Looking at the website of Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I had mixed emotions.
Their mission is a wonderful idea that I wish could be implemented instantly in schools throughout our nation. Simply put, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ mission is to bridge the gap between what students are learning in school and what skills they will need when they join the working world. They state that schools need to combine the 3 R’s (reading, writing, arithmetic) with the 4 C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity).
This all sounds great! Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) offers a wealth of information about how 21st century skills are needed, which I full heartedly agree with. But like most education reforms, implementing 21st century skills will cost money. This is when my mixed emotions came in…
P21 offers professional development and guides for how to get started, but what it comes down to is that schools and districts will need to invest money and time to make a school wide change. The main cost will come from informing and providing professional development for teachers. Right now in the current climate, because 21st century skills are not tested, I do not see the implementation P21 suggests to be realistic.
Luckily, I am working at a school that is an International Bachelorette candidate school, which means we are working on transforming the way we teach so that students become effective global society members. When reviewing the P21 Core Toolkit, I found that some of the example lesson starters were similar to lessons/projects I am already beginning to integrate into my teaching. What was pleasantly surprising about some of the sample lesson starters offered in the toolkit, is not all of them require technology to be available. Some of the lessons were focused on critical thinking skills (real-life contexts) that anyone can implement in their classroom easily. While learning how to use technology is important, some schools do not have technology available, so it is encouraging to know that 21st century skills cant still be taught.
I recommend that anyone who is interested in implementing 21st century skills, check out this website. Regardless of whether or not this model will be implemented, it offers a wealth of information on why 21st century skills should be integrated in curriculum. I also recommend checking out their resources for educators (Route 21) because it offers a variety of input from what appears to be many community members. While, I think this resource database is at first hard to navigate, I did come across some worthy reading material on 21st century skills.