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As the twenty-first century runs it course it is increasingly unhelpful to talk of twenty-first century skills as if we either do not yet know what they are or somehow assume that they will remain the same for the next eight decades. The conversation needs to shift away from a rallying cry towards the detailed pedagogical design work needed by teachers to embed dispositions for learning in every aspect of the formal and informal life of school so that they will become habitual for all students, available to them for a lifetime of learning.
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Why we need to stop
talking about twenty-first
century skills
Bill Lucas
SEMINAR SERIES 283
Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) is the business name for IARTV ABN 33 004 055 556 283 MAY
2019
© 2019 Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Why we need to stop
talking about twenty-first
century skills
Bill Lucas
Contents
2 Imagining futures
3 The problem with the language of skill
6 Lazy thinking
9 A growing consensus about dispositions for success in life and learning
10 The real challenges for schools
ISSN 1838-8558 ISBN 978-1-925654-28-8
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Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 2
It is a characteristic of human beings to
want to look ahead and think about what
might happen next. Indeed our capacity to
anticipate and plan for new experiences is,
at least in part, why we have evolved as a
species so successfully.
So it was entirely natural that, as the year
2000 dawned, with all the extra pizazz of it
being a millennium milestone, the futurists
got to work. Buoyed up by the potential
for the so-called ‘millennium bug’ to shut
down virtual civilisation as we knew
it, and driven by genuine uncertainties
about the opportunities afforded by the
invention of the World Wide Web in the
1980s, speculation about what this might
mean for society in general and schools in
particular was rife.
In 1998 Google was invented and the
two decades that followed saw the birth
of Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006) and
Instagram (2010). Surfing on this wave of
human inventiveness were, and are, the
many tech companies that enable these
digital breakthroughs to flourish. It was
and is in the interests of such companies
to suggest that their products provide
solutions which bricks and mortar schools
cannot. The marketing device to create the
necessary sales climate in education was
the idea of ‘twenty-first century skills’.
According to the OED the first use of
the phrase ‘twenty-first century’ was by
novelist Dick Barton in 1964. However,
with the sense that it has when linked with
‘skills’, its earliest outing was by the Royal
Society of Arts in London, in its journal
in 1980, in the sentence ‘Everyone in the
country must adapt to twenty-first century
living and working patterns.’
Imagining futures
twenty-first century
adj.
characteristic of the imagined conditions of the twenty-first century.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
3| CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
For the last four decades the phrase
‘twenty-first century skills’ has become
ubiquitous. At its core, ‘twenty-first
century skills’ suggests that
1. there are some skills that are especially
relevant to the twenty-first century;
2. by implication, these skills are different
from those which we needed in the
twentieth century; and
3. these skills are somehow relevant for
a whole century.
Commonly identified twenty-first
century skills include critical thinking,
creativity, metacognition, problem solving,
collaboration, motivation, self-efficacy,
consciousness and perseverance (Lamb
et al, 2017).
Over the past decades ‘twenty-first
century skills’ has become a widely, and
uncritically accepted, educational meme.
The phrase has gathered many associations
with it, including ideas that
a digital, technology-driven world
requires some students to learn new
skills;
classrooms in schools no longer
have walls, given the global reach of
technology;
with technology, knowledge is much
less important if it can be acquired by
searching the Internet;
direct instruction by teachers is no
longer relevant;
in a world with so much data available,
knowing too many things might be a
waste of cognitive space; and
learning is life-long more than it is
school-based.
The notion of twenty-first century skills
both delights and infuriates. As a thinking
frame for considering the role of schools in
rapidly changing times, it seemed helpful
at first, seemingly inviting educators to
ask profound questions about learning.
Four decades on, the phrase is increasingly
irritating. Its use of the word ‘skill’ is
unhelpful. Its refusal to distinguish
between skills that are eternally useful,
as opposed to those which are legitimate
responses to the world we live in now, is
lazy. Also it distracts from a much more
interesting question: ‘What makes a good
learner?’ In the same period that twenty-
first century skills have been around as an
idea, we have developed considerable new
understanding from the learning sciences
about what it is to be a powerful learner,
as well as which methods work best to
cultivate such individuals.
A legitimate concern about what skills
students might need today has gradually
morphed into a mantra and, more recently,
into an uncritical movement. The danger
with this mutation is that the words have
acquired an evangelical fervour and started
to put off the very people who need to be
considering their role today, the majority
of thoughtful teachers across the world.
For this group twenty-first skills can seem
jingoistic, simplistic or distracting.
The problem with
the language of skill
skill
noun
the ability to do something well; expertise.
OED
There are many kinds of skills that we
might want young people to acquire. Some
of these will serve them well at school and
in examinations – accurately retrieving and
transcribing information acquired months
ago, sitting still for protracted periods of
time, writing certain kinds and amounts of
text against the clock. Some will be useful
in later life – reading a map on paper or
on a device when you are lost; asking for
A legitimate
concern about
what skills
students might
need today
has gradually
morphed into
a mantra and,
more recently,
into an uncritical
movement.
