Why are critical thinking and problem-solving skills important?

According to a British Council report, one of the main reasons these skills are so important is economic: critical thinking and problem-solving help people make better decisions about their jobs and livelihood. For example, 78 per cent of people living in poverty are in rural areas and are farmers. Being able to think critically about different approaches to water and grassland management may boost productivity and increase income. In some communities, adopting different breeds has grown milk yields by 65 per cent, and better grassland management has doubled the income of herders. 

Critical thinking- the stages

Critical thinking can be divided into seven stages:

1. Understanding the issue clearly without room for error or misunderstanding

2. Understanding the final goals and objectives, or outputs and outcomes of the exercise

3. Gathering as much information and data from multiple sources as possible to be able to make an informed decision

4. Getting multiple points of view on the issue to formulate a complete picture

5. Separating fact from assumption

6. Looking back at historical data to check for any learning which can be useful

7. Draw your most logical conclusion basis the above information

Tip: Discussions and group sessions are great ways to enhance critical thinking as they offer students a chance to think about things they care about and analyse the pros and cons of their thought processes to explain their points of view.

Free resources to help you develop your critical thinking skills: 

  • Improve your own critical thinking skills by doing free Sudoku puzzles. You can pause, print, clear, modify difficulty level and ask, ‘How am I doing?’ in the middle of the puzzle
  • Here is a great blog by Don Watson on the concept of critical thinking
  • For teachers, watch this sample lesson on encouraging critical thinking with the help of the map of the world.
  • Taking an online course is a great way to advance these skills. MOOCs, for example, will expand your professional knowledge and provide global perspectives from other participants who join from around the world. The British Council offers range of MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform, including ‘How to Succeed in a Global Workplace.’
  • Look for courses that focus on maximising opportunities for you to speak or write. A good course will develop your independent learning skills and offer practical learning activities based on real-life situations.

At the British Council, these skills are built into our course design. For example, our online myEnglish courses include communicative group tasks in live online classes – all under the guidance of an internationally-qualified and experienced teacher.

————————————————————————————————————————————-Sign up for our free, live online webinar and learn more about critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can help you advance in your career.

When is the webinar?

Date: Thursday, 17 October 2019
Time: 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm IST

How do I join the webinar?

Sign up for the webinar by clicking here

We will share the joining instructions via email a day before the webinar

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Teachers’ Day messages from some of our students

‘Teachers are the gurus who give you light when you are stuck in darkness.’
My above quote applies to every teacher that guides every student like me.
Beginning with that, I wish a blissful Teachers’ Day to everyone at the British Council!

I joined the Upper-Intermediate Course at the British Council to improve my written and verbal skills in English. The course was amazing and I look forward to many such courses.

The teachers that helped me in my journey were Mrre Mr. Rahim sir and Mrs. Ellora ma’am. They were amazing at their job and guided me very well throughout the course.

Rahim sir inducted me to the course and explained everything in a great manner. The classes I had with him were fun-filled and educational at the same time. He gave us awesome activities to do and assured me that I can reach out to him if ever I need some help. Thank you, sir for your hard work and support!

Coming to Ellora ma’am, she was the second teacher during my course. Only one word comes to my mind when I think about Ellora ma’am, and that is ‘FUN.’ She is the teacher who makes every class a joy to attend. I can remember so many fun things we did when the class was in session. I learned a lot from her and cherished her feedback and her way of speaking English!

There are many more teachers at the British Council I don’t know about, but I know for sure that everyone works hard to fulfil the goals of the students

A happy Teachers’ Day to everyone at the British Council!

Kabir Jain
______________________________________________________________________________
Dear Sheekha,

Just a quick email to convey my special thanks to you for my progress in the myEnglish Course.

I am glad to inform you that the course is going great and I’m enjoying every bit of it. I can’t stress enough how vital this course is for me. I was a little nervous before joining it as I thought it would be difficult to understand and participate. But it’s your able guidance and mentorship because of which today I’m feeling confident about speaking in English.

You always conduct the class in an open, friendly and informative way. Your way of explaining any concept is simply great. You always give apt examples which help us understand any concept better and remember it for a long time. You have given us every possible support in learning this course.
In the end, I’d just like to reiterate that you are an excellent mentor and I’m sure with your guidance, we’ll be able to achieve fluency in our English language skills.

Regards,
Amit Mukund
————————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Avinash sir and Ellora ma’am,

I’d like to thank both of you for your patience and all the important learnings that you gave us during the duration of our course. One thing that I’m taking forward from both of you is how to be a synergist.

