We should have flying cars right now, but instead, we have the Internet and a host of important 21st-century skills that come with it. So, what are 21st-century skills? They are the 12 knowledge-based skills that ensure career readiness for students so they can be successful in today’s world.
In the current job market, 21st-century learning and skills have become essential. Each skill is meant to adequately prepare today’s students for their future careers. Practicing these skills starting in high school prepares them for employment in the United States in our globalized economy.
In an age where the Internet is ubiquitous and students learn in new ways, having these 21st-century skills will keep you competitive.
Discovering 21st-Century Skills
The 21st-century skills below are divided into three categories: 21st-century learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills. Explore these skills in-depth below to stay on par with the young minds of the US.
Learning skills consist of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. These skills, also known as the four C’s, focus on the mental process required to thrive in a modern work environment.
Literacy skills include information, media, and technology. These skills, known as IMT, focus on the facts, outlets, and technology. IMT focuses on finding trustworthy sources for information to separate it from any other inaccurate information found on the Internet.
The majority of skills fall under the life category. They include flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills, and are also called FLIPS. These focus on a student’s broad personal and professional qualities that can be applied to their daily life.
21st Century Skills Expanded
A partnership for 21st-century learning was created so teachers could easily integrate these skills into their classes. According to the CDE, “This Framework describes the skills, knowledge, and expertise students must master to succeed in work and life: it is a blend of content knowledge specific skills, expertise, and literacies.”
The difference between content and skills is that 21st-century skills are not based on knowledge. According to Wikipedia, they are “associated with deeper learning that includes problem-solving, analytics, and teamwork.”
Below, we will take a closer look into each category to better understand why they are important to modern life.
Learning Skills: The Four C’s
Learning skills are arguably the most important 21st-century skill because they apply to students’ future careers. The four C’s consist of the following:
- Critical thinking is finding solutions to problems. Critical thinking is essential to success in both academic and professional settings. It is the process of working through a problem to find a solution.
- Creativity means thinking outside of the box. This skill allows someone to see a concept in a different way. Creativity leads to innovation and, in turn, success.
- Collaboration is working with others. It means getting people to work together and achieve their goals. When working together, all participants must understand and be willing to sacrifice some of their ideas.
- Communication means talking to others and it is the key to everyday life. This skill allows ideas to be conveyed accurately. Effective communication means understanding what another person is saying and being able to respond appropriately.
Literacy Skills: IMT
21st-century skills require students to understand information around them. Part of this is literacy. The IMT skills each involve a different element of comprehension.
Information literacy is understanding facts, statistics, and data. This foundational skill helps students tell what is true and what is fiction. It is critical to have this skill so that you do not fall victim to a myth or spread a falsehood.
Media literacy is being able to understand information publishing methods and outlets. This skill is the first step in deciding what source is credible. Using this skill, students can figure out which sources are the best for learning new information.
Technology literacy is understanding the machines that make the information age possible. As computers and technology become more important globally, it is also more crucial for us to understand how they work.
Life Skills: FLIPS
FLIPS life skills are what students use in their personal life. However, these skills are also important in professional settings.
Flexibility is the ability to deviate from plans as needed. Adaptability is a challenging skill for some. It is essential to understand when you are wrong and be able to make changes.
Leadership is being able to motivate a team to accomplish a common goal. This skill requires taking steps to work toward an achievement, and being understanding of the decisions that are made by leaders.
Initiative is the ability to start projects and tasks on your own. This can even mean working on tasks in your personal time. This character trait shows a person’s work ethic and ability to progress professionally.
Productivity means maintaining efficiency regardless of potential distractions and complete work in an appropriate time frame. This is an essential skill for both school and professional life.
Social skills involve meeting and networking with others. It is important to make connections in both businesses and academics. You should have a wide range of social skills in person as well as on social media.
The Skills of the Century
Learning, literacy, and life skills comprise what is known as 21st-century skills. 21st-century skills are used every day worldwide and regardless of industry. As the world changes, 21st-century skills will remain relevant in our society. When combined, these 12 skills will prepare students for successful careers.