October 10th, 2018
Educators and workforce experts alike often warn that our children need improved 21st century skills. Without these skills, they will not be able to successfully participate in the global economy and they won’t be adequately prepared for college, work, and ultimately, life. So, what are the 21st century skills students need?
Market research firm Hanover Research recently analyzed six major educational frameworks designed to improve the development of 21st century skills, one of which was produced by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). While each framework had its own list of critical 21st century skills, they concurred on four critical areas for development:
Collaboration and teamwork build leadership, communication and organizational skills—aptitudes that are needed to succeed in a fast-paced and constantly-changing environment. A strong grounding in the principles of collaboration and teamwork prepare students for jobs where they are expected to work with others to develop new ideas, plan and facilitate projects, and solve problems. It teaches students to see things from different viewpoints and resolve conflicts that may arise from differences in values and opinions, leading to stronger relationships.
Critical thinking is considered one of the most valued skills in the workplace, especially in a competitive, knowledge-based society. The P21 and the American Management Association deems it to be a vital 21st century skill that is “expected to become even more important in the future.” Essentially, critical thinking involves the ability to reason effectively through inductive and deductive methods, to analyze and understand how different parts of a systems work together, and to evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs to draw conclusions based on the best analysis, as well as utilize that information gathered to solve problems.
In essence, creativity is the ideation of a thought, while innovation is the realization of the idea. The P21 names creativity and innovation as essential skills of future citizens, and recommends that instead of viewing teaching as an act of knowledge transfer, educators must weave the art of creative thinking into the curriculum to cultivate innovation among students. The workforce of the future must be able to think critically and be capable problem solvers, and it is through creativity that these crucial and much-required skills are fostered.
In this age of creativity and innovation, it is imperative to continuously produce new ideas, products and services. According to The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, in order to nurture problem-solving skills in students, a focus must be put on these core areas: communication, independence, empathy, diplomacy and thoroughness. Through these areas, students will learn to identify their own problem-solving errors and develop the patience to attempt complex real-life problems.
At Selwyn School, our well-rounded curriculum open students to new experiences and empower them to think, create, design and dream. We combine the “hard” skills typically taught in a STEM-centered environment, with the “soft” 21st century skills mentioned above that give our students everything they need to be successful adults.
Interested in learning more about how we emphasize 21st century skills in our educational process? Contact Selwyn School today.