I wish to join you again for another course. With lots of love.

Isha Shreya
————————————————————————————————————————————–I want to share my feelings for Rajul.

Two-three months before, I had completed an online English course at the intermediate level, where I interacted with Rajul as my course teacher.

I would like to empasise the knowledge she has of her subject and her command over the language. Every moment I learned a thing or two from her. I always tried to match her language skills and accent. I always look up to her to correct my mistakes. She was always like a friend to the students, and very dedicated, calm and polite.

She always made me excited to attend the classes. I would be lucky if she could be my guide throughout my career.

Thanks Rajul for your immense support and guidance.

Ritu
————————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Teacher,

We’ve been always in a comfortable mode in the live sessions since day one and the reason behind that is you.

Getting your feedback in the forum was as regular as getting the daily paper at my doorstep.

Thanks for sharing your skills and for your patience.

I wish a long tenure for you as you have set the bar to platinum standards.

Thank you

Your student
Arunkumar Sengodan
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Dear Teacher,

Thanks a lot for teaching me so well. I would always be obliged to you for your guidance, and I have decided to become a trainer like you. You are my inspiration.

Happy Teacher’s day to you.

Thank you
Jaya
————————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Teacher,

Thank you for continually inspiring me to do my best. You helped me strive towards my goals. I found guidance, friendship, discipline and love- all in one person. And that person is you. Happy Teachers’ Day!

Yours
Deepak Aheer
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Dear Teacher,

I thank you for all you have taught me. You are the reason for what I am today

HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY
Karthik
————————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Teacher,

Not every teacher carries the dedication and enthusiasm you do. You are a truly an inspiring individual who has taught us so much more than simply what was in the curriculum. You took much extra effort to help me with IELTS preparation. Thank you for everything.

Happy Teachers’ Day. 

Arun
————————————————————————————————————————————-Happy Teachers’ Day Rajul ma’am

You are awesome. Thank you for being my mentor

Vasundhara
————————————————————————————————————————————–To Savites and Rajul,

Thank you for inspiring and igniting my dreams- to be always learning.

Happy Teachers’ Day

Regards,
M. Pradeepa
————————————————————————————————————————————–Getting the proverbial ‘ray of light’ of knowledge was the main motivation for me to join this course. I wanted to improve my speaking, vocabulary and basic grammar skills. Our course facilitator was VM Reshmi.

She made sure all the students participated and interacted during the sessions. Also, she shared the self-study links with all individuals who were facing challenges with certain topics. This was a sign that the facilitator was giving personal attention to every individual.

Mid-week progress reports for each student were prepared very carefully, taking their progress into consideration, which was very helpful along the rest of the modules. Also, the content was very well suited to the syllabus.

Along with what was covered in the syllabus, Reshmi gave special help to us which encouraged us more. This was one of the key reasons that our batch had 95% attendance, and all credit goes to her involvement and feedback process.

With respect to the daily exercises, she provided us assistance if we were stuck anywhere via email.

Reshmi was also very passionate about why English is so important and gave real life examples during sessions which kept us motivated throughout the sessions. She always maintained a friendly environment with everyone so one would not feel hesitant in asking questions, which I think increased the participation of everyone, and all sessions were flowing along cohesively. She also used to remind us of the importance of completing the modules along with attending live sessions. She made sure to double check on the progress of each candidate, which imbibed a sense of responsibility among everyone, and we completed all modules before our last session.

Personally, this was the first ever live online English course for me, and I had a fear how it would go. But Reshmi did a great job in guiding and facilitating the learning for the entire class very smoothly. I would like to take this moment and give a shout out to Reshmi for being the ‘ray of light’ for me and helping me get ahead in my career with confidence by using the tips and tricks she shared. I would never ever miss an opportunity to take another course in future.

Very well driven course!

Thanks,

Ashutosh Mohanty

 

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Our winning Teachers’ Day message!

Dear Miss Reshmi,K. Santhanakrishnan

I am writing to you today to thank you for teaching a great online course.  You made this dry subject and serious knowledge interesting and fun, and I really loved taking your class and learning so much on this course.  I want you to know that you have been my favourite teacher since the course began. You not only taught in a different way to make us interested in learning, but you also understood our problems and helped us find the best ways to solve them.

I will surely miss you and things you taught us.

