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21st century skills – what, why, how?

Education evolves with society and technology, and with such evolution, the skills and competencies required for the current and next generation vastly differs from our own.

What are 21st century skills?

The concept of 21st century skills was implemented first in the United States, where educators, civic and community groups and business leaders independently identified core skills and knowledge people need to have to ensure their success in the modern world.

This framework is advocated by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, formed in 2001. The not-for-profit organization is now part of the Battelle for Kids network, an organization committed to working with school systems and communities to provide 21st century learning to every student.

The need to shift away from traditional learning goals like accumulation of knowledge is becoming increasingly obvious, however a lot of traditional schools still rely on accumulation of knowledge and rote memorization as a way to determine a student’s level. 21st century skills go far beyond that – these skills are applied across disciplines, and are as illustrated below.

Why build 21st century skills?

With the rapid expansion of technology, automation is now replacing human labor, and information is now readily available to anyone. Rote memorization of knowledge is no longer important. Students instead need to learn how to process the information they receive by knowing how to identify trusted sources, understanding the data and thinking critically about it.

Students are now expected to be able to pick up knowledge, overcome complex obstacles, adapt to changing environments and build meaningful relationships. All of these are made possible by adopting 21st century learning.

How do we empower kids with these skills?

Establishing 21st century skills at a young age is crucial. Students need to learn to ask the right questions and pick apart the knowledge they are given at school. The curiosity and ‘spark’ they get when learning will motivate them greatly even when they encounter challenges at school.

While some schooling systems do not place much emphasis on skills like critical thinking or communication, PrepWorks has the solution for you. Inculcate these skills early via our StarWorks enrichment program or check out PrepWorks Academy. Our small classrooms means clearer communication, students get an opportunity to be involved in the lessons and tasks at hand.

When kids enjoy the learning process, practice critical thinking and get an opportunity to express their ideas, they’ll be on the right track to establishing necessary skills for the modern world!