Employability Skills: A MS Career Lesson

Title of Lesson: Employability Skills

Course Name: Middle School Guidance

Grade Level: 7

Author’s Name: Kristen Schaffer

School District: Northern Lebanon School District

American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Standards
A:A1 Improve Academic Self-concept
A:A1.5 Identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning

A:A2 Acquire Skills for Improving Learning
A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
A:A3.2 Demonstrate the ability to work independently, as well as the ability to work cooperatively with other students

A:B1 Improve Learning
A:B1.2 Learn and apply critical-thinking skills

A:C1 Relate School to Life Experiences
A:C1.3 Understand the relationship between learning and work
A:C1.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the value of lifelong learning as essential to seeking, obtaining and maintaining life goals

CA2: Develop Employment Readiness
C:A2.1 Acquire employability skills such as working on a team, problem-solving and organizational skills
C:A2.7 Develop a positive attitude toward work and learning
C:A2.8 Understand the importance of responsibility, dependability, punctuality, integrity and effort in the workplace

C:C1 Acquire Knowledge to Achieve Career Goals
C:C1.2 Explain how work can help to achieve personal success and satisfaction
C:C1.4 Understand that the changing workplace requires lifelong learning and acquiring new skills

C:C2 Apply Skills to Achieve Career Goals
C:C2.2 Learn how to use conflict management skills with peers and adults
C:C2.3 Learn to work cooperatively with others as a team member

PS:A1 Acquire Self-knowledge
PS:A1.6 Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior
PS:A1.8 Understand the need for self-control and how to practice it
PS:A1.11 Identify and discuss changing personal and social roles

PS:A2 Acquire Interpersonal Skills
PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills
PS:A2.7 Know that communication involves speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior

PS:B1 Self-knowledge Application
PS:B1.2 Understand consequences of decisions and choices
PS:B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
PS:B1.6 Know how to apply conflict resolution skills
PA Academic Standards for Career Education and Work
13.3. Career Retention and Advancement
13.3.8.A.  Determine attitudes and work habits that support career retention and advancement.
13.3.8.C.  Explain and demonstrate conflict resolution skills: constructive criticism, group dynamics, managing/leadership, mediation, negotiation, and problem solving.
13.3.8.G.  Identify formal and informal lifelong learning opportunities that support career retention and advancement.
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Develop an understanding of what soft skills are.
  • Identify the difference between hard skills versus soft skills.
  • Understand why soft skills are important to have in the workplace.
  • Identify communication as an important soft skill.
  • Understand verbal and nonverbal types of communication.
  • Identify and analyze good versus bad verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Understand that good communication skills are a necessity for success in life.
Instructional Procedure
5 MinutesHard and Soft Skills
  • Begin lesson by posting objectives on SmartBoard/Screen.
  • Distribute Student Objectives handout, and review objectives with students.
  • Have students flip to the reverse side of the handout. Explain to students that they are going to watch a 2-minute YouTube video that explains the difference between hard skills versus soft skills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FFLFcB9xfQ
  • After the video is complete, review the graphic organizer and fill in where needed.
  • Examples under Hard Skills would be cooking and coding.
  • Examples under Soft Skills would be communication and teamwork.
  • Hard Skills are required for a particular job.
  • Soft Skills are required for all jobs.
  • Review the image at the bottom. Explain how even if you can execute all the required hard skills perfectly, it’s the soft skills that are going to make the difference.
8 MinutesCommunication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Show YouTube video - “Millennials Struggle with ‘Soft Skills’” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnilMf30Fuc
  • Discuss how the uprise of social media and personal devices may have contributed to a decline in face-to-face communication and interpersonal skills in some individuals.
  • Have a mini-discussion on a candidate whose resume is outstanding but can’t communicate well or make appropriate eye contact versus a candidate who doesn’t have as many outstanding hard skills, but shows excellent interpersonal skills. Which candidate would you choose?
10 MinutesVideo and Graphic Organizer (located within LEWP lesson plan)
  • Distribute handout.
  • Show YouTube video - “Soft Skills-Enthusiasm and Attitude” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vk-99seC_I
  • While students watch video, have them fill in graphic organizer.
  • After video, have students turn to the person next to them and compare answers. They should add anything they missed.
  • Discuss as a class.
15 MinutesCommunication Activity
Distribute “Communication Activity” handout (only pages 17-22). A class set would be needed. Students do not need to keep this packet.
  • Highlight main points from page 17 with students.
  • Choose two students to role play - Role Play #1 (part of LEWP Lesson Plan Soft Skills).
  • Discussion Points: Lack of problem-solving; lack of accepting; personal responsibility 
  • Choose two different students to role play - Role Play #2 (on page 22 in Communication Activity).
  • Discussion Points:  Acceptance of personal responsibility; maintained calm/professional demeanor; applied problem-solving skills
2 MinutesTicket-out-the-door (included in LEWP Lesson Plan Soft Skills)
  • Students fill out upon leaving.
Formative Assessment
The ticket-out-the-door will serve as the formative assessment.
Materials Needed
Materials needed include:
GCFLearnFree.org. (2018, February 2). Hard Skills vs Soft Skills. [Video file]
United States Department of Labor. Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success [PDF file]
US Department of Labor. (2012, October 17). Soft Skills--Enthusiasm and Attitude. [Video file]
WLUK-TV FOX 11. (2014, February 4). Millennials Struggle with ‘Soft Skills’. [Video file]

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