Thanks and regards

K. Santhanakrishnan

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The Anatomy of a Training Session

Author - Beth Caldwell, Head Blended Learning, English, India

A great training session doesn’t just start on the day of delivery. Planning is equally important and impacts greatly on effectiveness. Just as important is the consideration given to the ‘takeaway’, thinking about what you want to change or happen as a result of the training – what participants will be taking with them to apply in the real world. For example, if you were conducting a training session on the importance of communication skills in business, some of the key takeaways could be: 

  • Understanding the importance of good communication in business
  • Key business communication skills
  • Presentation skills and strategies 
  • Tips for good business writing

Training

Planning

  • Consider what the participants already know. Make sure the session is pitched for their level, needs and interests. You could share a pre-session questionnaire which will help you plan for this.
  • Decide what you want the participants to know beforehand. Share details of the session to build interest. Having clear objectives, pre-session tasks (if you are leveraging a flipped classroom model), a list of equipment needed and a brief biography of the trainer can all help prepare participants and whet their appetite.

Delivery

A good training session has clear stages that go from learning to application. One possible way to label these is Define-Inform-Connect-Resolve.

  • Define the issues, skills or development areas being covered.
  • Inform participants by introducing strategies, techniques, theories or models that can be applied to the above areas.
  • Connect participants to the strategies through practical activities such as role plays and discussions.
  • Resolve the learning through considering future and alternative applications of the strategies.

Takeaway

Training is a success when the participants can immediately go out and apply what they have learned.

  • Ensure you provide opportunities to participants to reflect on what they have learned as it applies to their own contexts. Make sure they always have something practical to ‘take away’ and apply.
  • Always ask for feedback after the training. It’s a great way to gauge how well participants processed the information and to find out what they enjoyed and what they didn’t. Use this when you are planning next time to create an even better training experience!

Sign up for our webinar on the ‘Anatomy of an effective training session’ by clicking here.

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Future-proof your ambition: 21st Century Skills for Workplace Success

Author – Beth Caldwell, Head Blended Learning, English, India

It’s a common situation: you want to shine brighter in interviews or at work. You wonder how best to get the job or promotion you want. You want that ‘X-factor’ that makes you stand out. The solution could be simple: focus on adding 21st century skills to your skill set.

Business communication skills

According to a LinkedIn survey, 57% of senior leaders say soft skills in business communication are more important than hard skills. Other than job-specific knowledge, the key skills needed in order to participate in a global economy and succeed in a rapidly changing work environment are known as 21st century skills. They include:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving   
  • Communication and collaboration   
  • Creativity   
  • Global and cultural awareness   
  • Digital skills
  • Leadership and personal development   

Here are some things you can do to develop these skills:

  • Be well-informed about your profession through Internet-based research for personal development and to flex your digital skills.
  • Analyse ideas and concepts you read about: Think about the pros and cons of applying them in your own situation and develop your problem-solving abilities and creativity.
  • Discuss ideas with colleagues or others in your industry, face-to-face or in the virtual world, to develop your collaboration and communication skills.
  • Network with people in other states or countries for fresh perspectives and to build your cultural awareness.
  • Build your communication skills by commenting on articles, taking part in online forums and making the most of video conferencing.

Taking an online course is a great way to advance your 21st century capabilities. They can help you develop self-motivation, time management, digital research and communication skills. MOOCs, for example, will expand your professional knowledge and provide global perspectives from other participants who join from around the world. The British Council offers range of MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform, including How to Succeed in a Global Workplace’.

If you want to develop your communication skills in English, look for courses that focus on maximising opportunities for you to speak or write. A good course will develop your independent learning skills and offer practical learning activities based on real-life situations. At the British Council these skills are built into our course design. For example, our online myEnglish courses include communicative group tasks in live online classes – all under the guidance of an internationally-qualified and experienced teacher.

Whether independently or via a course, you will benefit from identifying and developing your 21st century skill set. With these skills in hand you can future-proof your career aspirations, stand out to employers and gain the advantage in the 21st Century workplace.

Join our free live online webinar and learn all about using online learning skills to get ahead in the global workplace.

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Digital invasion and safety

Author: Pushpa Gopal

I love technology. Have always been in awe of its capabilities. 25 years back, when I took on as instructional leader for Informatics Computer Systems, I felt blessed and empowered to initiate an ICT curriculum in schools. We started with LOGO, BASIC and COBOL and got the kids excited with the capabilities of a machine. I was as excited as the kids.

25 years and how much we have tread.

