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Education, the World Economic Forum and the 21st century.


Introducing The Sunday Pause. Sunday’s are usually the days I really knuckle down on the planning for the week. However, before my daughters wake up and I’ve got a moment to myself, I pour myself a coffee and read articles that I bookmarked throughout the week. These articles can sometimes influence my planning for the week.

Title: What are the 21st-century skills every student needs?

Author: Jenny Soffel

Source: World Economic Forum

Link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/21st-century-skills-future-jobs-students/

This week’s article is a very short read to clarify what 21st-century skills are and how we can develop them in our classes. Here are my 5 key take-aways:

1. There is a gap between what kids learn at school and what is actually needed. Traditional educational systems are not adequately preparing kids for their future lives. Complacency is killing education, what worked in the 20th century will not work in the 21st. As Ken Robinson said, “It's education that is meant to take us into this future that we can't grasp. If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue, despite all the expertise that's been on parade for the past four days, what the world will look like in five years' time. And yet, we're meant to be educating them for it."

2. Students who encounter Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in their school life are better equiped to collaborate, communicate and problem solve in their future jobs.

3. Side Track: How do you use SEL in the classroom? Here are some approaches that can be easily integrated into your classroom routines:

  • Taking turns listening and speaking

  • Working in partnership or teams

  • Reflecting on behaviour.

4. For 2020, the World Economic Forum listed the top 10 skills in their Future of Jobs Report. The top 5 of that list were: Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, People Management and Coordinating with Others. Arguably, the last two skills could be considered “communication" skills. All of which were listed as the 4Cs of 21st Century Skills created by the Partnership of 21st Century Skills.

5. The article argues that SEL needs to be more explicit in education systems. However, in saying that, we teachers should not have to wait to do so. We can already seamlessly integrate a lot of SEL into our everyday teaching. In the end nowadays, there is less emphasis on what you know, but more so on how you USE what you know.

If you want to go a bit more in-depth with the article, you can visit the full article here.

In the image above, I do felt that I really developed SEL into my lessons. The grade 5s had to plan, create, refine and execute physical literacy sessions for grade 1s. The grade 5s had to collaborate effectively to make their sessions a success. Below, they were essentially teaching the grade 1s how to be good movers but they were also demonstrating how to take turns, how to listen to one another and how to work in partners. The results were mixed, but after experiencing a session with a load of excitable 5 year olds, the grade 5s experienced first hand what it was to be a teacher.

 

©2020 by David Cooney