Communication: the key to getting ahead in today's world

Last week, TYO attended an event at Brookings entitled: Ready to be counted? Incorporating noncognitive skills into education policy. Several great speakers and policy makers spoke about the value of non cognitive skills and how they should best be incorporated into the formal education system. Although the speakers had various opinions about how bed to successfully incorporate non cognitive-based learning in the classroom, everyone agreed: non cognitive skills are critical for healthy life development. Sometimes, extracurricular or after school programming is left filling the gaps. Non cognitive skills, as defined by Brookings, can otherwise be "referred to as social-emotional skills, soft skills, or even character." A recent survey from the Pew Research Center asked a sample of adults to select from a list of 10 skills (including reading, science, math, logic, communication, etc.), and determine which "are most important for children to get ahead in the world today.” Most respondents cited that communication skills were the most important. At TYO, we most definitely agree that soft skills - like communications, teamwork or collaboration - are just as important as hard skills (like math and science).

In Palestine, schools put little-to-no emphasis on learning soft skills. Youth in Palestine may graduate from university and never be presented with an opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively with their peers - especially with those of the opposite sex. They graduate without ever having worked on projects as a team and are denied opportunities to build their leadership skills.

At TYO, we create a learning environment that is designed to promote these social-emotional skills like determination, collaboration, communication, self-efficacy, leadership and perseverance. TYO's Youth Service Learning program gives university students and graduates the opportunity to volunteer and experience on-the-job training and increase critical employability skills that aren't taught in Palestine's classrooms. Similarly, TYO's Core Child Program teaches non cognitive skills through play for children ages 4-8 years old, and children ages 9-15 work to build life skills through the International Internship Program.

Mustafa, Ahlam, Salam, Ibrahim, Shaima, and Shahd work on a team building activity during sports class

By promoting these skills among university students and graduates through YSL, we aim to fill the gaps where the formal education system has failed. But through the Core Child Program and the Internship Program, we're ensuring that children and adolescents in Palestine are getting the best possible start towards living happy, successful lives.