Technology and our lives are interwoven today. It has invaded our lives. Most of our communications are emails, texts, tweets, posts, and forwards. We don’t leave our mobile phones even while sleeping. What is this doing to our relationships, our society and our thought processes? We are slowly realising that this digital invasion might cost us some sleepless nights even as we are slowly becoming aware of the dangers lurking around the corners of this massive digital empire. Privacy issues, data security, extortion, sextortion, hacking, cyber dares are some of the immediate dangers.

Today, as I sit here in the airport observing people and kids around me, I am left with a sense of apprehension and worry. Has technology invaded our lives? Have we lost the real life connect?

Some ways we could manage this invasion is by

-       rationing tech time with children.

-       allotting an hour every day for “no-phone” time.

-       taking out time for tech detox.

The waiting rooms, airport lounges, railway stations and auditoriums are my favourite places where I get to sit quietly and observe people around me.

As I wait at the airport, I notice this young child mesmerised by the iPad in front of him. His parents seem lost in their own phones. This is a common sight. Isn’t it? What is it, in this gadget that can retain the attention of this young child and the adult alike for hours on end?

I continue observing the child. As he clicks on one video, a list appears on the right panel suggesting more. Innocently, the child clicks on the next and the next. Oblivious to the fact of the dangers lurking in that small screen. The parents are oblivious too, as they seem peaceful. I can almost read their thoughts – My child is engaged. My child is busy. My child is safe. He is right in front of my eyes.

The repercussions and the impact on this young mind could be serious. What if he lands on a wrong page? What if he is drawn towards inappropriate content?

Setting parental controls could be one way of managing this. Developing some monitoring mechanisms to keep an eye on children’s browsing behaviours could also help. Most important having a conversation with children about ‘screen-time’ and issues around randomly accessing information is of prime importance. It is about awareness, staying alert and taking a timely action.

I turn away and am caught by a bunch of teenagers lost in their phones. They don’t seem to want to interact with each other. They prefer their screens. I can see them laugh, smirk and grimace all at themselves or at least it seems so. Suddenly one boy positions his camera, readies himself and pounces on his friend. The friend drops down. This boy holds him down, looks at his camera and voices some words. And dramatically clicks a button and announces ‘I dare it. I win the challenge. What’s next?’ A fist fight ensues as the boys recover from the shock. I am not so much bothered about this physical fight. My thoughts are on the boy’s act.

Isn’t this a dare? Someone out there is waiting for this video and preparing the next level of challenge for this boy. And I cannot but relive the blue whale challenge and the many innocent young lives it snuffed out. Some are reported. Some are not.

Aren’t these kids in danger?

It is important to bring awareness in children about the latest cybercrimes and problematic cyber trends. A good practice to have discussion with them to understand what their digital interests and activities are can be useful. Professional counselling also helps to detox and provide alternative avenues to keep them engaged and fulfilled.

Technology has opened huge possibilities, no doubt.  The machine can do all that we have been doing in the past. Earlier, we believed that machines are incapable of one human capability – thinking. But Artificial Intelligence has proved beyond any doubt that it is capable of everything that comes out of human thinking. Predictive analysis and Internet of Things have left little for the common people. Are we ready for the pace at which this technology ‘progress’ is taking place?

The digital natives will learn fast. They are growing with the gadgets. Their foundational milestones are marked in the net space. They will learn to cope and survive.

But what about people who are caught in the transition generation?

This digital invasion has impacted our lives from all sides. We are leaving our digital footprint all around us. Everyday, whether we want to or not, most of us contribute to a growing portrait of who we are online- a portrait that is probably more public than most of us assume. It is essentially for this reason that we become aware of what kind of trail are we leaving and what are the possible effects of this on our lives.

Have we not become vulnerable to the unknown threats lurking in the corridors of the digital empire? How do we gather ourselves, sit up and face this challenge?

Technology is not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, it is galloping ahead much faster than anyone can expect. How do we protect ourselves and our family from these threats?

Digital citizenship is the key. Becoming aware of and teaching good digital citizenship skills to children helps them connect their everyday actions with their choices in a digital society. It’s important to understand unethical behavior and its impact for all of us.

Staying smart and alert is a skill. Critical thinking and decision making is also important in the digital world, as decisions are made at every point. Its about making the right choices- clicking the right button, keying the right words and opting to read the right text and choosing to ignore/delete the unwanted text.

