Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Developing and Modeling 21st-Century Skills with Preservice Teachers

Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Developing and Modeling 21st-Century Skills with Preservice Teachers

Article excerpt

Today's youth face a rapidly changing world, requiring them to move beyond basic formulaic knowledge and skills. Current educational policy, such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), represents a shift away from rote learning and memorization of facts to the development of the 21st-century skills of creativity: critical thinking; communication; collaboration; and information, media, and technology skills (IMTS). Business and political leaders also recognize the necessity in addressing these core competencies for the 21st-century landscape (Ravitch, 2010). For students to be competent in a global society, K--12 teachers need to develop, model, and assess the 21st-century skills in their students (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices [NGA] & Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2010; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2016; Rotherham & Willingham, 2009; Truesdell & Birch, 2013). As such, there is a call for teacher education programs to facilitate preservice teachers' personal development of these skills as well as their application to educational settings (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 2010; Michaels, Truesdell, & Brown, 2015).

While research exists on each of the 21st-century skills in isolation or in pairs, a scarcity of research exists on the process of explicitly facilitating them with preservice teachers (Kagle, 2014; Kokotsaki, 2011; McDonald & Kahn, 2014; Thieman, 2008). Some international examples, such as Singapore's TE21 Model of Teacher Education and teacher education in Finland, have elements of 21st-century skill training; however, few studies detail how to explicitly facilitate this process (Schleicher, 2012). To that end, this study describes a collaboration in one university between three teacher education programs (multiple subject, single subject, and education specialist) that explores how and to what extent faculty are developing and modeling the 21st-century skills in preservice teachers. In addition, this study analyzes preservice teachers' perceptions of their competence in 21st-century skills and their ability to incorporate them into their own teaching. Relying on the theory of cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, 2006; Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1987), the researchers approached this process primarily for the purpose of promoting expertise in teaching, focusing on teaching methods including modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration.

This current study fills a gap in the teacher education literature as it identifies how teacher educators across programs within one institution developed the 21st-century skills with preservice teachers, through both course work and field experiences. The current study asked, How and to what extent do our teacher education programs develop and model the 21st-century skills in preservice teachers? This study also aimed to build a model for teacher education programs by purposefully facilitating the development of these skills (see Figure 1); specifically, the initial stage is personal development of each skill, followed by the application of these skills in educational contexts, and finally their utilization professionally with K--12 students, colleagues, and parents.

21st-century Skills

The 21st-century skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and IMTS are not novel to today's educational and business settings (Rotherham & Willingham, 2009; Silva, 2009). Indeed, these skills have been integral elements throughout human history; however, how these skills are taught and developed in K--12 schools has evolved. The CCSS represents a shift away from basic drill and recitation of simple facts to an emphasis on the multifaceted processes of learning (NGA & CCSSO, 2010).

The recently adopted CCSS intentionally include 21st-century skills. Literacy standards contain explicit requirements for communication. …

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