“Give instruction to a wise person, and he will become wiser still; teach a righteous person and he will add to his learning. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:9-10
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills or P21 is a national organization of the United States that aims for the readiness of American students in the 21st Century. The United States is well aware of the necessity to prepare the new generation of the country to be able to compete in the global economy which has been changed dramatically.
P21 and its members have developed the Framework for 21st Century learning in order to support the education system of the United States to unify the teaching and learning of American students to have appropriate skills for maintaining their lives in the 21st century. Teachers are supported by tools and resources to integrate and blend the content of knowledge and the specific skills and expertise when teaching the core academic subjects. It is believed that by using this approach it will facilitate American students to have success in work and life.
The implementation of 21st century skills in this framework requires students to have the development of knowledge and understanding in core academic subject areas in order to make students able to think critically, communicate effectively, solve problems and know how to build collaboration which are the essential skills for success in the world today.
Schools or districts build the required knowledge and skills on the foundation of this system by combining the entire Framework with the necessary support systems; standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development and learning environments, which will assist students to be more engaged in the learning process and to be more adequately prepared upon graduation to make a living in the new global economy.
Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes for students are:
Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics.
In addition, schools must promote an understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving the following interdisciplinary themes of the 21st century into core subjects:
• Global Awareness
• Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
• Civic Literacy
• Health Literacy
• Environmental Literacy
•Learning and Innovation Skills
• Creativity and Innovation
• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
• Communication and Collaboration
•Information, Media and Technology Skills
• Information Literacy
• Media Literacy
• ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy
•Life and Career Skills
• Flexibility and Adaptability
• Initiative and Self-Direction
• Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
• Productivity and Accountability
• Leadership and Responsibility
We can see that American educators have more awareness of the essential skills needed by American students to maintain their lives in the world society. The world in the 21st century is not the old world of the United States with an old attitude. They no longer have to worry about other countries in the same way they did in the past, when they were a super power.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”
I would like to give this piece of information to Thai educators to think critically about the essential skills needed by Thai students in the 21st century. When a super power nation like the United States has to prepare their students to be competitive, so that they can survive in the global economy, we must do something as well.
What do you think? L