How do teachers prepare students for the 21st Century?
Emphasize Core Subjects – deep understanding of language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, arts, history, and geography.Suggested Strategies
Emphasize Learning Skills – including information and communication skills, thinking and problem solving skills, and interpersonal and self directional skills
Use 21st Century Tools to Develop Learning Skills – digital technology and communication tools to access, manage, integrate, and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and communicate with others in order to participate effectively in society. Teach and Learn in a 21st Century Context – using a real world context to apply the content learned in the classroom; reduce the boundary that separates education from the real world
Teach and Learn 21st Century Content – including global awareness; financial, economic and business literacy; and civic literacy
Use 21st Century Assessments that Measure 21st Century Skills – high quality standardized tests that measure performance and classroom assessments to measure improved classroom teaching and learning
Provide workshop participants with a copy of 21st century skills and allow time for small groups to read and discuss them.
Each group should come to consensus on answers to these questions:
- Why is this document important?
- Why is it important to prepare students for the 21st century?
- What is the purpose of education?
Have each group report out on these questions. Lead a discussion centered on the group responses.
Place participants into small work groups.
Provide participants with a copy of 21st century skills and a list of social studies skills and/or a list of life skills currently being used in some public schools today.
Have each group compare and contrast the skills on the two lists. Use these questions as guides for the groups.
- How are they the same?
- How are they different?
- Should we place more emphasis on skill development as opposed to content?
- What is the proper balance?
Have each small group prioritize the six 21st Century Skills.
Have each group report out on their work and provide conclusions with justifications.
Invite community leaders to the workshop to discuss their concerns about education. Provide them with a copy of the 21st century skills and have them react to these skills and then respond to questions from the group.
Lead a discussion about the global economy. Discussion could be centered around these questions:
- How well will our students be able to compete in the global economy?
- What skills should students have?
Tips for Presenters
Discussions do not always need closure.
Compare and contrast jobs of the past with those of the present to those of the future.
- Allow the discussion to be open and encourage all responses, but don’t let one point of view predominant.
- Don’t let the discussion go beyond your allotted time.
- Inform the group that there will be additional opportunities during the workshop to discuss the issues.
Don’t be drawn into the content versus thinking skills argument of the past 20 years. There is no answer to this question as the two ideas are interrelated.
- How have jobs changed in the past 50 years?
- How will they continue to change?
- Is it the responsibility of the schools to help prepare students to cope with these changes? Why or why not?