Study explains '21st Century Skills'

Many people have probably heard some reiteration of the phrase “We need to make sure our students have 21st Century skills” without getting any real definition of what that means. The National Research Council of the National Academies of Science worked for over a year to define just that. They found that 21st century skills generally fall in to three categories:

  • Cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and analytic reasoning;
  • Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and complex communication; and
  • Intrapersonal skills, such as resiliency and conscientiousness (the latter of which has also been strongly associated with good career earnings and healthy lifestyles).

Commenting on the findings, Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond said, “Unless we want to have just a lot of hand-waving on 21st-century skills we need to get focused and purposeful on how to learn to teach and measure these skills, both in terms of research investments and in terms of the policies and practice that would allow us to develop and measure these skills.”

The researchers behind the study recommend that students spend more time in the classroom developing these skills by focusing on teamwork, resiliency, and resourcefulness.

Read the article here.

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