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 4
help when stuck; working with people
from different cultures and backgrounds.
Some have value in both contexts.
At its simplest, a skill is a ‘learned
capacity to do something useful’ (Lucas
and Claxton, 2009). However, the word
‘skill’ can somehow seem too unsubtle a
concept to distinguish between, say, tying
your shoelaces or judging the relative
veracity of a primary historical source
and a Wikipedia entry. For this reason the
notion of ‘wider skills’ (Lucas and Claxton,
2009) seems helpful. It is suggestive of
lifelong value, something which might be
of use in different contexts. A decade later,
the Brookings Institute is using a similar
idea in talking of the need for a ‘breadth
of skills’.1
Those using the idea of twenty-first century
skills are often reaching towards the idea
of wider or broader skills. However, at
the same time as the phrase has been
in use, the world has witnessed an
extraordinary proliferation of words and
phrases seeking to capture these elusive
concepts. These include – alphabetically
– ability, attribute, capacity, capability,
character, characteristic, cognitive skill,
competence, competency, cross-functional
skill, disposition, habit of mind, non-
cognitive skill, skill, soft skill, trait,
transferable skill, transversal skill and
wider skill.
Since the Melbourne Declaration
(MCEETYA, 2008), Australia has
chosen to use the word ‘capability’. The
Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) uses the word
‘competency’. Psychologists tend to
use ‘trait’, which for many implies a
certain fixedness. Employers often refer
to ‘soft’ skills, unhelpfully diminishing
their importance. Economists and
some educational researchers use ‘non-
cognitive’, which perpetuates an unhelpful
distinction between cognitive (ie, relating
to mastery in an academic subject) and
non-cognitive (ie, more akin to ‘soft’
social skills). Those in one branch of
education conceiving a more expansive
purpose for schooling use the word
‘character’ to indicate their interest in
all-rounded education with an explicitly
moral dimension.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
uses a most cumbersome expression,
‘transversal skills’ (Care and Luo, 2016),
while the meaning of the phrase
‘transferable skills’ is helpfully clear in its
intention. Various educators have used the
notion of ‘habit of mind’ (Resnick, 1999;
Costa and Kallick, 2002) and ‘disposition’
(Perkins, 1995; Claxton, 2004; Lucas et al,
2013). Figure 1 expresses this word soup
diagrammatically.
Employers
often refer to
‘soft’ skills,
unhelpfully
diminishing
their importance.
Figure 1. The varied language of skills
5| CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Each term comes freighted with
associations, but unless we can define
what we are seeking to discuss, we are
unlikely to be able to teach or assess it well.
Terms like ‘knowledge’ and ‘skill’ have
established meanings, but teachers are
put off by the proliferation of vocabulary
in this field and can easily assume that it
suggests a lack of rigour and evidence.
Recently the OECD (2016) has offered a
model of education for the decade ahead,
which seeks to show the relationships
between knowledge, skills, attitudes and
values (see Figure 2). In the OECD model
knowledge, skills, attitudes and values
are seen as interconnected and interacting
to produce competencies. Capabilities or
competencies are, in effect, knowledge,
skill, values and attitudes in action.
Of particular note in the OECD model is the
recognition of the nuances within the words
‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’. ‘Knowledge’ is
explicitly interdisciplinary as well as
disciplinary. ‘Skills’ are cognitive and
metacognitive, as well as being social
and emotional. Both ‘knowledge’ and
‘skills’ have a practical component. There
is, arguably, one more conceptual stage
beyond ‘capabilities’ or ‘competencies’,
suggesting that the outcome of schooling
is not only about being capable within
school, but also about routinely deploying
capabilities in a range of real-world
settings. Figure 3 on page 6 shows this
progression.
A ‘capability’ is a cluster of knowledge
and skills, an interweaving of knowledge,
skills, attitudes and values that form the
competencies that drive actions. A ‘habit’
or ‘disposition’ is all of these and their
routine deployment in a range of different
contexts.
Take perseverance as an example. You
might know that it is useful and that it
involves dealing with feelings when you
are stuck. You might have developed
skills such as being comfortable with
ambiguity and asking for help. You might
be seen as a capable ‘perseverer’ by
one of your teachers when working, for
example, with maths equations. However,
unless you routinely choose to deploy
your persevering capability in a range of
settings, it is not something that you are
routinely disposed to use.
The language of twenty-first century skills
can so easily perpetuate a misunderstanding
about how knowledge and skill are applied
in the real world, underestimating the role
of habit and context.
teachers are
put off by the
proliferation of
vocabulary in
this field and can
easily assume
that it suggests a
lack of rigour and
evidence
Figure 2. The future of education and skills: OECD Education 2030 Framework
ActionCompetencies
Knowledge
Disciplinary knowledge
Interdisciplinary knowledge
Practical knowledge
Cognitive and meta-cognitive skills
Social and emotional skills
Physical and practical skills Skills
Attitudes
& Values
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 6
Lazy thinking
If the language of skills is unhelpful, so
too is some core thinking behind their
association with the twenty-first century.
