Enriching Education

The Dark Side of the Training Moon, Dr. Maya Schuldiner



Video from TEDxWeizmannInstitute

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

Nowadays to be an expert in your field, no matter what that field is, demands years and years of studies, training and gaining experience. Schools and academic institutions are usually quite good at training in the “hard skills” – or professional skills required for a specific job. But what are lacking from most formal curriculums are the complementary skills – the “soft skills”.

Soft skills are a person's behavioral competencies (“people skills”) and include communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, team building and more. It was once thought that soft skills are something a person is born with and, so, if you didn't have them – there was no point in teaching it to you. But after years of research we now know that a simple set of well worked out rules can help anyone improve their soft skill abilities. Soft skills have been shown time and again to be an essential aspect of success in any field. Despite their obvious importance they are nearly never taught as part of the formal curriculum of academic training. This omission leaves people spending many frustrating years trying to pick up these tools alone and many, otherwise great students, to fail during the course of their studies or when attempting to start an independent career.

Dr. Maya Schuldiner is a mother (of three boys), wife, daughter, free spirit and scientist. In a world where often all of these roles are considered to interfere with each other, she is on a quest to balance all facets of her life. Since starting an independent research group six years ago at the Weizmann Institute of Science, she has found that the culture of science does not always maximize the ability of young scientists to be creative, flourish and be successful. Maya is trying to find ways to mentor and teach the “soft” skills required to succeed in the world of science and stay sane.

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