Skills for 21st Century Learners
16 Habits of Mind
State of North Carolina adopted new curriculum standards
beginning in 2012 - 2013. The link below provides information
about this change.
WCPSS Common Core Resource Page
21st Century Learners: What does it really
21st Century Learners and global competitiveness are new
terms that are shaping public education. These terms
are included in the North Carolina State Board of Education’s
mission statement, the WCPSS Board of Education’s
goal, our Superintendent’s mission
statement and the North Forest Pines School Improvement Plan.
This alignment from the State Board down to our classrooms
indicates the importance that 21st Century learning
plays in education today. So, what do the terms mean for
you as a parent and more importantly what is
North Forest Pines (NFP) doing to ensure that your child
is acquiring 21st Century Learning Skills to prepare for global competitiveness? The answer lies in how we are
working together to prepare our children for a
future we cannot clearly predict or define.
The Partnership of 21st Century Skills breaks
21st Century Student Outcomes into four elements: Core Subjects and
21st Century Themes; Learning and Innovation Skills; Life
and Career Skills; and Information, Media and
Technology Skills. Let’s focus on Learning and Innovation
Skills. This element focuses on creativity, innovation, critical
thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.
The ability to think critically
and problem solve are essential skills for students to acquire.
After all, we are preparing them for 21st century careers
that do not yet exist. Collaborating with others is also
a key skill. Collaboration affords students the opportunity
to work respectfully with diverse teams, reach compromises,
and share responsibility for
outcomes. Teachers at NFP are involved in a year-long book
study of “Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based
Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement” by
Robert Marzano. One of the strategies
identified in the book is cooperative learning. Cooperative
learning is a teaching strategy that exposes students
to the collaborative process and cultivates communication
and shared responsibility among students.
Another of Marzano’s
strategies is generating and testing a hypothesis. This strategy
fosters innovation, critical thinking
and problem solving. Students are encouraged to apply knowledge
to generate a hypothesis and
test the hypothesis. In order to create a hypothesis students
must problem solve to identify obstacles, explore
different approaches/perspectives, and possibly create a
new product. Most often we associate hypotheses
with science exploration; however this skill can be integrated
across curriculums. Activities requiring
students to evaluate parts of a system (i.e. the school’s
cafeteria) and predict changes if a part of the system was altered is a great activity not involving science.
Historical investigations lend the perfect learning activity
for students to create reasonable scenarios of past or present
events and explore the various outcomes.
As educators we continue to develop our skills so that we
may provide the best instructional strategies to promote
21st century skills. It is our responsibility to prepare
them for a world we may never experience.
By: Syreeta Smith, NFP Principal