Friday, October 17, 2008

21st Century Survival Skills

The work of Thomas Friedman and Daniel Pink does a great job in providing evidence that a new world, one that is fast and dynamic, is here to stay. They make the case that we indeed have experienced a massive paradigm shift to a global, interconnected, technology-driven way of communicating and interacting as people and as organizations. As a result, all types of individuals and organizations are struggling to respond and stay in sync, to remain relevant. Some do this willy nilly and others are trying to devise plans such as personal learning plans, organizational learning plans, or sustainability plans. The basis for these plans is this question: What will it take to survive in a new, fast, flat world?

A recent article in ASCD, "Rigor Redefined" by Tony Wagner, outlines 7 critical survival skills for us, as adults, trying to be in sync and us, as teachers, charged with preparing students for their challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. It is worth assessing where we are in relation to these skills:

1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
2. Collaboration and Leadership
3. Agility and Adaptability
4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
5. Effective Oral and Written Communication
6. Accessing and Analyzing Information
7. Curiosity and Imagination

How are we further evolving these skills in ourselves?
How are we explicitly teaching these skills to our students?

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