Several editorials here on eLearningworld have been written on the subject of which work skills that will be required in the 21st Century. The conclusion is that the focus will turn towards more soft skills like self-discipline, self-awareness, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and empathy. But how do you really develop and improve such skills? Several research reports within the field of neuroscience claim that reading fiction is a workable foundation.
The impact of Reading Fiction
When reading fiction we are using several different cognitive muscles that basically originate from our EQ. Several research studies now indicate that fiction provides many benefits in comparison with non-fiction. Especially when it comes to skills to understanding other people and their motivations, and social contexts in general. While non-fiction is more directed on direct knowledge development. Then, how can you get the best impact of reading fiction in working-life skills development?
Skills development by Reading Fiction
In an interesting story in Harvard Business Review, Christine Seifert, Professor of Communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, writes that “characters, plots and settings in foreign locales help anchor difficult discussions”. The scenarios can be used in different ways but as they do not have a direct personal link to the readers. It makes it easier to have deep discussions about the books and its different viewpoints.
In this way, the concept has built a growing ground for questioning your own personal beliefs and preferences as you practice critical thinking, improve personal decision-making by a deeper understanding of other people’s motivations and also develop direct and indirect knowledge for creative problem-solving skills among many other things. In other words, empowerment and development of EQ. Professor Seifert concludes:
“If we want better thinkers in the business world, we have to build better readers.”
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