GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Building Essential Life Skills Using Positive Education Framework: Research and Evidence from student population in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Paper Proposal Text :
Though labelled differently (virtues, life skills, soft skills, social and emotional skills, learning mindsets, developmental assets, non-cognitive factors, employability skills) building character strengths and strengths have long been considered essential for social, personal, and vocational success.
Character matters. Character strengths are the single-most important determinants of achieving success in life and work outcomes, such as academic performance, productivity at work and even in aspects such as being able to find a job. Good character strengths are what people look for in students, work colleagues, leaders, and siblings.
In longitudinal studies, aspects such as grit and self-control have been shown to predict objective measures of success. Self-control is arguably the strongest predictor of academic performance, from kindergarten through college (Duckworth & Allred, 2012) as compared to any other aspect of character, temperament, IQ, or personality. For instance, self-control measured using a multi-method battery in the fall predicts report card grades at the end of the academic year better than IQ (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005).
Grit is more predictive of outcomes in very challenging contexts in which complete dropout, or substantial withdrawal of effort, are common. For instance, grit predicts retention at West Point better than does either self-control or SAT scores (Duckworth, et al., 2007). Likewise, grit predicts on-time graduation from Public Schools better than does self-control (Eskreis-Winkler, Duckworth, Shulman, & Beale).
Finally, The Talent Enterprise’s research focusing on strengths and engagement established that approx. ~30% of the variance in the level of engagement, motivation and commitment can be explained by factors such as grit, self-efficacy, optimism, a strong sense of purpose and internal motivation (Jones, Punshi & Gupta, 2014).

The Talent Enterprise has developed a Skills for Life™ program. This is an extremely unique and compelling strengths-based, behavioural change program to foster employability skills and build foundational life skills amongst the youth, available in English and Arabic. Building the right attitudes, behaviours and mindset amongst the youth is absolutely crucial. Through the course of the program, participants complete various self-reflection exercises, quizzes, videos etc. that promote engagement and productivity. The program is available 100% online (e-learning), as well as through instructor-led (Blended learning).
The core modules for the program include:
1. Grit & Resilience: Helping student’s build passion and persistence to fulfill their goals
2. Mindset: Supporting students by inculcating a belief of development and a growth mindset
3. Locus of Control, Self-esteem and Self Efficacy: Ensuring student’s take responsibility for what happens to them by developing a positive approach to learning and personal development
4. Taking Accountability: Helping students take responsibility for the outcomes of their choices and changing thoughts, actions and behavior when dealing with negative situations.
5. Affiliation: Strategies to build good relationships with other people and developing social intelligence

This paper will discuss a real life intervention that The Talent Enterprise undertook with a group of 30 students in grade 11 and 12 at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. These students were asked to take the Employee Thriving Index (ETITM) assessment measuring their strengths such as resilience, grit, mindset etc. After which, they were asked to volunteer for the Skills for LifeTM blended learning program comprising 5 modules spanning across 6 weeks.
Each module in this program covers a distinct concept, such as grit, locus of control, or self-efficacy and is complemented by several workbook exercises. Further, participants join in discussion forums where they respond to questions, interact with other participants and discuss certain topics. Active participation is encouraged to increase learning and self-awareness.
After completing this program successfully, The Talent Enterprise will again ask these students to complete the ETITM assessment, in order to do a direct comparison between the pre and post samples. This comparison would enable a clear measurement of the impact of this life skills program.
Key words: Youth, life skills, strengths, character, grit, resilience, mindset, locus of control, self-efficacy, self-esteem, accountability, affiliation, employability, Ras al Khaimah, UAE, GCC