Some general tips to be safe are:

  • start with creating complex passwords than mindlessly use our DOB.
  • develop and boost network safety and invest on safety software.
  • always use a firewall to block unauthorised access. Consciously stay away from careless clicking and entering unknown sites and web spaces. These can be as dark as an unsafe alley.
  • share only validated information.
  • be well informed and keep ourselves updated on the latest scams. Prevention is always better than cure.

With great power comes great responsibility.

FB - 10 June onwards

 

 

 

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Collaboration in the classroom: a learner’s road to success

Blog banner_Collaboration in the Classroom

Author: Ashlesha Rodrigues Dsouza

‘I speak, you listen!  I order, you obey!’ Teaching has come a long way from this doctrine, and teaching styles have changed immensely. All for good reason. We speak now of collaboration and interactive learning. We speak of 21st century skills and preparing learners for the future—building social skills, developing effective communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. It is all very exciting, but what does this really mean for our students in the Indian context? How do we hone these skills in our language classrooms?

A good start is ‘Collaboration’. Empowering our learners with the skills essential to work together. In the words of Henry Ford above ‘If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.’

Collaboration involves deciding goals together with others, sharing responsibilities, and working together to achieve more than could be achieved by an individual on their own. (Barfield, 2016)

Where do we start?

There are a variety of strategies to introduce collaborative learning experiences in the classroom. The simplest of these being whole-class discussions, group work and pair work. Students work together, share different perspectives, and listen to the thoughts and opinions of their peers. All of these processes ‘discussion, clarification, and evaluation of other’s ideas’ facilitate learning.

Project-based learning is another interesting way to engage students in collaborative learning. Besides being a welcome break from the usual classroom routine, project work also promotes autonomous learning. It provides students’ with the opportunity to think out of the box and devise solutions to real-world problems.

With the dawn of the digital age, several apps and websites have surfaced to help students collaborate on digital platforms inside and outside the classroom. Padlet is great for collaborative brainstorming; Edmodo is a good learning management platform where students can continue classroom discussions, download handouts, and submit assignments. Google Drive lets you edit and share documents and spreadsheets online and is a useful tool for student collaboration.

Easier said than done!

Although collaboration is effective for student learning, we cannot simply put students into groups and pairs and expect them to work productively.  Students will only be able to work together if they have learned how to do so. They also need the relevant oracy skills to express themselves during the activity. (Littleton and Mercer, 2013)

More often than not, stronger learners take the lead during collaborative tasks and steer the discussion as they deem fit. Weaker learners may shy away from sharing or simply nod in agreement, defeating the purpose of a collaborative activity.

How do we work our way around these challenges? It all boils down to effective set up.

Get it right

Setting up the task appropriately is key to the success of collaborative work.

  1. Discuss objectives: We need to tell students why they are being asked to work together and convince them of the value and benefits of collaborative work for learning.
  2. Set ground rules: Get the students to put together a set of rules that they need to follow during collaborative activities, e.g. Everyone must share, listening is key, respect everyone’s opinions, agree/disagree politely.
  3. Establish goals: State a clear aim for each collaborative task and let students know what they need to achieve together within a given time frame.
  4. Create moderately sized groups: A group of 4-5 students is ideal for active participation.
  5. Introduce talking points: Give students specific points for discussion and encourage exploratory talk around these points.
  6. Monitor carefully: Monitoring is key to ensure students are on-task and engaged. It is essential to check that there is a positive learning environment.

Moreover, we as teachers must model what we expect in a collaborative classroom—listening patiently, paraphrasing appropriately, questioning politely, and artfully negotiating. The way we talk to our students has a strong influence on their attitude and conduct during group work.

Encourage exploratory talk in class where students critically but constructively discuss ideas. Value diversity, build trust, promote open communication, and watch these trickle down to your students during collaborative tasks. More importantly, praise and appreciate students’ efforts at every step of the way to bolster this positive learning environment.

Don’t take our word for it

Lev Vygotsky (1978) stated that cognitive development stems from social interactions within the zone of proximal development (See figure below). In simple terms, two heads are better than one! According to Vygotsky, the Zone of Proximal Development is the area where the most sensitive instruction or guidance should be given. This will allow the child to develop higher order thinking skills that they can then use on their own. Interaction with peers is said to be an effective way of developing skills and strategies, and Vygotsky recommends that teachers use cooperative learning exercises in order that less competent children develop with help from more skilful peers.

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Figure: Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

There is a marked difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner. Students are said to learn better through guided learning as they co-construct knowledge with their peers in pairs or groups.

