Conversations are happening right now — this very instant — about 21st Century Skills. And we’re not talking about a cup of coffee here and there. We’re talking about loads and loads of conversations are happening about 21st century skills. Students need them. But which are the most important?
We’ll be exploring some questions surrounding 21st Century Skills and 21st Century Students in the near future, but we want to give a quick overview to think about which skills are most important.
21st Century Students need more than just academic skills.
There are multiple frameworks by a variety of organizations who are thinking about this. We’re not the experts here. But based on the work done by the experts, let’s just say we’re confident in this reality. Twenty-First Century students need more than just “reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.”
21st Century Students will find that soft skills are more important than ever before.
You might argue that soft skills have always been incredibly important. This is a huge reason we focus so much on study skills (which are definitely in the soft skills category).
One company’s VP over recruitment recently told a group of job-seekers that the top 4 skills he saw that led to success in a high-pressure workplace included: “Planning and preparation” (basically your organization strategies), “Flexibility” (ability to adapt to multiple situations), “Breaks” (a key part of a comprehensive productivity strategy), and “Emotional Intelligence” (not a study skill, clearly; but still important in that ‘soft skills’ category).
21st Century Students will find that it isn’t just one study skill, but study skill areas, that matter most.
There are no magic bullets to study skills. No student just learned how to take handwritten notes and suddenly — BAM! — straight ‘A’s all the way. Academic success doesn’t really work like that.
Instead, we say students need proficiency in 3 big areas.
1. First, organization skills.
Eventually every student hopes to get a job with their education (well, every student’s parents hope that, anywho). Without quality organizational skills, no one will be able to get work done as quickly as it needs to be done. Things get lost. Co-workers get frustrated. And people get fired.
Students, now is the time to hone those organization skills.
2. Second, academic skills.
This has to do with how fast and effectively a student can learn. The world is changing quickly. If you don’t believe me (I’m sure you do), go find a telephone from 10 years ago. That’s all the proof you should need.
When change is so constant, students have to be able to flex, to adapt, and to learn. That’s what 21st Century Study Skills are all about, actually. Learning how to learn.
3. Third, a well-defined, internal motivation.
Is this a skill? We include it. It’s of serious importance. Internal drive will outlast parental or educator desires for a student every time. You can motivate them for a bit, sure. But long-term success will be almost entirely dependent upon your student’s personal drive.
We’ll talk more about how to improve your 21st century study skills. Until then, we’d love to hear what you think on social media — any skills you would add?