Academic journal article The Science Teacher

21st-Century Skills

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

21st-Century Skills

Article excerpt

In the rush of daily life and work in the 21st century, it's easy for teachers to get wrapped up in grades, lesson plans, meetings, e-mail, and day-to-day business. But it's important to occasionally step back and address the core questions: "What do students need to learn, value, and be able to do?" and "Are we preparing students for the world they will face upon graduation and beyond?"

The National Research Council, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and National Science Teachers Association (see "On the web") emphasize the importance of 21st-century skills, such as the following:

Core subject knowledge. Whatever skills students develop, they must be firmly grounded in solid science content knowledge and an understanding of the nature of science.

Flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. The ability to cope with uncertain, rapidly changing tasks, technologies, and job conditions is at the core of the modern workplace and daily life. The high school graduate's skill set must include a flexible, dynamic attitude that enables lifelong learning in a world of exponential change.

Critical thinking, creativity, and nonroutine problem solving. Science is all about developing and using critical thinking in creative ways. As problems become increasingly complex and accessing information more like "drinking from a fire hose," how will students solve important personal, workplace, and societal problems?

Complex communication, collaboration, social, and cross-cultural skills. Reading, writing and oral communication abilities are as important today as ever and increasingly complemented by information, media, and technology proficiencies. …

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