21st Century Skills


Greetings from The Progressive Teacher.

Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson

21st century skills are the skills today’s children need to thrive in school, in college and beyond. The 3 R’s – learning basic reading, writing and arithmetic is still a must. But it’s not enough. Our children need additional cognitive skills in order to thrive in today’s world. Modern children need to be able to synthesize information in context so that they can effectively communicate and collaborate with their fellow students and, eventually, their co-workers. We should help them learn to use technology as a tool to research, organize, collaborate, communicate and evaluate.

According to Dr. Tony Wagner of Harvard University, ‘There are two major trends in the world that pose a fundamental challenge – and offer many opportunities – to our educational systems. One is the world is shifting from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. The other is the rising generation – brought up on the Internet – is very differently motivated to learn.’ So we have to reconceptualize education and fill in the global achievement gap by imparting 21st century skills to the new generation.

The first tier of these skills are – Collaboration and teamwork; Creativity and imagination; Critical thinking; Problem solving. The second tier of important 21st century skills are – Flexibility and adaptability; Global and cultural awareness; Information literacy; Leadership. The driving force for the 21st century is the intellectual capital of citizens. Political, social and economic advances during this millennium will be possible only if the intellectual potential of the younger generation is developed now.

We are warned by experts that our children need improved 21st century skills. Without these skills, they will not be able to successfully participate in the global economy. They won’t be adequately prepared for college and work.
We live in a global society which means that now, more than ever, awareness is the key. Students need to develop a broader understanding of the world. This means helping your students understand global issues, such as environmental awareness, economic, financial and business awareness. You can also help them grasp the importance of health and wellness awareness. Of course, content knowledge is imperative, but students also need to develop their personal skills, such as leadership, adaptability and self-direction. By working with your students, you can nurture the development of 21st century skills that will help them succeed in school and in life.

In this issue of The Progressive Teacher, you will come across diverse views of the practitioners on essential 21st Century Skills. P V Satya Ramesh shares with us an invaluable experience when he led a group of twenty-six boys to an adventure camp from the pages of a Teacher’s Diary; Ashok Singh Guleria through Visualizing 21st Century Teaching exhorts school leaders, teachers and parents to introspect where we are heading in terms of education; Alka Mahajan redefines Classroom Boundaries to provide the right direction to our students by exploring new horizons; Yuvraj Krishan Sharma makes learning mathematics exciting by bringing it into the everyday lives of children; Mitashi Pawar shows The Power of Positive Self Talk; Steve Revington takes us on The Remarkable, Impactful Journey of Authentic Learning in the current scenario; Manmeet Kaur Reen tells the teachers How You Learn Best by understanding the various learning styles; Vini Sebastian emphasizes on Enrichment Orientation in Schools while Arti Prasad underlines the Importance of Environmental Education. Dr Shayama Chona, in her regular column on parenting, advises us how to Tackle Teen Tantrums with Understanding and Mona Shipley enlightens us on women empowerment through Sports and Gender. Plus there are many other articles catering to varied interests of the readers.

I would like to invite you to share your experiences and views on New Trends in Education with the teaching fraternity at large, through the pages of the next issue of The Progressive Teacher. I look forward to your contribution to The Progressive Teacher.

With best wishes
Rita Wilson

 Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi. She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country. She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah, Dubai and Finland. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited three series of English readers and work-books for school children.