9 essential skills


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Essential Skills are nine skills that are common to all Canadian occupational groups. Essential Skills include some soft skills and compliment technical skills. 

The nine Essential Skills are Reading, Numeracy, Oral Communication, Writing, Document Use, Problem Solving, Continuous Learning, Computer Use, and Working with Others.  Each Essential Skill has multiple levels. This website focuses on Essential Skill level 1 tasks.

Why incorporate Essential Skills into the EAL/ESL classroom?

The learning and utilizing all of the Essential Skills are an intrinsic component of success in the workplace. Learners may have acquired Essential Skills in their first language (L1) and therefore just need the language and context to apply these skills in Canada. Other learners may not have had the opportunity to learn all the Essential Skills in the context of their L1. 

The more Essential Skills that learners master, the more mobility they will have in Canadian society. Learners will likely change jobs multiple times. Furthermore, they will be expected to cross train in their existing jobs. Essential Skill acquisition ensures that learners have the ability to transition as needed.

Incorporating Essential Skills into the EAL/ESL classroom ensures that the context of language instruction is practical and relevant to learner needs. Additionally, learners need to cognitively be aware of the Essential Skills in case they are discussed in job interviews, workplaces and other educational settings. As well, employers will know that the EAL classroom is working with learners to meet workplace expectations in both language and Essential Skill acquisition.

The HRSDC website is an excellent resource for more information on the Essential Skills. 

What are the Essential Skills?