How to Teach Soft Skills to Students

If you’re tasked with teaching soft skills to students, you might find it confusing as to where to start or how to go about doing it. The best thing you can do as an educator is learn as much as you can about the subject yourself, so that you can then instruct your students on how they should best learn and practice soft skills in their day-to-day lives. Here are some ways to teach soft skills to students effectively.

What are soft skills?

We know that there are plenty of hard skills necessary for the workforce, like being able to do math or speak a foreign language. But soft skills, sometimes called people skills, are equally important. But what are soft skills? The best way to define them is by explaining how they're different from hard skills. Hard skills are something you can teach and measure, while soft skills are more about how someone acts or thinks. It's difficult to measure whether someone has these traits on paper because it's more about their personality and the way they interact with others than it is about whether they can do a specific task.

teacher teaching young student soft skills

Which soft skills are important to teach?

Soft skills may be the most important skills needed for success in the modern workplace. Employers are constantly on the hunt for people who can collaborate, communicate and lead others. They hire only candidates with a set of relevant technical skills if they find that they also have a complementary set of soft skills, like empathy and emotional intelligence.



Knowing your own emotions and how they affect your behavior and interactions with others is an important part of soft skills for students. What happens when you feel anxious? How does it make you feel or act around other people? If a student knows this, they can know how to regulate their feelings so that they don't disrupt the flow of activities in class.

Active Listening

This skill is often overlooked by both students and teachers alike. If you can't actively listen, then you will have a difficult time understanding the speaker. Listen with your eyes, ears, and heart. Encourage them to continue with the discussion. Give their thoughts a chance to unfold and process it for themselves before giving any feedback or or draw a conclusion about what they are saying.

Reflective Practice

Teaching soft skills is often overlooked by educators who focus on content areas such as math or science. However, reflecting on what makes up good communication can help boost all other subject areas too. For example, if a student learns how to ask questions so he or she understands what the teacher said, the student will be able to apply this skill in every subject area and make connections between concepts easier.

Work Ethic

Work ethic, or the desire and enthusiasm to work hard, is an extremely important skill. We do not teach our students how to do their best in school by just giving them homework. We must also create opportunities for them outside of the classroom. For example, encourage your students to participate in contests. We know that one of the keys for success is finding meaning in what they are doing and feeling. As if they are connected with something bigger than themselves.


Empathy is a powerful skill that allows one person to really understand how another person feels. If you're empathetic, it will allow you to work more closely with your classmates and have an easier time building relationships. You'll also be able to help others better than if you weren't as in tune with their feelings. It's important for students of all ages and at all levels of schooling to learn empathy so they can grow into strong adults who can succeed in the workplace or home life.

Being Realistic

Being realistic is the soft skill of being mindful of reality as opposed to staying in your comfort zone. The student needs to be taught how their beliefs and thoughts about what they can do, which are often based on fantasy, are not a true reflection of what they can do. When teaching students about this soft skill, it’s important that you talk about a lot of real-life examples so they can see how false beliefs can lead them astray and keep them from achieving success

Aside from teaching soft skills, it is important to teach hard skills too. Are you curious about the many different types of tests for hardskills? Check out our blog!

Anouk Baltus

Anouk’s passion for presenting started when she was very young: from voluntarily giving presentations in primary school to winning a speaking award with a self-written and presented speech. This adoration comes to life while working for Sendsteps. A passion for giving and writing speeches turned into writing blogposts about these subjects to help others find their passion in presenting.