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Skills for 21st Century Education

Skills for 21st Century Education

It’s Saturday morning and I’m having brunch at the Red Owl Café in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I’ve travelled for 31 hours to get here so I’ve used the opportunity to reflect on some big questions I have regarding 21st Century Education.

It’s amazing what a good education and some inner qualities like persistence, the ability to reach for the stars, a love of learning, a growth mindset, the determination to never give-up and being adventuresome can do for you, isn’t it?

How about you? How are you spending your weekend? Are you focused, on task and spending time refueling your body and mind or are you feeling tired, overworked and grumpy?

December is an incredibly busy time in schools around the world. Sometimes you get so busy you lose site of the Big Picture and fall into the trap of feeling miserable and even complaining about your workload.

Maybe it’s time for you to take 10 minutes and do some reflection this weekend too. Never forget that you do an amazing job. You are preparing our young to live full, happy and healthy lives. Lives in which they will value diversity, look for possibilities and opportunities and use creativity, collaboration and innovation to make positive changes to the world.

Yes, you’re an educator in the 21st Century embracing change to prepare our students for their future, not ours. And yes, sometimes it gets very difficult. The complexities of our interconnected and rapidly changing world can make it seem too much at times. I find that simplifying and thinking strategically can help you to regroup and refocus.

I love the work of Professor Michael Fullan, International Educational Researcher from Canada, to help me simplify and refocus. He has created six overarching skillsets and dispositions to help us focus on what really matters in 21st century education.

1. Character education. Honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.

2. Citizenship. Global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.

3. Communication. Communicate effectively orally, in writing, in listening and with a variety of digital tools.

4. Critical thinking and problem solving. Think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.

5. Collaboration. Work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.

6. Creativity and imagination. Economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.

Perhaps you could reflect on how you model, nurture and integrate the dispositions and skillsets in your school over your holiday break and come back next term full of energy and ideas to share with your colleagues.

If you’d like more inspirational strategies why not sign up to my Leadership for the 21st Century Online Course?

Wishing you Happy Holidays and a fabulous start to 2017.

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