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The Too Hard Basket: Communication, graduate competence, employer expectations, and teaching the 'innate'


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The ‘Too Hard Basket’ - Communication, graduate competence, employer expectations, and teaching the 'innate'

“How to get personal attributes out of the too hard basket and incorporate them in a systematic way, into teaching, assessing and reporting, will provide a challenge to educationalists that will question the core of what they are doing.”​ (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2002)
Studies have shown that when recruiting, employers place high value on soft, generic and communication skills, and require more than just technical skills from graduates.
Employment discourse often considers 'communication' to incorporate soft skills and personal attributes, beyond written and oral communication. Employment adverts and research articles on employability of graduates seem to use the terms soft skills, communication skills and generic skills somewhat interchangeably, and frequently define these terms in a different way. For instance, in their description of soft skills, Mitchell, Skinner and White (2010) include time management, team work, communication, ethics and an appreciation of diversity; whereas Andrews and Higson’s (2008) descriptions of soft or transferable skills identify self-management, self-confidence and communication skills, both written and oral.
According to Jackson (2010) the responsibility for teaching soft and transferable skills is becoming increasingly seen as the role of tertiary institutes, as is the blame for producing graduates who are not ‘work ready’,
HEIs worldwide, however, are accused of producing graduates deficient in the "soft" skills deemed essential for enhanced productivity and innovation in the workplace . . . blame is consistently directed at the design, content and structure of undergraduate programmes.
Thus, it is up to higher education institutes, and programmes within these institutes, to decide to accept this challenge or not.
This workshop will consider the role of the communication classroom in teaching competencies and attributes, asking questions often relegated to the ‘too hard basket’: Where and how do the attributes of motivation, self-management and initiative fit into Communication course design?

Item Type: Item presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication, soft skills, transferable skills, employability
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Elna Fourie
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 21:57
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:27

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