Skills for the 21st Century
Do you need a song to get your day going? Here are three videos and song downloads that will add a smile and energy to each day in 2017.
21st Century Skills
With increased screen time in the classroom, I’m the one that keeps yelling, “BALANCE! BALANCE! BALANCE!” Tap and swipe need to be balanced with active learning and group interactions. It’s interesting that when leading industries are asked what skills they look for in employees they do not focus on technical skills. Their top responses usually include “good oral communication skills,” “knows how to get along and work with others,” and “knows how to find and use resources.”
And, that’s why I embrace the Skills for the 21st Century! The Partnership for the 21st Century Skills (21stcenturyskills.org) recognized the gap between the knowledge and skills students learn in school and what is needed to succeed in the work place. Their goal is to align classroom environments with real world environments by fusing the traditional 3R’s with the 4 C’s.
The 3R’s are the framework for Standards and core subjects, while the 4 C’s suggest the skills needed to be successful in career and life.
3Rs include: English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics; arts; history; and geography.
The 4Cs include: Critical thinking & problem solving; Communication, Collaboration; Creativity & innovation.
The Partnership recommends districts and schools ask if they are helping students become:
• Critical thinkers?
• Problem solvers?
• Good communicators?
• Good collaborators?
• Information and technology literate?
• Flexible and adaptable?
• Innovative and creative?
• Globally competent?
• Financially literate?
The Partnership further suggests these principles:
1) Authentic learning - learning from real world problems and questions
2) Mental model building - using physical and virtual models to refine understanding
3) Internal motivation - identifying and employing positive emotional connections in learning
4) Multi-modal learning - applying multiple learning methods for diverse learning styles
5) Social learning - using the power of social interaction to improve learning impact
6) International learning - using the world around you to improve teaching and learning skills
An advantage of traveling the Education Highway for over 40 years is that I’ve been through this revolving door before. Many activities (critical thinking, group projects, self-directed learning, integrated themes) have been around for years. Yes, even before my time Dewey and the “Progressive Education Movement” in the early 1900’s emphasized these strategies. During the 1920s, when education turned increasingly to "scientific" techniques such as intelligence testing and cost-benefit management, progressive educators insisted on the importance of the emotional, artistic, and creative aspects of human development. (John Dewey and American Democracy by Robert B. Westbrook, Cornell Univ. Press, 1991).
Learn from the past…live in the present…prepare for the future! Read on and I promise you’ll find some simple and practical ideas for promoting 21st Century Skills in your classroom in 2017.