Why not try it out and see the difference in your classroom? Empower your students to collaborate and simultaneously hone their life skills—critical thinking, questioning, negotiating, problem-solving, compromising, and decision making. Get them up and ready to face the world!

Useful links:

Core skills – how they apply to real life and why they are essential for students.

https://connecting-classrooms.britishcouncil.org/develop-skills/online-courses/introduction-core-skills

Exploring Creativity and Imagination in the classroom – learning app

www.britishcouncil.in/teach/resources-for-teachers/exploring-creativity-imagination-game

Grouping techniques

www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/grouping-students

www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/group-work-v-whole-class-activities

Project-based learning techniques

www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/tbl-pbl-two-learner-centred-approaches

Bibliography:

Barfield, Andy (2016) Collaboration, ELT Journal, 70 (2), 222–224

Littleton, Karen and Mercer, Neil (2013). Interthinking: Putting Talk to Work. London: Routledge.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Future News Worldwide 2019

hanna-paul

As Future News Worldwide conference kicks off in London today, let’s hear it from Hanna Paul, student at City University as part of the Erasmus Mundus Journalism Programme and one of the three delegates from India participating in the mega event, what she looks forward to at the conference this year.  

Some people tell me that they enjoy seeing the world through my words and eyes when in fact, I enjoy writing about other people and the world around us. This is one among the many reasons why I fell in love with journalism. It provides an opportunity to be at two spots at once. The invigilator and the spectator. The world of journalism has changed immensely today as, unlike the days of Doordarshan and All India Radio, anybody connected to the internet can communicate to a crowd or even virtually to a large audience thanks to social media. But how do you stand out from the clutter? 

The Future News Worldwide conference, organised by the British Council, Thomson Reuters, Facebook and Google News Initiative is the perfect platform for answering such questions as it brings together top quality journalism and the people behind the scenes of these social media platforms, together. Using social media effectively and finding the line between use and misuse of these platforms are issues both journalists and everyday users face. This is also what I look forward to the most at the conference this year, along with the excellent line up of speakers. The myriad of perspectives the conference offers, with over a hundred students participating from all over the world, is another highlight. The differences in culture, thought process, and ideas are definitely going to make it a unique experience!

Join the Facebook LIVE with journalist Sreenivasan Jain of NDTV who will be giving his take on ‘Speaking truth to power: how journalism can rebuild trust by investigating and exposing official falsehoods.’

future news fb live

 

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Future proof your business

In a Human Capital study conducted by Deloitte in 2016, 90% respondents rated soft skills as a “critical priority”. In this study, organisations indicated that communication and soft skills can enhance employee retention, improve leadership and build positive organisational culture. And yet again, LinkedIn’s annual learning report shows that 57% of senior leaders state that soft skills are more important that hard skills and they never go out of fashion.

Yet another L&D study, conducted in 2019, reveals that organisations with highly engaged employees are over twice as likely to prioritise soft skills training. Soft skills, including communication skills, are top priority for the majority of organisations in 2019.

After globalisation, which has resulted in the increasing importance of communication skills and intercultural fluency, the next big wave to have an impact on jobs is automation. As industry gets more and more automated, the jobs of the future will increasingly be those which rely on soft skills and the human touch. There is a growing emphasis on customer service, and impactful and professional communication skills will be in even greater demand in the new age of AI. More and more, jobs require greater creativity, collaboration and relationship building.

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Essentially, the only common denominator in L&D studies conducted over 1990s, 2000s and 2010s was soft skills. This is of no surprise to us at the British Council. We work with many organisations in India and around the world and have seen how our soft skills and communication skills training programmes make a difference to business performance. Productivity, collaboration, intercultural fluency, networking, creativity, customer satisfaction and communicative effectiveness are just some of the areas our training programmes cover. It also has a positive washback on the outcomes of other training programmes, which have English as the medium of instruction.

It is important for organisations and L&D professionals to consider these factors while designing their training programmes. Communication and soft skills training can future proof your employees and in turn help you set your organisation apart.

Author: Shivangi Gupta, Assistant Director, English India

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5 Tips to Become a Better Speaker at Work

Author – Neenaz Ichaporia (Academic Manager, Blended Learning)

How can you become a better, more confident speaker at work? Read the tips below for a range of useful ideas on how to do this. You’ll learn about websites, links and other resources that you can use. You’ll also learn how the British Council’s online language improvement course, myEnglish Workplace, makes you a better, more confident speaker.

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B2B Blog May 2019

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