soft skills

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms

With the update of the CEFR bringing new referential areas like mediation and the rise of a new emerging concept of what it is to be part of a team or what it is to get your ideas across, the four c’s have become important skills for the coming years.


 the four C’s

The four C’s – collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, often referred to in Education as Soft skills have been identified by the world economic forum as relevant skills in the 21st century where working scenarios might take the shape of international teams of people having English as a common language.

The first two are transversal skills present across all of this as when we are managing people engaging in emotional intelligence, or when we are problem solving, which is today’s proposal for our speaking task for advanced students. The activity is based on «Urban solutions» from our course textbook Outcomes. I have added a slight extension into the concept of mediation and chosen to give an emotional intelligence focus to the activity as well.



In pairs students are handed out these role cards from Outcomes communicative activities, then asked to imagine they are the person on the card and tell their problem to their classmate. Once everybody has described their problem situation to their partner, this new dimension to the activity gets added by asking the students to synthesise and repackage their partner’s problem situation for the rest of the participants. Students may have to adjust the language when transferring the information gathered to the group and take presentation format into account.



The objective is to resolve collectively a delicate situation related to urban problems. And while doing so I would like to shine a light on the mindful attitude of showing empathy to the speaker by simply active listening to them.

A very simple practice can be to remain quiet for a few seconds before the next person begins to talk … and breathe… allowing some time to let the problem settle down before we are prepared to hear the next problem.  Being open to the problems on display might support more respectful interactions.

When all problems have been discussed ask one volunteer student to summarise the solutions they came up with, and discuss whether the solutions met their demands.

Here is this functional language toolkit that students might find useful for discussions plus this chart where the solutions can be registered.



My most sincere appreciation to Mr Tim Goodier for his Mediation webinar organised by OUP.


La vida, sin prisa


Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search