Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This section of the Softis-Ped portal provides administrative information for the project contractual partners and for the European Commission and it is password protected.

Training of Lecturers

Homepage > Training > Training of Lecturers

This training package is addressed to lecturers and trainers in the field of paediatrics on how to assist paediatric undergraduate and resident students in developing and consolidating their soft skills for improving the quality of paediatric services.

Communicating with Peers

Table of Content

4.4 Teaching Soft Skills – Strategies and Methods
Soft skills are behaviors that must be internalized as a natural aspect of a person’s repertoire of social skills and character attributes. It requires having opportunities to experience and practice each new skill. Here we describe several methods to work on them.
  • Simulation: authenticity is both the greatest challenge and the most critical aspect of teaching soft skills. Simulation is able to mimic a business-like purposefulness, confront colleagues with a leader who enforces workplace rules, and provide incentives that substitute for paychecks.
  • Case- based learning: using clinical cases to aid teaching has been termed as case-based learning. The aim goal is to prepare physicians, nurses … for clinical practice, through the use of authentic clini¬cal cases. It links theory to practice, through the application of knowledge to the cases, using inquiry-based learning methods.
  • Role-playing: it takes place between two or more people who act out of their roles to explore a particular scenario. You can explore how other people are likely to respond to different approaches; and you can get a feel for approaches that are likely to work, and for those that might be counter-productive. You can also get a sense of what other people are likely to be thinking and feeling in such situation. Thus, you gain experience and self-confidence with handling that situation in real life, and you can develop quick and instinctively correct reactions to such situations.
  • Team-based learning: it is a collaborative learning and teaching strategy that enables people to follow a structured process to enhance partners engagement and quality of work. It consists of five essential components, with an optional last stage called Peer Evaluation.
  • Individual pre-work: physicians/nurses are expected to prepare themselves by using readings, presentation slides, audio lectures or video lectures so that they can be at the same level of other colleagues in the course.
  • Individual Readiness Assurance Test (IRAT): once reunited, partners complete an individual quiz called the IRAT, which consists of 5–20 multiple-choice questions based on the pre-work materials.
  • Team Readiness Assurance Test (TRAT): after submitting the IRAT, all the colleagues form teams and take the same test and submit answers as a team. Both IRAT and TRAT scores count toward the final grade.
  • Clarification session: is when people participating will have the opportunity to raise points of clarification or question the quality of multiple-choice questions in the tests. Instructors can then facilitate a discussion about the different items covered.
  • Application exercises: is the final step where, colleagues apply and expand on the knowledge they have just learned and tested. They then display their answer choice in an gallery walk. Instructors then facilitate a discussion or debate among teams.
  • Peer Evaluation: this is an optional component. At the middle or at the end of the course, some faculty members do a peer evaluation for their teams. Students assess the performance of their team-mates, so they are encouraged to take peer evaluation honestly.
Another possible strategy would be including in what we call restorative practices. Restorative practices are a social science that integrates concepts from a variety of disciplines with the goal of creating healthy communities, repair harm and restore relationships. It includes a wide spectrum of approaches designed to treat everyone involved in a situation with respect. It helps people to understand and to be understood. It includes affective statements and questions, circles, mediation and conferences.

Affective statements focus on how actions influence, positively or negatively, on speaker. They help support empathy and understanding between people. It forces the individual who caused the harm to explore how his or her behaviour impacted others. Some good examples could be:
  • I feel frustrated when I have said to run this blood test and it seems like nobody heard me.
  • I am proud when we all work happily together
  • I feel appreciated when you ask me if I would change anything of the treatment of this patient, before making your decision
Circles are defined by their circular shape, use of a circle keeper, and ability for people to speak one at a time and listen to each other. It helps to establish relationships and build connections and also repair harm and rebuild relationships. It encourages people to determine what happened, how everyone was affected and what needs to happen to move forward.

It could be useful for example if there was a mistake in the administration of a medication to a child during a cardiopulmonar reanimation of a newborn. It would be a time for sitting in a circle and talking about what happened, the possible consequences and what could be done so that this would not happen next time (for example: have written down all the doses that could be necessary to use, just in case, so we would not be in a hurry to calculate doses in such an stressful situation)

Mediation and conferences explore a situation with potential conflict or manage conflicto once it has ocurred (we are talking about conflict resolution). The first one brings together two or more individuals who are, or may be, involved in a particular conflict. It is more appropriate for a discrete interpersonal situation. A very daily situation in the hospital could be the organization of hospitalized patients and where to locate this one when nurses of different floors tell you they are up to work and should be the other nurse who should assume the new patient. When multiple people are involved, the conference is the right choice. It allows people to discuss how they were affected and how to repair a situation moving forward. It includes a circle formation, inclusion of everybody involved and a collaborative agreed-upon outcome.
Online Resources
  • Gibert A. Teamwork, soft skills, and research training. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 2017;32(2):81-83.
  • Majid S, Liming Z, Tong S, Raihana S. Importance of Soft Skills for Education and Career Success.
  • International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education. 2012;2(Special 2):1036-1042.
  • Lazarus A. Soften up: The importance of Soft skills for job success. American Association for Physician Leadership. 2013: 40-45.
  • Ray J, Overman A. Hard Facts About Soft Skills. AJN, American Journal of Nursing. 2014;114(2):64-68.
  • Nealy C. Integrating Soft Skills Through Active Learning In The Management Classroom. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC). 2011;2(4)

Table of Content

Follow us

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.