A new G21 skill?

Teachers know that we have 12 twenty-first century skills that we’ve been focusing upon since the start of our G21 projects in 2008. This year, I’m making a change to the core set of skills.

The change is to first combine “collaborate small group” and “collaborate large group” into one big “collaboration” category. I still think the distinction is apt, but we need space for a new skill!

That skill, as deftly supported by Walter McKenzie, is empathy. Specifically, Alan November, whom I got to hear again this summer at ISTE 2012, spoke passionately about global empathy. But how do we develop this skill? Or is empathy a skill?

McKenzie writes that we can develop empathy in students this way:

By modeling, coaching, facilitating, moderating and promoting it across all areas of the curriculum. It begins with the empathy we experience one-on-one in our most immediate relationships and builds from there: friendships, small groups, teams, cohorts, classes, networks and beyond.

For G21, it means designing opportunities for empathy. And if we’re serious about global empathy, then we need to make connections with learners and experts in other parts of the world. The Water Project, our G21 Faire winner from BES this year for the elementary category, was an excellent exemplar on how to do just that.

For more on Alan November and his call for global empathy, check out this link.