21st Century Skills Every Student Must Have
Jun 10, 2019
By : Angel Cruz
The world is fast-changing. Can you keep up?
The turning of the 21st century opened a dynamic and exciting world for growth and development. More information, more technologies, and basically more of everything. These changes also brought shifts in mindsets and learning fit for students nowadays. (If you need proof, go ahead and ask your parents about their education.)
What worked before might not necessarily work today. That’s why students need to develop 21st-century skills a.k.a. skills they need to thrive in their careers during the Information Age. Don’t you want that? We know you do.
Stay relevant and keep up with the times. These 21st-century skills will help you do that!
1. Collaboration & teamwork: Making the teamwork work.
Two heads are better than one. That’s why collaboration and teamwork play a big role in 21st-century learning. Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, learning to work in teams, despite the differences, is an important skill to achieve better results. Guess it’s time to get all hands on deck for that group research due next week!
Things you can do to develop your collaborative and teamwork skills:
- Agree to a schedule within your team and stick to it! #SayNoToProcrastination
- Work better as a team by understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
2. Creativity & imagination: Thinking outside the box.
Ideas make the world go round. Don’t confine them in a box! Creative people know there is always more than one way to look at things, and it’s these ideas-big and small-that change the world. Learn to see concepts in a different light and let your imagination take flight. Who knows what innovation will come from your ideas? (Something awesome, probably!)
Things you can do to develop your creativity & imagination:
- Learn something new every day! Try out calligraphy, probably?
- Be a sponge. Find inspo in the books you read or movies you watch!
3. Critical thinking & problem-solving: Solving problems head-on.
Spoiler alert: You will have problems. Don’t worry. Everyone does! The question is, how will you go about it? Math problems and student problems might be two different things but they both require critical thinking and careful evaluation. Problems and solutions vary but solving it one step at a time always works.
Things you can do to develop your critical thinking & problem-solving skills:
- Ask a lot of questions, whether it’s in class or everyday conversations with your friends. Stay curious!
- Develop foresight. Make a pro and con list when making decisions.
4. Adaptability & flexibility: Embracing change as constant.
What do you do when things don’t go as planned? In a fast-changing and dynamic world we live in, being flexible is a skill that’ll save you time, effort, and stress. When plan A doesn’t work out, keep yourself open to plans B to Z! Nothing is set in stone and the sooner you adapt to change, the better prepared you’ll be as a person.
Things you can do to develop your adaptability & flexibility:
- Listen to multiple perspectives and keep an open mind.
- Always have a backup plan. You’ll never know!
5. Global & cultural awareness: Growing beyond borders.
Thanks to technology, the world continues to become smaller by the day! Communities go from offline to online real quick. Just imagine sending a chat to your friend on the other side of the globe! This connectedness, too, calls for more opportunities to grow as one global community—learning and exposing yourself to different peoples and cultures. Ever heard the saying, “The world is your classroom?” This might just be it IRL.
Things you can do to develop your global & cultural awareness:
- Go on a student exchange program!
- Learn a foreign language. (This will come in handy when you travel abroad.)
6. Information, media & tech literacy: Learning literacies.
We produce information more than we can consume. We consume media more than we need. We need technology more than ever. What do you need to do then, you ask? Educate yourself to be literate! Basic literacy is good, but information, media, and technology literacies are what you’ll need to thrive in a data-driven, media-saturated, and tech-savvy 21st century.
Things you can do to develop your information, media & tech literacy:
- Always, always fact-check your information sources when writing your school paper or sharing posts on social media. No to fake news!
- Free up some phone storage and download helpful study apps.
7. Leadership: Developing your leadership potential.
Not everyone is born a leader, but anyone can develop leadership skills! It’s also one of the more famous 21st-century skills because of the impact it can make in a person or a team. (Yup, it’s that important.) Whether it’s a class meeting, a group report, or a student council position, your leadership matters. Make it count!
Things you can do to develop your leadership skills:
- Volunteer to be the leader in one of your school projects. Go for it!
- Learn leadership lessons from people you look up to. Share a cup of coffee with a personal mentor or read up on your favorite leadership gurus! (We learned some lessons, too.)
8. Oral & written communication skills: Communicating effectively.
Of course, communication skills are on the list! But as crucial as it is, it’s also one of the skills that people often take for granted. Communication takes a lot of forms that it leaves room for confusion and misinterpretation. Develop good and effective communication skills. Not only will it help you slay your class reporting, but it will also give you an edge in your future career. You can take our word for it!
Things you can do to develop your oral & communication skills:
- Build your vocabulary by reading books, books, books!
- Watch TED talks about improving your communication skills.
9. Social responsibility & ethics: Being involved in society.
There is not a time in history when civil literacy and citizenship have been more important. With a never-ending list of social issues seen, read, and heard in the news, your active participation in nation-building starts as early as now. You can make a difference!
Things you can do to develop your social responsibility & ethics:
- Vote during elections.
- Obey traffic rules and use the pedestrian lane. (Start small!)
10. Initiative: Taking the lead.
There are two types of people: the people who do and the people who do without being told. Choose the latter! People with initiative create opportunities rather than waiting for it. Do you want to make the most out of your time in school? Start making your dreams happen. Go the extra mile. Not everyone will put in extra hours as you do, but you know well enough to know initiative always pays off.
Things you can do to develop your initiative skills:
- Start a personal project. (Even if there are no plus points in your grades)
- Take the lead in delegating tasks and sending updates in a group project.
The world is changing as you know it. Step up your game and keep up with its pace! Master these 21st-century skills, and make learning a lifestyle. We promise one day, you’re gonna look back and be glad you did.
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