Speeding Train-21st Century Skills

“Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world and those who are not”. –Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The world is like a speeding train and education is like a bicycle trying to race it. It seems like we will never catch up. We are just going to keep peddling until we get too exhausted to go on. When that exhaustion hits, we go back to the old ways of doing things and say it is too hard to go on. As for myself, I am going to keep peddling. I am peddling for my past students, my current students and my future students.

We need to become energized again. Teachers need to get excited about what they are teaching.

We need to wake up!

Teaching used to be linear. (I say “used to be” loosely because some teachers are stuck with that mindset).You teach math, close your math books, get out your reading books, close your reading books, go to recess, etc. But there are teachers out there who are turning their classrooms into exhilarating, challenging and non-threatening environments where their students are growing. Their students are being shaped to become respectful, contributing members of today’s world. A framework called the 21st Century Skills has been out since 2004, but I believe it has become more prevalent with the way the world is rapidly changing around us.

Teachers can no longer talk at their students and blame the students on the outcome of their grades or test scores. We need to partner with our students to give them the skills they need to join this society. The 21st Century skills give an outline, an explanation and resources to change the face of education. It may sound crazy, but I agree with everything that P21 says.

P21 gives an outline of what students are going to need when they get out into the real world. (They work alongside the Core Standards provided by each state).

Learning and Innovation Skills

Information, Media and Technology Skills

Life and Career Skills

We need to be teaching these “lifeskills” through our academic lessons. We can no longer hope that our students are getting the skills they need from basic linear lessons. With everything technology has to offer us, we have the opportunity to enhance our lessons so they incorporate what the 21st century skills suggest.

Check out this video I found on 21st Century Skills made by high schoolers in a Social Studies class. This pretty much sums it up.

To get a better understanding of what this framework is all about, check out Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic!


2 thoughts on “Speeding Train-21st Century Skills

  1. I loved your analogy of the world like a speeding train and education like a bicycle trying to race it. It makes me laugh to think about how true that really is. We need to change our mode of transportation if we want to even think of catching up or dare dream of surpassing the norm. I agree completely with the mission and framework of 21st Century Skills and found there site encouraging and motivating.

    I felt energized and moved to renewed action in doing my part in closing the gap between 21st century communities and workforces and the education that 21st century students are receiving. I was reminded by the mission of P21 why I became a teacher. I had a vision for creating a better future for students through quality education. I realize the depth that 21st century skills play in my vision and motivation for teaching. I cannot leave my mark on a better future for students by doing anything less than whole-hearted integration of the framework of 21st century skills into my classroom, school, and district. As a leader in my school I can start by educating my PLC and bringing about an awareness. Incorporating this structure and ideal is not working harder, rather working smarter.

    Where does your school or district sit on the MILE?
    What are your next steps in integration?
    How much support do you have from your school and district?

    It is exciting to be in education and see so many organizations and agencies coming together to support the work we do, educating the future of America. 🙂

  2. The bike vs. train analogy you used is wonderful! As a visual learner I can get a picture in my mind of what that looks like and it explains exactly how I feel as a classroom teacher.

    Today’s students collaborate every day about every issue using facebook, text messaging, and some even use twitter. Teachers must learn how to use these as well as other social media to engage students. You say a lot with your statement; “Teachers can no longer talk at their students and blame the students on the outcome of their grades or test scores.” This is exactly what I hear every day from colleagues. I hope I can make a difference as we start a new school year in August by sharing how teachers can integrate the use of new technologies.

    I received a tweet today with this message;”If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should learn how to teach the way she learns.”

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