Inculcating 21st century skills in our children

Trilling and Fadel, renowned writers of 21st century skills, recommend that students today should be able to communicate clearly, collaborate with others, think critically, solve problems, and be innovative and creative thinkers.

Question we need to address is, how to inculcate these skills in our children? Parents and teachers can easily support their children to develop these skills by involving them in real life situations, supporting them in making their own decisions and giving them different tasks and responsibilities to perform.

Project based learning, problem-based learning and design based learning are considered as significant to foster skills to collaborate with others and communicate effectively. As parents and teachers, we should also appreciate diversity and accept pluralism. This would create a healthy environment for our students to work effectively with their peers from different ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds.

Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful tool in helping develop critical thinking in our students. Parents and teachers can both consider asking questions to let students reason and ponder, instead of always providing them with solutions and answers.

Creativity and innovation can only be promoted in students if they are given space to think and come up with their own ideas. Isidor I. Rabi, a Nobel laureate physicist’s mother, asked him every day after school, did you ask a good question? This one question, he said, framed his whole life differently and he became a scientist. Role of parents and teachers in shaping young one’s thinking skills is eminent, therefore, both of these stakeholders need to provide maximum opportunities for unstructured play and hands-on material, such as puzzles and blocks, to be manipulated, in order to assist them to think out of the box.

*previous blog post by the TLU team has written in detail about critical thinking on July 21st, 2016