In the last couple of months, it has been quite the academic adventure in joining forces with the International Montessori School (IMS) to explain 21st Century Skills. In a series of articles that were published in recent months, we have defined how these skills are implemented in education and, most importantly, how they may benefit your child. Now we wish to recap the detailed examples of how these skills are used as an educational tool to develop students further and prepare them for the future. Setting up the stage a quick explanation of 21st Century Skills and the ‘Four Cs.’
The 21st Century Skills Early Learning Framework (ELF) and Guide were created to stimulate educators, service providers, administrators, and policymakers to integrate 21st-century skills into their early learning programs. Unlike the traditional academic skills parents tend to understand, these skills differ in that they are not primarily content knowledge-based. What are these "new" and "critical" skills you ask? Due to a rapidly changing digital society, there is an increased demand for more in-depth learning. Therefore, more emphasis is placed on mastering skills such as analytical reasoning, complex problem solving, and teamwork.
21st-century skills are divided into certain key elements: These four are known as the 4 C's and are seen as the most important skills required for 21st-century education.
1. Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking is seen as a key skill that can lead to success both at an academic level as well as on a professional level. When building critical thinking skills, it is vital for children to have ample opportunity, support, and feedback from their teachers. Then watch their minds flourish! Click here for the full article with a video of how Critical Thinking is explored at IMS and how developing critical-thinking skills is essential for several reasons.
The Future Ready Adolescent With IMS - Wilfred & The Guyana Project: www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/learn/future-ready-adolescent-ims
Collaboration is now widely recognized as an important educational outcome in and of itself. It is important for children to learn what good collaboration looks like through desirable behaviors, useful strategies for managing tasks and resolving conflict. To come full circle, students should be given the opportunity to practice their collaboration skills with instructor support and to receive feedback on their performance. Collaborating with peers on projects is also very important allowing children to work together and to negotiate between them. In the article 'Giving Students Future-Ready Skills With IMS' we delved in deeper in understanding how developing collaboration knowledge and skill is important for multiple reasons.
Giving Students Future-Ready Skills With IMS - Through Community Service - Green Project: www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/giving-students-future-ready-skills-ims
Communication skills are central to success in school, work, and life. Your child can learn these directly, but they can also be acquired through activities such as reading or writing assignments, presentations, or class discussions. Most importantly communication skills can be practiced outside the classroom through play dates, building forts and treehouses and other play-based activities. In any subject, forms of communication are identified which may then be engaged with to provide direct instruction of relevant communication skills. In our January 2019 collaboration, we discussed 'Building Student Ownership Through Community Mapping' and how this is a crucial pillar in the success of IMS. At the International Montessori Schools of Hong Kong, communication and working in groups are part of their lifeblood.
Ownership Through Community Mapping - Learning About 21st Century Skills With IMS: www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/learn/ownership-through-community-mapping
Increasingly, Creativity is identified by teachers and employers as an essential educational outcome. As your kids learn, it should be in an environment that encourages creative expression. It has been shown that instruction on how to represent a problem in a given space can successfully promote creativity. Then watch your little ones brainstorm their way to solutions!
Research suggests that a focus on developing creativity is important for several reasons:
* Evolving social, economic, and scientific problems facing the world will require more flexible thinking and novel solutions.
* Creative individuals may enjoy a higher academic achievement.
* Employers seek job candidates with strong creative skills.
* Individual employee creativity is linked to organizational innovation, and work teams using more creative practices tend to enjoy a higher performance.
It has been a pleasure working so closely with IMS and helping parents understand the benefits of 21st Century Skills.
Here are the articles listed in order:
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