Six Soft Skills of Successful Students
In a quick demonstration, the red fingers and black palm of Dawson’s prosthetic hand mechanically clasp a blue cup, his hand underneath as a safety net, as he takes a drink. Following a long swig, the 12-year-old switches hands, smiles and waves using his new, 3D-printed hand – built by Kumon completer Kiran Shay.
As an 11-year-old, Kiran had already finished the math and reading program, which he began when he was 4 years old.
While he excelled in his academics, it wasn’t his reading or math skills that led to his building the device, although they helped. It was the soft skills like problem-solving, time management, independence, organization and more that helped guide him along the way.
“It felt very satisfying,” he says of completing the project. “When I first saw a 3D printer, I thought, ‘This thing is amazing.’ It’s kind of cool how you type in stuff that looks like gibberish and it prints something that you can actually feel and hold.”
But that wasn’t all. Kiran also pulled from his skills in time management, self-discipline, setting goals and problem-solving to tackle the project – all skills that are encouraged through Kumon’s process.
“When I was little, Kumon taught me work ethic,” he says. “If you work hard for something you’re going to get better things.”
Kumon Instructors who are teaching soft skills can benefit students later in life. Soft skills that Kumon helps to develop include:
1 – Time Management:
Throughout the course of their study, Kumon Students are encouraged to complete their daily assignments in a timely manner, teaching them how to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks without an adult standing over their shoulder the entire time.
2 – Independent Learning:
Kumon’s method of instruction encourages active learning. This method is part of what sets Kumon apart. Instructors don’t look over the shoulders of students and allow them the space to learn on their own with guided assistance only after they have tried working through their problems first.
3 – Setting Goals:
Kumon’s individualized learning program encourages students to set goals and work toward achieving them. This skill can help students achieve success in all aspects of life.
4 – Discipline:
Kumon’s daily practice routine helps students develop discipline and perseverance. Whether it’s math or reading, each subject requires about 30 minutes of practice each day. Setting aside that time can become a positive habit that will allow confidence and independence to flourish.
5 – Problem-solving:
The Kumon Method emphasizes problem-solving skills where students are challenged to work through increasingly complex problems. The method develops critical thinking skills as the students progress independently through a carefully crafted math and reading curriculum. Individualized lessons are planned by the Instructor, and the worksheets provide examples of the problems to be solved. Students are challenged to follow examples and solve the problem on their own. They can request an Instructor’s assistance only after they have tried on their own.
6 – Confidence:
Kumon’s system fosters a sense of confidence in students and encourages their abilities as they work through the program and see their progress. Achieving a goal, no matter how large or small, provides children with a sense of accomplishment. As they continue to meet their milestones throughout the program, students develop a greater belief in their own abilities. Praise, rewards and Kumon’s curriculum can help a student reach their maximum potential.
“Completing Kumon Math and Reading gave me the confidence to tackle any subject in school,” he says.
By the third grade, Kiran was tutoring high school sophomores in algebra.
“It’s one thing to know something but it’s another thing to teach it,” he says. “When you teach something, you’re going to have to have a deeper understanding of the topic. It’s really cool because you see someone struggling, but after you help them, you see them really happy, and it just makes you feel nice inside.”
The soft skills that Kumon Students develop can have a rippling impact in a student’s life, helping them succeed in school, work and beyond.
“I think you can always learn something more,” Kiran says. “You can always become smarter than you were the day before.”