I recently came across a book, (Kletzing
and Kletzing, 1898) written at the dawn
of the twentieth century in the USA. It
extols the importance of certain wider
skills or character attributes including:
adaptability, concentration, energy, grit,
patience, perseverance, persistence and
self-control. It is an astonishingly modern-
seeming list, especially with the inclusion
of adaptability and grit.
The point of my observation, however, is
that it was written more than a hundred
years ago. The Kletzing brothers might
have marketed their character attributes as
a set of new twentieth century skills, of the
kind that all schools should be promoting
as the world moved on from the industrial
revolution of the nineteenth century, but
they did not. They simply argued for their
enduring importance.
Wind the clock back still further to the
6th century BC and look at Confucianist
thinking in China. It overlaps uncannily
with the kinds of twenty-first century
skills represented in, for example, the
Partnership for 21st century learning
framework (Trilling and Fadel, 2009).
With the assistance of Chinese scholar
Leonard Tan’s 2016 paper, Confucius:
Philosopher of Twenty-first Century Skills,
you might be intrigued to appreciate
the timeless elements of these wider
skills that were valued two and half
millennia ago. Such skills included
deep critical thinking, synthesising, the
application of knowledge, communication,
collaboration and the patient questioning
associated with creativity. There is one
difference interestingly. Where a goal of
contemporary creativity might be real-
world innovations with monetary value,
for Confucius creativity was strictly an
ethical endeavour to make a better world.
From these two examples, one American,
one Chinese, it is clear that the defining
aspect of any grouping of ‘skills’ is their
usefulness, not the time in which they
were conceived. So for the twenty-first
century tag we would need to understand
more precisely what has changed from,
say, the end of the twentieth and the start
of the twenty-first century, which calls on
schools to cultivate different skills.
If the language
of skills is
unhelpful, so
too is some core
thinking behind
their association
with the twenty-
first century.
Figure 3. From knowledge and skills to dispositions via capabilities (Lucas, 2017)
Knowledge
Know what Know how Know what +
how + be
able to do it
Know what + how
+ why + when +
routinely
choose to do it
Skills Capabilities/
Attributes
Habits/
Dispositions
7| CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Reaching a consensus as to what is and
is not likely to be different in the coming
years is contentious territory, but most
commentators agree about some of the
main trends. These include
1. the increasing complexity of problems
such as climate change, global
migration and growing resistance to
life-saving drugs;
2. the ubiquity of data – it was never
possible for schools to teach everything
and these days they are selecting from
an ever-expanding menu;
3. the proliferation of knowledge sources
from the Internet and wider digital
world;
4. the increasing interconnectedness
and global nature of our relationships;
5. the potential of automation via
Artificial Intelligence and its impact,
often contested, on life and work;
6. increased self-employment; and
7. an ageing society.
In direct response to each of these
elements it can be argued that the kinds of
capabilities, competencies or dispositions
that we need are likely to include
1. complex problem-solving that is
frequently multi- and inter-disciplinary
by nature and always ethically driven;
2. critical thinking and high-level project
and time management;
3. digital literacy, design and computat-
ional thinking;
4. intercultural collaborative problem
solving and emotional and social
intelligence;
5. creativity, adaptability, metacognition;
6. creativity, communication, adaptability;
and
7. learning to learn.
While each disposition broadly maps on to
its equivalent number, it is not so simple;
the categories are much more permeable.
The World Economic Forum (WEF)
response over a number of years now has
been to describe the kinds of skills needed
as shown in Figure 4.
21st Century Skills
LIFELONG LEARNING
Foundation Literacies
How students apply core
skills to everyday tasks
Competencies
How students approach
complex challenges
Character Qualities
How students approach
their changing environment
1. Literacy
2. Numerousy
3. Scientific
literacy
4. ICT literacy
5. Financial
literacy
6. Cultural and
civic literacy
7. Critical thinking/
problem solving
8. Creativity
9. Communication
10. Collaboration
11. Curiosity
12. Initiative
13. Persistence/grit
14. Adaptability
15. Leadership
16. Social and cultural
awareness
Figure 4. 16 skills for the
twenty-first century (World
Economic Forum, 2015)
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 8
Like any framework, the WEF’s has
advantages and disadvantages. On the
plus side it is a sensible and evidence-
based list, albeit with a critical omission
– metacognition or learning to learn. Its
three categories of literacies, competencies
and character qualities raise questions
and provide answers. Positioning ICT as a
core literacy makes sense but the absence
of an explicit interest in being ethical
(something the Australian Curriculum
includes with its Ethical Understanding
capability) is curious.
