Delving into the website of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, one can easily become overwhelmed with the amount of information and resources available. While there is a plethora of information and resources to support educators utilizing 21st century skills in the classroom, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, have created a user-friendly website. Navigating through the website is quite simple, it almost seems the websites and been created with the not so tech savvy individual in mind. Yet, the website not only serves as a resource for educators, but as a source to clarify and discover teaching strategies to integrate 21st century skills.
What I found to be most engaging about the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website, was how it helped clarify my understanding of 21st century skills. So many times, we use educational jargon in our discussions without fully understanding all of the intricacies of the model. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills provides information in a clear and useful manner that is easily accessible for teachers and other stakeholders. According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, today’s students need to move beyond the basics of the 3 R’s. It is essential now that teachers emphasize the 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity). The Partnership helps to synthesize this information into a manageable and useful tool for educators. In addition, the skill maps the Partnership for 21st Century Skills created helped to guide educators apply these skills within their specific content areas. The final area I found useful were the best practices tools created by educators that implemented 21st century skills within the classroom. So many times we speak of these concepts in theory, but to see an application helps educators generate ideas, which can subsequently be translated into their own classroom.
Although the Partnership for 21st Century Skills provides a number of resources and ideas that help support teachers within the classroom, I do have issue with a number of stances presented on the website. The most concerning area, I found was the posting of statistics regarding how well schools are preparing students for the workforce. Although I do feel that it critical for schools to instill character, values and basic social norms, schools are mirroring the desires of community stakeholders. In the past, when schools have attempted to build in character education and other programs, the stakeholder’s object sighting that it oversteps into the realm of the family. When schools attempt to instill accountability for behavior, attendance or timeliness, the stakeholders object and assert that the school is being unnecessarily biased towards a child. Schools cannot be the lone facilitator for the moral education and academic education of children. The burden of responsibility must fall upon all stakeholders and community members.
Reflecting upon the information from the website will help me to improve upon my own teaching practices. I think that through further exploration I will be able to integrate 21st century skills in a more natural manner without it appearing forced or as an after thought. By exposing my students to the 4 C’s on a more consistent basis, allows my students to be better equipped to participate in a global economy. When you integrate critical thinking skills and promote various forms of communication into the learning of students, you not only improve their global understanding but you also improve your practices as a teacher.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2011). Retrieved from: http://www.p21.org/
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/images/stories/otherdocs/p21up_Report.pdf