heart sing.

Need a speaker?

There are plenty of speakers to choose from. I am not the norm. You won’t be bored to tears by the same ole’ approach and dribble. How about bringing Mary-Anne for the conference or all-staff day.

Give me a stage and I’ll own it. Give me a room and I’ll energise it. Give me your people and I’ll inform and inspire them. 

Need virtual delivery – no sweat! I have facilitated virtual full and half-day workshops, virtual keynote speaking at online conferences, and might I say, you still get the Mary-Anne goodness you deserve!

More details here


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