The four competencies all make good
sense, but the character qualities are
something of a muddle. Curiosity sits much
more naturally with the competencies, and
having grit and leadership in the same
grouping creates an ‘apples and pears’ issue
of putting two items of different scope and
kind together. Adaptability is clearly a core
disposition for anyone seeking to deal with
a changing environment.
With Guy Claxton I have wondered
whether it is more helpful to think about
these kinds of things in terms of being most
related to being a good learner (epistemic)
or a good person (prosocial) (see Table 1).
Take away the title of Figure 4, Twenty-first
century skills, and the list makes more
sense. For the foundational literacies are
not skills in the sense that most people
understand them. They are bodies of
knowledge from which useful skills can
be derived and developed. Combine
the WEF’s competencies and character
qualities and you have a set of useful topics
that can each be framed as dispositions,
ways of thinking and being, which, taken
together, are likely to produce well-
educated young men and women.
The final laziness of framing skills (or
competencies for that matter) as applying
to a whole century is obvious but irksome.
If an underpinning argument is that we are
in turbulent, fast-moving times and need a
changed set of skills, then it is plainly silly
to assume that what we need to learn now
is the same as what we will need to learn
in 10 or 30 or 80 years from now.
This problem of imprecise thinking
applies especially to the most obviously
new aspect of recent life, the digital
world into which we ventured sometime
in the last few decades of the twentieth
century, the move from tape cassettes
and cds to digital downloads, diaries to
blogs and vlogs. Whether the digital world
requires new skills per se, as opposed to
new or significantly different skills used
in a digital environment, needs careful
exploration.
Table 1. The ‘moral’ and ‘learning’ aspects of capability
Whether the
digital world
requires new
skills per se, as
opposed to new
or significantly
different skills
used in a digital
environment,
needs careful
exploration.
Prosocial
Kind (not callous)
Generous (not greedy)
Forgiving (not vindictive)
Tolerant (not bigoted)
Trustworthy (not deceitful)
Morally brave (not apathetic)
Convivial (not egotistical)
Ecological (not rapacious)
Epistemic
Inquisitve (not passive)
Resilient (not easily defeated)
Imaginative (not literal)
Craftsmanlike (not slapdash)
Sceptical (not credulous)
Collaborative (not selfish)
Thoughtful (not impulsive)
Practical (not only 'academic')
9| CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
A recent systematic review of the
relationship between ‘21st century skills’
and digital skills (Van Laar et al, 2017)
exemplifies this problem. The authors
rightly identify the various technical skills
involved in using devices and navigating
online worlds, as well as some specific
information management issues relating
to searching, selecting and organising
data. Then, however, they uncritically list
communication, collaboration, creativity,
critical thinking and problem solving, as
if these are now required because of the
demands of online living.
It is certainly arguable that the Internet
requires constant application of critical
thinking skills to sift evidence from
assertion, and that its reach demands real-
time and asynchronous collaboration with
people across the world. However, these
skills are valuable in and of themselves
and have been for many centuries.
A growing consensus
about dispositions
for success in life
and learning
While the debate about twenty-first
century skills has been going on, a quiet
consensus has been emerging about the
kinds of dispositions that young people
need to get on at school and beyond. The
five lists in Table 2 are indicative.
Each of these seven or so wider skills
or capabilities frameworks has been
drawn from research – research from
fields spanning employment, technology,
education, psychology, education and the
learning sciences. There are many more
and these five are illustrative only.
The point of including them is simply to
show the considerable overlap that exists.
Table 2. Skills for a lifetime of learning
European
Parliament 2007,
Key Competences
for Lifelong
Learning
Pellegrino
and Hilton
2 012
Gutman
and Schoon
2013
Heckman
and Kautz
2013
Lamb et al
2 017
Communication
in mother tongue
Communication
in foreign
languages
Digital
competence
Learning to learn
Social and civic
competencies
Sense of
initiative and
entrepreneurship
Cultural
awareness and
expression
Critical thinking
Information
literacy
Reasoning
Innovation
Intellectual
openness
Work ethic
Conscientiousness
Positivity
Communication
Collaboration
Responsibility
Conflict resolution
Motivation
Perseverance
Self-control
Metacognitive
strategies
Social
competencies
Resilience and
coping
Creativity
Perseverance
Self-control
Trust
Attentiveness
Self-esteem and
self-efficacy
Resilience to
adversity
Openness to
experience
Empathy
Humility
Tolerance of
diverse opinions
Engaging
productively in
society
Critical thinking
Creativity
Metacognition
Problem solving
Collaboration
Motivation
Self-efficacy
Conscientiousness
Perseverance
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 10
We are all living longer; babies born
today are likely to live until they are 100
years old (Gratton and Scott, 2016). The
old formula of school–work–retirement
is over, with the potential for us not to
see front-loading our lives with learning
in quite the same way. While the pattern
globally is towards employment as the
prevailing labour market model,2 in some
countries – the UK is a good example –
there is a significant move towards being
self-employed; towards the gig economy
as it has been called. The number of
self-employed workers has increased
from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in
2017, according to the Office for National
Statistics.3
It is possible to see how an aspect of
each disposition might be redefined by
or made more useful for dealing with
current challenges and, therefore, how it
might impact on what schools do. Using
the most recent of the five frameworks in
Table 2 (Lamb et al, 2018) as an exemplar,
they might be refined as follows.
