Exploring the Teaching the Skills that Matter Workforce Preparation Resources EVENT RECAP

This week, four of the LINCS groups came together to do a live event around the TSTM Workforce Preparation Resources. We are using this discussion thread to recap the live event for those that could not make it AND provide a place to ask additional questions about TSTM or integrating workforce preparation activities into the adult basic education classroom. 

What does it mean to have workforce preparation skills?

“Workforce preparation skills means the knowledge, skills, and competencies that, when developed and demonstrated, prepare individuals to obtain or retain employment or to advance in the workforce. These skills include interpersonal and communication abilities such as teamwork, collaboration, and customer service; and workplace competencies including demonstrated professionalism, critical thinking, and systems thinking within their specific work setting.” (TSTM, 2020)

What are the nine skills that matter in TSTM?


  • Adaptability and willingness to learn
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Navigating systems
  • Problem-solving
  • Processing and analyzing information
  • Respecting differences and diversity
  • Self-awareness

Teacher Feedback

Two teachers shared their experience with the Unmet Workplace Performance Outcomes Problem-Based Learning Lesson

Lyle Ring, Lead Adult ESL Teacher for Briya Public Charter School in the Washington D.C./Baltimore Area shared these tips for success:

Scaffold- Pre-teach vocabulary, workplace readiness skills, necessary grammar/ language.

Model- As a class model the method with a scenario familiar to the students.

Make it relevant- Involve students in creating problems they wish to examine in more detail.

Reflect- Have students actively consider the skills they used in the lesson.

Rebecca Payton, Career Coach for Thomas Jefferson Adult & Career Education in Charlottesville, VA shared how her learners used the IDEAL problem-solving method to address the following workplace scenario:

Supervisor has scheduled you to work with a co-worker you do not associate or have a good relationship with and will not adjust schedule.

Sample student response:

What do I not want to be accountable for?: I don’t want to be accountable for being the person to make the situation difficult at work.

What is the Question Behind the Question (QBQ): What can I do to avoid conflict at work?

Where can you find more resources?


What questions do you have about Teaching Skills that Matter (TSTM) or integrating workforce preparation into the adult basic education classroom?



I want to thank our guest facilitators, workforce prep teacher Becky Payton and ESL teacher Lyle Ring, for sharing their TSTM work with us. It speaks to the power of the TSTM materials that these teachers are still drawing from them for instruction two years after participating in the TSTM pilot.

For those who might be interested, the specific video from the We Speak NYC that Lyle used as part of his TSTM lesson was "Rolando's Rights" which focuses on worker rights. This video tied perfectly into the lesson on the IDEAL problem-solving process.

Thanks for starting this discussion and sharing the highlights and resources from the excellent live event held earlier this week, Chrissie.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP