World Savvy article, “Soft Skills are NOT Soft” published in education magazine

World Savvy was recently published in the most recent issue of Childhood Education Innovations. The article, Soft Skills Are NOT Soft: Redefining Essential Skills for a Future-Ready Classroom points to the importance of an increasingly essential set of skills the current and future workforce must have to be successful in their careers and arguably life.

The article sites The Wall Street Journal‘s 2015 survey of nearly 900 executives: “92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. Of particular note, 89% said they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with those requisite attributes.”

However, our current education system was designed to prepare students for careers of the Industrial Era. The world is rapidly changing; many of the jobs that our students will hold in the future have not yet been invented yet. Educators’ work can no longer be focused on delivering information, but rather on preparing students with the skills to successfully navigate and process this information.

“It is important for educators to teach their students to be not only critical thinkers, but also adaptable, resilient, and creative,” the article states. “For too long, skills such as empathy, creativity, and collaboration have been happy accidents in classrooms—byproducts of teachable moments that occurred during the delivery of content. It is time to center these skills with intention and urgency so that all young people have what they need to navigate a complex and interconnected world.”

As Dana Mortenson, World Savvy CEO and Co-founder, has said, “The focus here is not on content knowledge or test scores alone, but on the dispositions and skills that the future world will demand of us all, such as adaptability amidst significant change, cross-cultural communication, and collaboration, critical thinking about complex issues, perspective-taking, and empathy.”

The article goes on to highlight the work World Savvy did with a partner school during the 2021-2022 school year amidst a teacher strike. “To support all members of the community as they worked to understand these events, World Savvy created resources that were designed to draw on the essential skills we had been honing with teachers and students all year. Students used bingo cards that encouraged conversations with multiple stakeholders to ensure they were seeing this issue from multiple perspectives. As the strike ended and students returned to school, teachers implemented activities to rebuild community and create space to allow everyone to process their emotions. World Savvy schools used case studies organized by grade band, featuring extensive background information as well as resources and frameworks for analyzing conflict, building peace, and leading during complex times.”

World Savvy’s Comprehensive School Partnerships are designed to help schools make learning more relevant, inclusive and future-focused with a focus on embedding global competence – the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to navigate and succeed in today’s interconnected world. 

Childhood Education Innovations is a magazine-format publication that shares innovative ideas and practices for improving the education of children globally. The magazine is published for a global audience of educators and advocates working to create positive, sustainable futures for children and youth, with particular focus on improving education access and quality for marginalized populations. 

Dana Mortenson recognized as one of Minnesota’s “Rising Stars”

VoyageMinnesota has named World Savvy’s CEO and Co-founder Dana Mortenson a “Rising Star.” Dana was interviewed about her work with World Savvy – a national K-12 nonprofit organization – and the path she took with fellow co-founder Madiha Murshed to help change the world in light of the xenophobic backlash following 9/11. “We knew this targeting was a product of fear and, to some degree, a lack of knowledge and understanding about the world,” Dana recalled. In 2002, World Savvy was born with the intention of partnering with schools to transform learning environments into inclusive, adaptive, and future-ready schools in a fast-changing and increasingly diverse world.

When asked about some of the recent challenges she’s faced Dana responded, “Education has become more politicized in this polarized culture, with efforts like anti-CRT and banned books on the rise. There is a larger and more vocal group of school leaders, educators, and community members who understand the critical nature of this work to sustain our democracy. This is different from years past and has propelled the work forward profoundly.”

When asked about lessons learned in this work, Dana responded, “We’ve learned that there is no quick-fix in education, no one-size-fits-all solution you can rapidly scale, and no single program that changes things overnight. It is complex, messy, and takes time, resources, and intention.” She added, “We have learned that models providing holistic, well-rounded, and comprehensive support — frameworks for learning that are pendulum-proof — are the best opportunity for creating and sustaining change.”

Read Dana Mortenson’s full interview on the VoyageMinnesota website.

VoyageMinnesota is a magazine with a mission to promote mom and pops, artists, creatives, makers and small businesses by providing a platform for these hidden gems to tell their stories in their own words.

World Savvy featured on Silver Lining for Learning Podcast

World Savvy was honored to be featured on the Silver Lining for Learning podcast. The podcast is hosted by Chris Dede, Curt Bonk, Punya Mishra & Yong Zha and focuses on the future of learning with educators and education leaders from across the globe.

Our very own CEO and Co-founder Dana Mortenson and Director of Professional Learning KK Neimann were featured along with partner educators Anna Lehn and Cindy Derrane in Episode 103: Don’t Just be Savvy, be World Savvy!

“The most profound impact of World Savvy’s programs is evidenced by educator and student engagement – our programs make teaching and learning real, experiential, and relevant for a changing world. As a result, students acquire the kind of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that not only prepare them for college, career, and life in a global society, but help them identify as global citizens who are motivated to contribute to peace, justice, and sustainability for our world,” said Dana Mortenson.

Guests included:

Dana Mortenson, World Savvy’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

KK Neimann, World Savvy’s Director of Professional Learning

Anna Lehn, a World Savvy partner and 8th grade teacher at Ella Baker Global Studies and Humanities Magnet within the Minneapolis Public School District in Minnesota

Cindy Derrane, a World Savvy partner, Assistant Principal and Co-Coordinator of the Global Citizenship Program of Norwood High School in Norwood, MA