Critical thinking – The proliferation
of digital data, often with unclear
affiliations and uncertain reliability,
makes critical thinking even more
important than it always has been from
the days of the newspaper and the street
corner soap box.
Creativity – Complex problems and an
increasingly self-employed workforce
call for fresh, innovative thinking, the
making of new connections. Creative
thinking leads to the generation of
financial and human capital; it is a core
differentiator between human beings
and increasingly smart machines, in a
world where AI is exercising growing
influence.
Also there is
widespread
agreement that
there is a set of
dispositions –
knowledge, skills
and capabilities
routinely and
often non-
consciously
deployed –
which are useful
both in the tests
of school and
of life.
Such wider skills can grow into capabilities
or competencies, which can become any
learner’s default dispositions, learned and
then practised in many different contexts.
Such lists remind us that how you are
disposed to think about things is important.
It matters whether, for example, you
believe working in groups with many
different viewpoints is a good idea, or
whether you assume that mistakes are a
natural part of learning, which therefore
calls on perseverance.
Apart from the word digital in the
European Key Competences, these wider
skills are far more timeless than they are
of the twenty-first century. Also there is
widespread agreement that there is a set
of dispositions – knowledge, skills and
capabilities routinely and often non-
consciously deployed – which are useful
both in the tests of school and of life.
The real challenges
for schools
So what is different or noteworthy about
the century into whose third decade we
have nearly slipped?
New digital technologies, clearly, have a
major impact. They contribute ceaselessly
to the production of data and enable
almost every nook of the world to be inter-
connected.
An exploding world population and an
inequity of resource distribution, coupled
to certain aggressive belief systems and
a growing concern about the impact of
climate change has, arguably, created
some of the most complex and seemingly
intractable problems for human beings to
wrestle with.
11 | CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Metacognition – Thinking about how
we learn in a range of contexts is
essential if we are to be active learners
beyond school and to improve our
own capabilities throughout our lives.
Being able to learn whatever we want
to throughout our life is more important
the longer we live.
Problem solving – The kinds of problem
solving we need today call for deep
interdisciplinary and intercultural
understanding, and the ways in which
individuals and teams across the world
can use both online and face-to-face
interactions to work with complex
challenges.
Collaboration – Without collaborative
working we would not, for example,
have created the Hadron Collider
or unravelled the human genome
and gone on to create the National
Geographic Genographic Project.4
Neither will we be able to think through
how to deal with complex issues like
climate change or food security or the
migrations resulting from wars and
economic depression. It is axiomatic
that complex or ‘wicked’ problems call
for collaborative and interdisciplinary
working as well as deep knowledge of
one or more domains.
Motivation – Seeing a goal through to
its conclusion, or at least to a next stage,
has always been important; these days
the opportunities for distraction are
enormous, not least from social media.
Recent research by McKinsey (Denoël
et al, 2018) using the extensive PISA
student database found that ‘calibration
motivation’, ‘the ability to identify what
motivation looks like in day-to-day life
(including doing more than expected
and working on tasks until everything
is perfect)’, is even more important
than home background in predicting
achievement.
Self-efficacy – A learner’s belief in her/
his own agency, along with motivation
and self-regulation, is of timeless
importance. What has changed in the
last few decades is our recognition of its
importance and better understanding
of the mechanisms by which it works.
Carol Dweck (2006) has shown that
‘growth mindset’ is central to good
learning. The belief that mistakes are a
good thing – prototypes or early drafts
on the way to a better performance
– represents a significant shift in our
understanding. Dweck’s research
has shown us that what matters is to
focus on the way learners deploy their
discretionary effort, on their learning
strategies.
Conscientiousness – This personality
‘trait’ has historically been strongly
associated with achievement. Perhaps
because it is one of the ‘big 5 personality
types’ it is sometimes seen as fixed or
heritable. In fact, the best estimate of its
heritability is 40–50 per cent (Roberts
and Jackson, 2008), meaning that it is
very much something that is learnable.
Perseverance – One of a large number
of important attributes associated
with tenacity (Lucas and Spencer,
2018), including persistence and
grit, this has a long association with
successful learning as we saw earlier.
What has changed is the way in which
it has moved from being thought of
as something largely inherited to a
disposition that you can learn and
develop. Historically many schools
have used ‘achievement’ and ‘effort’
as the two ways in which they report
to parents on their children’s progress.
Increasingly we will need to focus
more on how rather than whether
learners deploy their effort, to notice
the strategies they use to persevere in
the face of difficulty.
Increasingly
we will need to
focus more on
how rather than
whether learners
deploy their
effort, to notice
the strategies they
use to persevere
in the face of
difficulty.
