There are some things you just cant teach.
Okay, so maybe there are things that can't be taught, but this doesn't mean that those same things cant be learnt. Odd isn't it?
This blog is the perfect opportunity for me to follow on from my previous post regarding creativity and education and to hopefully discover more in regards to my own perceptions surrounding good education.
I've read many arguments for which is better to teach, technical skills or 'soft' skills. In a nut shell, technical skills are more advanced, job specific skills such as maths, science and languages etc. Hmmm, what the hell are 'soft' skills. I suppose I would define soft skills as having the ability to take a more thoughtful approach to things, perhaps even new and innovative approaches. As from my last blog post, technical skills teach you that one answer is correct, the rest are wrong, soft skills give one the ability to explore multiple answers and question them.
I agree with a select few arguments, that these skills go hand in hand and compliment each other, I personally would desire a balance of each set of skills, and preferably be strongly skilled in both areas. Other opinions clearly favour soft skills though, apparently because today, technical skills quickly become outdated, especially with the advancement of technology. I don’t think I agree with this. Of course we now live in a world were technology progresses more and more rapidly all of the time, but how much do the fundamental components of technology really change? Do you know it has taken thousands of millions of years for life to form on planet Earth? And do you know that over all this time, we still share almost 99% of DNA with our brothers the primates?
Is technology any different? Really? You know, the controls I learnt to use to watch a VHS tape on my old CRT TV when I was 6 years old really isn't much different to the controls I use to control my blu-ray player on my brand new HD, 3D, smart TV. My point is that I really don’t agree that things change that drastically in one life time or a thousand years. Things improve, which is just wonderful, but the fundamental technical skills are so vital in order to continue to develop new skills all of the time, without the base technical skills at your core, the ability to learn and pick up new skills, whether it be a new piece of software or anything else would be very, very hard. I don’t buy it for a second that just because Autodesk release a new version of 3d Studio Max, or Unreal or Crytek release new versions of their game engines, or even if a company release a whole new piece of software that I've never seen before, that the skills I've learnt from the use of the older programs all of a sudden become redundant and wasted. Mine and my wife’s brand new Ford Focus, and when I say brand new, I mean brand new! Is so much more advanced and improved than the 13 year old Fiat Punto we had. But you know what I did when I got in the new car? Started it up and drove off in it, no problem at all, didn't have to think about anything. Okay I had to learn how to use the new controls on the steering wheel, even get use to the more advanced response from the accelerator and brakes, the traction control and the ESP (Electronic Stability Program). Okay, I'm getting geeky about cars again, but again, my point is that the technical skills I have been taught first hand in my life are incredibly vital in order to make my new experiences in life easier to handle.
Soft skills are still a bit of a hard one to explain. I might say that soft skills benefit your technical skills more than the other way around. Soft skills are more human, more natural, they help us to take approaches that perhaps aren't always the most logical, but are still necessary. Soft skills are perhaps not as easy to find or access compared to technical skills. If I want to learn new technical skills, I simply find the ones I'm looking for and devote some of my time to learning them, that isn't to say that some people can learn them quicker or easier than others and that then may come down to that persons level of soft skills. I think then that soft skills are offered randomly, and perhaps that is why some people are more attuned to them. Perhaps these people have had more opportunities to learn soft skills than others.
I'm not really sure if there will ever be away to teach soft skills, and I think that a persons ability to learn them depends on many factors such as age, personality, their beliefs, and even their technical skills etc. I think education needn't change so drastically, as although the future is so close and rapidly approaching, it is at the same time far away. I have always worried that when I'm as old as my grandparents that I will be as afraid of new technology as they are now, although, give them their due (maybe with a little thanks to me), they're not so bad. But they were never brought up surrounded by new developing technology like I have, so I struggle to see how I would be, I hope to be amazed by what the future holds, but I'm confident that thanks to my ever developing technical and soft skills, I will be able to handle what ever the future holds.