Tuesday, April 8, 2014

21st Century Skills

Photo retrieved from IMDB
When I think of 21st Century Skills, my first thought goes to Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century. Remember that late 90's Disney Channel classic? It was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Zenon was a girl who lived on an orbiting space station in the year 2049 and manages to get herself into sticky situations on a fairly frequent basis. She somehow has the skills, as a 13-year-old girl, to save herself, her friends, and her parents from very unfortunate events. In the first movie, she saves the entire space station from crashing down to the earth! Back to my point. When I think of 21st century skills, I think of Zenon. She's a futuristic girl who thinks critically and has knowledge that applies to the future--which is the most important part for our future students! Our future students don't need to learn the same things we did or in the same ways we did when we were in elementary, middle and high school. What we learned is outdated. What's happening now is 21st century skills.

21st Century Skills are the requisite skills and knowledge that today's students need in order to become successful and productive citizens in the 21st century. These skills include:

  • Core Subjects (3Rs) and 21st Century Themes
    • English, reading or language arts
    • World Languages
    • Arts
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Science
    • Geography
    • History
    • Government and Civics
  • Life and Career Skills
    • Flexibility and Adaptability
    • Initiative and Self-Direction
    • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
    • Productivity and Accountability
    • Leadership and Responsibility
  • Information, Media, and Technology Skills
    • Information Literacy
    • Media Literacy
    • ICT Literacy
  • Learning and Innovation Skills (4Cs)
    • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    • Communication and Collaboration
    • Creativity and Innovation

Photo retrieved from p21
These are the skills we need to help our students build. It's important to keep in mind the bigger picture of why we teach. I don't want to teach Spanish just so my students can speak in phrases about what they like to eat for lunch, I want them to see the relevance in learning a World Language and how that can make them more marketable as a person. I want them to see the purpose of learning a language for traveling purposes and to compare and contrast our culture with cultures of others. It's easy to forget about these skills, but we have to keep in mind the bigger picture. After all, wouldn't it be cool of one of our students turned out to be a real-life Zenon?

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