Category: Skills

Three takeaways from the Third International Strategy of Impact Conference

“With today’s mounting pressures on research funding… research practitioners in HE, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge”

Research has a long tail. The vaccine for Polio — the devastating viral epidemic linked to thousands of cases of paralysation and death in the first half of the 20th century — was launched in 1955.

The impact is still being felt today (and forevermore): according to the World Health Organisation, more than 18 million people walk today who would have been paralysed without the vaccine. Yet, the initial exploratory research project that looked at the poliovirus started and finished decades ago.

It’s precisely this recognition of the long-tail effects of research that is driving an emerging conversation around the assessment of research activity both in the UK and globally.

With today’s mounting pressures on research funding, especially following the global credit crunch, research practitioners in higher education, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge: how can they continue to expand the borders of intellectual discovery, while investing in research activities that lead to impact and achieve the desired mission?

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Do you speak English? It’s complicated.

“Identifying the gaps in language proficiency for each individual is only the beginning”

Kate Bell is co-author of the EF English Proficiency Index. In this blog, Bell examines how subtleties in employee proficiency affect the types and depth of language training that employers must provide.

From the outside, foreign language proficiency looks simple—either you speak a language or you don’t—but anyone who grew up receiving calls from grandparents abroad or who has worked for a few years in a foreign country knows that most people’s linguistic terrain is more of a swamp than a soccer field.

This is because our language skills develop over the course of decades as a result of inclination, exposure, education, and practice.

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How emotional intelligence improves cross-cultural classroom communication

“Emotional Intelligence covers five major areas and serves as a gateway to educational and career success”

Educators need keen emotional intelligence (EI) to manage the ups and downs of classroom life. Their ability to control and respond positively to their feelings enables them to act as role models for their students. This principle remains true even when cultural constructs throw up communication roadblocks.

International educators face barriers of both verbal and non-verbal language with their students. Exercising EI lets them check their immediate responses to external stimuli. It allows them to step back and consider the learner’s perspective and prevents them from making snap judgments.

This awareness gives them the requisite mental pause to reflect on the cultural influences on behaviour.

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Your ABCs are still the building blocks of a STEM powered future

“We must recognise the power of STEM learning and its potential to equip our children with the skills they will undoubtedly need in the future”

STEM is a real buzz word in the education sector at the moment and it seems to be its answer to everything.

Many educators and policymakers increasingly argue that more and more areas of education should focus on STEM, to future-proof our kids for a world that seems to be ever more technology-driven.

But what does STEM actually mean, and is it really the answer to everything?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are the top-line subjects that make up the acronym, but a wide range of specific academic disciplines such as Chemistry, Astronomy, Statistics, Biology, Electrical Engineering and Psychology all fall under STEM.

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International universities adopts GLOCAL mantra

“The world is rapidly transforming, and with it, our education systems need to evolve to”

In the past, it was accepted that an education system which revolved around competitive exams would prepare students for the job market. Accumulating knowledge was the driving force behind success, but now after digital disruption, (where information is available at your fingertips), this is not the case anymore. The world is rapidly transforming, and with it, our education systems need to evolve to.

Jobs today are fluid, requiring an array of skills ranging from critical thinking, communication and domain knowledge. Further, with the advent of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and other technological advancements, nobody knows what the careers of the future will look like, what activities will be uniquely human and how organizations will find a balance between automation and human delivered output.

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Generation Greta: education & the global climate crisis

“A student could do 10,000 hours of contact time in the classroom, and only hear about environmental issues or discuss the effects of climate change in ten of them”

Barnaby Sandow, Head of School at ACS International School Cobham, asks how we can re-focus our approach to education to realistically frame the growing global climate crisis.

Environmental education is not consistent in the UK. Whilst it encompasses multiple topics and skills, environmental education has no defined syllabus or structure, which means in practice, it’s a subject matter that ‘falls through the gaps’.

It’s entirely possible that a student could do 10,000 hours of contact time in the classroom, and only hear about environmental issues or discuss the effects of climate change in ten of them. As each #FridaysForFuture protest passes, it’s starkly obvious that we need an education ready to support ‘Generation Greta’.

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Upskilling and technology tools to help educators

“Upskilling isn’t just about staying relevant, studies show that it can also boost motivation and self-confidence”

A report by the World Economic Forum on “The Future Of Jobs” says that by 2020, more than a third of the desired skillsets for most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.

As technology continues to evolve, so do many sectors of the global economy. And with this reality, comes a growing trend for the need to “upskill” in the workforce.

Simply put, upskilling is defined as the process of learning or teaching new skills, and in today’s digitalised world, it is becoming a necessity to stay relevant. Whether its a vocational worker employed by a manufacturing facility or a financial analyst who relies on software to run numbers for their clients, every job will require some form of new learning in the future.

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Can an American liberal arts approach improve the British higher education system?

“In the best of circumstances, an American liberal arts education… focuses on how to ask the right questions”

As an American, I’ve been immersed in the liberal arts all my life, so I’m always surprised when I’m asked by colleagues in the UK about its benefits, and how it could improve British higher education.

The breadth of a US liberal arts education is truly remarkable. Generally a four-year programme for undergraduates, it encompasses studies in the humanities, arts and sciences and increasingly stresses the informing interaction of the disciplines to prepare students for ever-changing life and work.

The UK understanding of liberal arts is arguably restricted to the humanities and does not include the sciences, thus limiting the flexibility of thought that comes from mixing academic disciplines often thought mutually exclusive.

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Which are the easiest and hardest languages to master?

“The average learner would take four times as long to learn Mandarin as they would to learn Spanish”

For most people, mastering another language is no easy feat. However, it is broadly accepted that some languages are easier to learn than others.

It’s a topic that is discussed often and in depth within the translation services industry, as well as by everyone from military personnel to expats. As such, let’s take a look at contenders for the easiest language to master… and the hardest!
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Why the Duke of Edinburgh Award is important for international students

“The DofE has progressed to become more than an outdoors leadership challenge… it now reflects a much more diverse and interconnected world”

In today’s highly competitive world, young people are under enormous pressure to succeed. However, success is rarely achieved without a helping hand or a positive, life-changing experience, writes Clare Lane, head of sport at Bellerbys College.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was set up in 1956 to help young people from all walks of life navigate the challenging path to adulthood; broadening their life skills and preparing them for their future work or studies.

While individual institutions around the world may offer similar programmes, as far as I’m aware there isn’t a program on a national level comparable to the DofE Award. Agents may not be aware of the benefits the program presents tor international students in particular, which is why we should be talking about it today.

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