16 Aug 2016

Skills Necessary for 21st Century Learners

Skills Necessary for 21st Century Learners

I came across an online article in Edutopia authored by Danna Richardson identifying skills necessary for 21st century learners.  In her article she outlines 5 core strategies to embed in future classrooms that prepare out students for success in a 21st century workforce.  In particular I spent time reflecting on exactly that- reflection.  She outlined, as one of the 5 strategies, that peer reflection must be an embedded instructional practice in classrooms.  I could not agree more.  During our adult working life, regardless of our profession or job, the vast majority of us will be required to collaborate with our peers to accomplish a professional task.  Those who are successful have learned to collaborate with others to leverage a successful outcome.  Very rarely is work accomplished in a vacuum.  Through personal and collaborative reflection/peer review we grow and our outcome is better.

The author cited key components for 21st Century learners:

  • An ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives
  • Critical and comparative thinking skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Comfort with ambiguity and change
  • An understanding of globally significant issues


Sadly, these skills necessary for 21st century learners are not taught nor fostered to a degree in schools today that will prepare our students for their working years.  Students must be taught and provided the safe environment to present their work to peers, solicit constructive feedback, examine differing points of views, edit and produce.  In doing so they become inquisitive, creative, problem solvers and take an active role in their learning.  Embedding peer review in classroom instruction is vital in preparing our students for their future.


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