Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Today, for World Children’s Day, let’s ask: How can education best serve children? We know students need their 21st century skills fostered. The thing is, to provide children with such education we do not need to invent the wheel. We Just must implement educational strategies that have long been research proven.
A) What are the 21st century skills?
Learning and innovation skills:
Critical thinking – Assessing a situation.
Problem solving – Finding creative solutions to challenges.
Communication – Being able to express oneself, to be a good listener and a to give constructive feedback.
Collaboration – Working effectively and harmoniously with peers appreciating them for who they are. Being part of the global village.
Creativity – Coming up with new and useful ideas, thoughts and products.
Innovation – Pursuing the challenges of delivering something new.
Imagination – Practicing thinking processes the way children’s minds work to envision the future.
Digital Literacy Skills:
Information literacy – The ability to locate relevant information to solve a problem or develop a new idea.
Media Literacy - Knowing what to take from media messages and how to deliver messages effectively.
Career and Life Skills:
Flexibility – in the way we think, communicate with peers, and run through our days.
Adaptability – Being life-long learners, adjusting to changes.
Initiative – Having the drive to do something new in ways others like to cooperate with toward implementation.
Self-direction – Self-awareness to inner goals. Keeping stepping ahead toward fulfilling those goals. Focus.
Productivity – Directing creativity toward positive outcomes, rather than letting it waste and find its way to be manifested negatively.
Accountability – Being reliable and ethic, not wasting words, being self-controlled so that others know they can trust us.
Self-Leadership – Having a confident inner core. Knowing self to lead others.
Managerial leadership - Strategizing, setting priorities, focusing on the essence, drawing visions, facilitating group discussions toward best results.
Decision Making - Systematically processing data to come to justified decisions.
Motivating - Influencing change and innovation. Inspiring.
Cooperation - Finding common goals within teams, keeping unity and agreement.
Rhetoric - Speaking truthfully yet without hurting someone else, using humor and responding with a smile.
Aspiration - Becoming content with the “be, do and have” of the present time, yet always foreseeing advancement.
B) Strategies to promote children’s 21st century skills:
Teacher as mentor and student-centered learning – Manage autonomous learners.
Personalized learning - Identify students’ interests and modify tasks to each. Let the children be part of planning their learning.
Intrinsic motivation – Invite children to suggest curious questions.
Flexible physical environment – Move furniture according to the learning situation.
Montessori – Create an environment of diverse stimuli.
Group learning – Leverage children’s need for social interaction to improve achievements.
Ethics of care – Learn the children and respond to their needs. Model care and expect reciprocity.
Project based learning – Help students develop original products.
Social-constructive learning – Let students share their products to enrich each other.
Interdisciplinary learning –Weave diverse subjects (STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
C) Five E’s method
I know this seems complicated. To simplify you’re most welcome to use my 5 E’s method. Its principle is to go past the stage of instructing into the phase in which the students create.
Explore – Introduce learning.
Experience - Converse, do experiments, “play” with the new information.
Examine – the ideas the students drew on.
Elevate – Recommend how to take the ideas to the next level.
Express – Ignite students to present their products.
I hope this helps. My mission in life is to provide tools and materials for such education. You’re most welcome to visit my website Raising Creative Thinkers for PBL, SEL and STEAM books including original lesson plans, teacher tools online, and PBL training.
Kind regards, Michelle Korenfeld
Raising Creative Thinkers