21st Century Skills: So what ARE they and why are they important?

All across the nation, schools are making a shift. When you and I were in school, the teacher stood in the front of the room and lectured as we feverishly tried to take notes hoping to catch everything our teachers had said. At the end of a unit (and a notebook full of notes), we took a test. Today, the classroom looks different. Our teachers are taking on more of a facilitator approach to give our students the skills they will need as they enter the workforce. These skills are called 21st Century Skills.

This booklet will give you a much more detailed perspective.

Parents Guide to 21st Century Learning by Edutopia

4 thoughts on “21st Century Skills: So what ARE they and why are they important?

  1. This looks like a great resource! What I think is most important for us to remember is that so many of these skills can also be called “workplace readiness skills,” whether students enter the workplace directly after high school or after time in another educational experience after they leave Goochland.

    To help with the change you speak of in the classroom, we have to re-imagine what school can/should/could be. More than ever, learning is a 24/7 activity.

    I was reminded of the “traditional” way of thinking today in a training session I was leading with teachers outside our Division. I told the teacher “I don’t know, I’ve never done this before.”

    We were writing computer programs. Specifically, I’d never written the program to ask the computer to do what she wanted it to do.

    She was surprised. “What?! You don’t how to do this? I couldn’t ever give that answer to my kids… I’m supposed to know all the answers about my content.”

    It was that moment of realization that the teacher didn’t need to have all the answers – that was powerful. I’d been preaching about a project-based approach, constructionism, etc., but here it was. It did nothing for that “student” to get the answer from me. Learning was taking place when she was forced to figure out the answer. And that shift not only is something we have to get used to as educators, but this guide helps translate that “new pedagogy’ for parents and we have to empower our students to thrive too.

    The traditionalist in me wanted to have the answer ready. But tinkering together was a messier, but far more powerful way to learn.

    21st century skills can be a powerful pathway for student engagement!

    • “Tinkering together” also serves as a model for students. They learn that the teacher does NOT know everything, but continues to learn. I love it!

  2. Hi! I wanted to comment on Grammar Girl, speaking of 21st century learning skills. I was pleased to see this on your blog, and plan to encourage students to “look her up.” –Emily Ray, teacher of English and Creative Writing