The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
All of these skills are modeled for students or directly practiced by them during Socratic Seminar. Of note, being a good coach can and should be modeled by an effective teacher, who essentially demonstrates and encourages the other characteristics in order to achieve the best group results. The last characteristic is essentially the goal of a good seminar, where students make connections across complex ideas. Even in such a STEM environment such as Google, Strauss notes: “Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer.” Obviously, if we want our students to succeed into the unknown future, they will need to practice these skills in Socratic classrooms.
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