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 12
Whatever we call ‘twenty-first century
skills’, there is growing agreement that
there is a set of near-timeless dispositions
which, taken together, make a powerful
learner.
Hidden within this broad consensus there
are two aspects of school life that are still
undervalued: group activity and oracy.
Despite the inclusion of collaboration in
many contemporary frameworks, it being
an underpinning idea of the World Wide
Web and a focus on collaborative problem
solving by PISA (OECD, 2017), students
are only ever, in most schools, assessed as
individuals. The nearest they get to their
collaborative efforts being appreciated
are when they are on the sports field or
in drama, music or dance performances.
Yet in the workplace team and group
interactions count for much more.
In similar vein, although they may from
time to time be asked to give a talk or
contribute to a debate, the widespread
focus on literacy seems to be contributing
to an undervaluing of the importance
of oracy. Digital skills such as TED-type
talks and the production of YouTube-like
channels can both be ways of developing
aspects of oracy, but there is a more
fundamental shift needed by schools to
understand the complexity and richness
of this area. One school in the UK, School
21, in partnership with the University of
Cambridge, has made significant strands
here.5
The cause of these two imbalances may
be as simple as the fact that pupils
are assessed as individuals and almost
everything that is valued in schools is
validated by analysing writing – often
against the clock – not speaking.
A further challenge for schools is that
everything is framed by school timetables
which, the world over, are dominated
by short chunks of time called lessons,
which take as their identifier a subject or
discipline such as Maths or Geography or
Dance.
The problem is not that subjects focus
our minds on knowledge. That is a good
thing. Knowledge matters, and the wider
skills described thus far need to sit within
knowledge domains and within more
messy real-world contexts. Neither is the
problem a new one; good teachers have for
a long while rued the moment when the
interests of their students seem to be being
limited by staying within the boundaries
of a syllabus or subject discipline. The
problem is that, from a very early stage in
school, pupils can easily see the world in
terms of the subjects that appear on their
timetable.
The phenomenon of the school timetable is
in part good sense, in that novice learners
need to get on top of some basic knowledge
before they tackle its interrelationship with
other domains. However, to have a school
system predicated on increased isolated
specialism is counter-intuitive. It also goes
against what we are learning about the
wider concept of cognitive apprenticeship,
which focuses more on understanding the
relationships between knowledge systems,
and how a better understanding of this can
help to improve the transfer of learning
from one context to another, surely the
Holy Grail of all school systems.
One helpful way of thinking about the
balance between deep knowledge and
helpful learning dispositions is the idea
of ‘T-shaped’ learners. T-shaped is a
metaphor to suggest that as well as deep
knowledge in one or more areas (indicated
by the stem of the letter) today’s learners
need a range of dispositions as well (the
horizontal line in the letter).
the widespread
focus on literacy
seems to be
contributing to
an undervaluing
of the importance
of oracy.
13 | CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Many schools are still organised as if the
goal is, to continue the letter metaphor, to
produce either ‘I’ shaped learners, with
‘knowledgeable about a few subjects,
or ‘–’ shaped, confidently generalist in
many domains – what is often referred to
by school leaders as the result of a broad
and balanced curriculum. The devil is
in the detail here and the language we
use is important. It is more complex than
an ‘either knowledge or skills’ argument
and the ‘T’ metaphor is not unhelpful
in reminding us of the important role of
wider skills.
Research by the Brookings Institution (Care
et al, 2016) has shown that the kinds of
wider skills or dispositions we have been
exploring are beginning to filter their way
into schools across the world (see Figure
5). The data show that 51 countries have
specifically identified skills across the
subjects of the curriculum, and 11 have not
just identified wider or broader skills but
developed skills progression frameworks
for them. This is a much better indication
of a real commitment to action, rather than,
as can all too easily happen when waving
the twenty-first century skills ‘banner’, a
vaguer allegiance to a ‘movement’.
The National Research Council of the
USA (Pellegrino and Hilton, 2012) has
contributed thoughtfully to these issues
with a definition of twenty-first century
skills.
We view 21st century skills as knowledge
that can be transferred or applied in new
situations. This transferable knowledge
includes both content knowledge in a
domain and also procedural knowledge
of how, why and when to apply this
knowledge to answer questions and
solve problems.
While the problem of loose wording
remains with the continuing use of the
twenty-first century tag, the focus on
transferring different kinds of knowledge
being the distinguishing element is
interesting. Using something you have
learned in another context to help you
answer questions and solve problems is
certainly useful, as in the emphasis on
learning transfer more generally. However,
the use being suggested (answering and
solving) is strangely limited. Why not
challenging, critiquing or questioning, for
example?
