Cosmopolitan Soft Skills : Capturing the Toolkit Fostering Human Flourishing by an Intersecting of Theory and Empirical Data
Abstract: While globalisation is a multidimensional phenomenon, present educational foci tend to lie not on preparing students for a complex, globalised 21stcentury, but on preparing students for a 21st-century economic globalisation. In order to advocate a change of consciousness, this present study examines the concept of human flourishing and the skills – referred to as cosmopolitan soft skills – fostering the phenomenon. Taking a critical realist approach, a theoretical and an empirical investigation was carried out. The theoretical analysis undertaken by the study identified flourishing to be a three-dimensional concept and established that flourishing cannot be fully realised unless an individual is flourishing both from a positive-psychological, a moral-political, and a moral-ethical perspective. The empirical, comparative analysis of school policy documents and interviews with school principals, on the other hand, eventuated a comprehensive list of skills and competences that contemporary educational institutions aim at equipping their students with for the sake of flourishing. By an interplay between theory and empirical data, the study resulted in a possible conceptualisation of cosmopolitan soft skills, consisting of the four core skills of attention, acceptance, respect, and responsibility, and 78 other skills organised into four main categories. Provided the critical realist stance taken, the results are believed to be of a flexible and ever-changing but universal nature that facilitate future research into the educability of the cosmopolitan soft skills concept and the empirical realisation of human flourishing.
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