Skills are a Student’s Secret Weapon

Greg Twemlow
3 min readApr 30, 2024

Parents and teachers play an essential role in helping students comprehend the value of practical skills. Through my work and research, I’ve designed a model comprising nine crucial skills for life (aka pedagogy¹) that prepares students for the challenges ahead and empowers them to shape their destinies. Combining the nine skills, experiential learning, and proactive support from parents and teachers gives students control over their path and the influence to drive meaningful outcomes.

The Power of Skills in Shaping Their Future

I’ve named my skills model the Adaptive Skills Pathway². It’s structured like a pyramid (see image below), layered into Foundational, Integrative, and Apex skills. This structure is crucial because it builds from basic interpersonal skills to complex leadership abilities, each leveraging the one below it to create a comprehensive skill set supporting student’s personal and professional growth.

Tip: the Adaptive Skills Pathway² is just as relevant for adults, at any stage of life

Adaptive Skills Pathway² is structured like a pyramid, layered into Foundational, Integrative, and Apex skills by Greg Twemlow
Adaptive Skills Pathway² is structured like a pyramid, layered into Foundational, Integrative, and Apex skills by Greg Twemlow

Foundational Skills: The Bedrock of Agency³

At the base of the pyramid are five foundational skills that form the bedrock of a student’s development:

1. Empathy

2. Collaboration

3. Resilience

4. Initiative, and

5. Creativity

Why these skills are essential:

  • Empathy and Collaboration enable an understanding of others and work effectively within teams, which are critical in school and students’ future careers.
  • Resilience and Initiative empower students to face challenges confidently, knowing they can overcome setbacks and take proactive steps towards their goals.
  • Creativity isn’t just about arts; it’s about thinking innovatively, solving problems, and seeing opportunities where others see obstacles.

Integrative Skills: Elevating Your Capabilities

As students establish their foundational skills, the three integrative skills of Adaptability, Communication, and Discernment come into play. These skills make students more effective in complex scenarios:

  • Adaptability and Communication are crucial for interacting with new ideas and diverse perspectives, ensuring students articulate thoughts clearly and can pivot strategies.
  • Discernment allows students to make informed decisions by critically evaluating information, an invaluable asset in a world overflowing with data.

Apex Skill: Leadership as the Culmination of Students’ Agency

Leadership, the apex skill, is where everything comes together. It’s about using Foundational and Integrative skills to inspire and guide others toward a shared vision. It’s not about authority; it’s about influence, about demonstrating integrity and strategic thinking in students’ actions.

I named my call-to-action for students: “Agency Is Your Brand.”

To own your Agency, align your self-view with your potential. Recognize the power you hold and the impact you can make. Here’s how:

  • Cultivate Confidence: Engage actively with our experiential learning programs to practice and enhance real-world skills scenarios.
  • Reflect and Grow: After each experience, take time to reflect. What did you learn? How can you apply this learning to face new challenges?
  • Take the Initiative: Think deeply about opportunities that come to you. Confidently create them. Use your skills to start projects, improve processes, and make a difference in your community.

As students develop each skill within the Adaptive Skills Pathway, they’ll find their ability to influence and lead grows exponentially. Each step builds on the last, making them influential leaders and visionaries capable of shaping the future. Remember, in the 21st century, skills are a secret weapon. Embrace them to unlock doors to opportunities you’ll confidently exploit.

Interested to know more and talk about your child, your class, your school, or yourself? You can find me on LinkedIn or email

  1. Pedagogy: taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are imparted in an educational context
  2. Adaptive Skills Pathway: a blueprint for every learner to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving world with confidence and competence
  3. Agency: the skills, knowledge, and confidence to effect influence

About the author: Greg Twemlow, Founder of Future Skills Studio.

Future Skills Studio Founder, Greg Twemlow

Greg Twemlow: Sharing what I’ve learned from my career of 35 years as a citizen of the world, parent, corporate executive, entrepreneur, and, since 2018, CEO of Future Skills Studio, focused on experiential learning programs for young people.



Greg Twemlow

Pioneering AI-Enhanced Educational Strategies | Champion of Lifelong Learning & Student Success in the GenAI Era