Figure 5. The incidence of broader skills in national curricula (Care et al, 2016)
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Vision/Mission
Statement Skills
Identified
Policy Documents/Identification
Skills in
Curriculum Skills
Progression
Number of Countries
36
76
11
51
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 14
Two other helpful perspectives in this
discussion come from the thinking being
generated by the Learning Power Approach
(Claxton, 2018), in the UK, and New
Pedagogies for Deeper Learning, (Fullan
and Langworthy, 2014), developed in
Canada.
Guy Claxton explores in detail the ways in
which schools can develop learners who are
curious, proactive, intrinsically motivated,
independent-minded, thoughtful, open-
minded, adventurous, robust, resilient,
critical and sceptical. Michael Fullan’s
concept is of deep learning, talking of
developing
the learning, creating and ‘doing’
dispositions that young people need to
thrive now and in their futures. Premised
on the unique powers of human inquiry,
creativity, and purpose, new pedagogies
are unleashing students’ and teachers’
energy and excitement in new learning
partnerships that find, activate and
cultivate the deep learning potential
in all of us.
Both of these approaches are now being
used across the world, demonstrating
another aspect of contemporary curriculum
development that it is no longer a national
phenomenon but much more of a global
market for good ideas.
In thinking about the wider system it
may be helpful to talk of ‘expansive
education’, (Lucas, Claxton and Spencer,
2013). This concept is framed to widen our
notions of what schools are about, in four
dimensions. First there is an explicit focus
on developing both learning dispositions
and knowledge. Second, it reframes
intelligence to encompass evidence on the
importance of encouraging the kinds of
mindsets that enable learners to deal with
complexity and difficulty. Third, it seeks
to expand horizons beyond the school
gates to engage with the outside world and
local community, and actively to welcome
engagement with experts other than
teachers, important as they are. Finally,
expansive education rethinks the role of
teacher to become at least as much about
learning as about teaching, modelling
the kinds of dispositions in their own
behaviours that they seek to cultivate in
young people, being action researchers in
name or at least in spirit in all that they do.
Figure 6. Pedagogies for Expansive Education (Lucas, Claxton and Spencer, 2013)
Expandable
Authentic
Questioning
Practice
Extended
Workshop
Group
High
Virtual
Facilitative
Fixed
Contrived
Certain
Theory
Bell-bound
Classroom
Individual
Hidden
Face-to-face
Didactic
Attitude to talent
Nature of activities
Attitude to knowledge
Means of knowing
Organisation of time
Organisation of space
Approach to tasks
Visibility of processes
Proximity to teacher
Role of the teacher
15 | CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
Expansive education, learning power and
new pedagogies for deeper learning all
shift the debate away from the what to
the how of learning, focusing at least as
much attention on pedagogy as on skills
or capabilities or dispositions. Figure 6
shows ten expansive choices that teachers
need to make whenever they are designing
learning experiences. In most cases neither
end of each of the continua is ‘right’
or ‘wrong’, although when it comes to
thinking about talent or the visibility of
learning processes, research would suggest
that we might want to be on the left-hand
side of the figure.
The words in the centre of each of the
ten lines invite teachers to reflect on
some choices they will need to make as
they design any learning experience. It
is important not to see these as binary
choices. So, for example, where it has
become fashionable in some circles to extol
or deride didactic or facilitative approaches
to instruction, this is an unhelpful position.
For the answer would depend on what
outcomes were desired. Providing a clear
framework of knowledge from which to
work, or an expert demonstration of a new
process, might suggest a more didactic
approach, while setting up an extended
investigation might call for an approach
that was more facilitative.
Schools which are effective in explicitly
embedding the kinds of wider skills or
dispositions we have been considering
tend to go through a four-step process (see
Figure 7).
Step 1 requires real, detailed and specific
understanding of the desired disposition
(as opposed to the generalised twenty-
first century approach). Step 2 is largely
cultural, recognising that if we want to
cultivate resilient, creative, collaborative
young people then the ecosystem of school
needs to be conducive, with teachers
modelling the dispositions they want to
see in their students. Stage 3 demands
skilful instructional design, selecting
teaching and learning methods that are
likely both to strengthen the disposition
and work well in the context of the specific
disciplinary domain. So, for example, a
science teacher wanting to help students
to develop their resilience and creativity
Figure 7. A four step process for embedding capabilities
(Lucas and Spencer, 2018)
STEP 1
Develop a real
understanding of
the capabilities.
STEP 2
Establish the
classroom climate:
teacher modelling,
language and
rewards which show
a consistent approach
to pedagogy.
STEP 3
Manage the
learning: methods
chosen to deliver
pedagogical
flexibility for
different outcomes.
STEP 4
Build learner
engagement
and commitment
to the capability.
Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills | 16
might organise a session that required
students to select their own equipment for
an experiment and learn some techniques
for generating ideas as part of the inquiry
process. Step 4 is a reminder that student
agency and motivation is an essential goal,
something that can be built both within the
formal curriculum and in more expansive
extra-curricular or off-site opportunities.
Alongside these four steps are three key
principles.
1. We need to value knowledge and
dispositions equally, by stressing
their importance at every stage of the
learning, assessment and reporting
processes. If this does not happen
then dispositions will be largely
invisible in schools, which are still
dominated by subject timetables.
Thus a teacher might say: ‘Today we
are going to explore the history of the
early settlers in Australia and at the
same time we will be developing our
ability to think critically, looking at
sources to understand more about their
perspectives and potential biases.’
2. It will be important to select and
practise thinking routines relevant to
any learning disposition, recognising
dispositions can be less obvious to
grasp than the knowledge that makes
up the subjects of the curriculum.
Thinking routines are to dispositions
as grammar is to language, or number to
numeracy: the building blocks of ways
of being and doing. So ‘think–pair–
share’ is a useful way of developing a
collaborative approach to developing
ideas or exploring a point of view.
3. We must clearly specify learning
progressions (Masters and Forster,
1997) for the kinds of dispositions
that increasingly are agreed to be
the hallmark of powerful learners.
Such progressions would detail,
potentially over two-year periods, clear
descriptions of the relevant capability
and its associated knowledge and
skills, as well as empirically derived
descriptions of the behaviours we
might expect to see as learners progress
from simple to complex, novice to
expert.
Creating an expansive education system
in general, and schools in particular –
which focus on the development of expert
learners, young men and women who are
knowledgeable, skilful and capable and
who routinely choose to deploy their
capabilities in many different contexts – is
surely worth focusing on.
The kinds of questions we may wish
to explore involve the intersection of
dispositions and subject and real-world
domains.
How best can critical thinking be
embedded in science?
Which creative techniques work well
for solving new problems in maths?
Which aspects of metacognition
might best be introduced, in which
subject and at what stage of a student’s
development?
How can we best teach students to
apply problem solving, learned in class,
to lives outside school?
How can we help learners develop ways
of motivating themselves, to give their
best shot to areas of learning at school
or beyond that currently they do not
find easy or enjoyable?
In terms of self-efficacy and the
development of a growth mindset,
how best can a whole school focus on
helping students to learn how to believe
‘think-pair-share’
is a useful way
of developing
a collaborative
approach to
developing ideas
or exploring a
point of view
17 | CSE Seminar Series Paper #283 May 2019
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movement-in-education/
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CSE/IARTV PUBLICATIONS
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Leading the education debate Volume 4: Selected papers from the CSE’s Seminar Series and Occasional Papers,
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Recent titles in the Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series
No. 284 Sustaining system-wide change: Investing in leadership and building leadership capacity
by Robyn Baker (May 2019)
No. 283 Why we need to stop talking about twenty-first century skills by Bill Lucas (May 2019)
No. 282 School accountability: Time for a reset? by Peter Cole and Dahle Suggett (March 2019)
No. 281 The best teaching in the world: Lessons from the International Summits on the Teaching Profession
by Vivien Stewart (March 2019)
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No. 279 Change from within: Achieving sustainable school improvement through a more balanced approach
by Peter Adams (November 2018)
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No. 277 A new narrative for schools in Australia: Benchmarking student achievement, professional autonomy
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No. 273 Australia’s school reform strategy has failed. What now? by Dean Ashenden (April 2018)
No. 272 Assessment, credentialling and recognition in the digital era: Recent developments in a fertile field
by Sandra K Milligan, Gregor E Kennedy and David Israel (February 2018)
No. 271 Educating for a digital future by Marc Tucker (February 2018)
No. 270 The leadership imperative: Designing systemic approaches to school leadership development
by Simon Breakspear (December 2017)
No. 269 Student agency: Learning to make a difference by Charles Leadbeater (December 2017)
No. 268 ‘Walking the talk’ matters in the use of evidence for transformative education
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No. 267 Towards an adaptive education system in Australia by Peter Goss (September 2017)
No. 266 Future directions in New Zealand schooling: The case for transformation by Rob McIntosh (July 2017)
No. 265 Students who dare to learn differently: Then, now and in the future by John Munro (July 2017)
No. 264 Wisdom in education: Promoting emotional and social intelligence by Paul G Power (April 2017)
No. 263 System leadership: A precondition for system improvement by Ross Kimber (April 2017)
No. 262 The unintended outcomes of decentralisation: How the middle tier may be influencing teacher
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Bill Lucas
About the Author
Bill Lucas is Professor of Learning and Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at
the University of Winchester in the UK. Bill is an academic adviser on creativity to Arts
Council England, the chair of Eton’s research and innovation centre, a patron of the
Pegasus Theatre in Oxford and a member of the LEGO Foundation’s advisory board.
In 2017 Bill was appointed to be co-chair of the new PISA 2021 test of Creative
thinking, which will draw on his acclaimed five-dimensional model for creativity.
Bill is currently advising the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority in
Australia on the implementation of the new national capabilities curriculum, and has
worked extensively across Australia over the past six years. Recently Bill has taken on
the part-time role of Director of Learning: Fellowship Programme for the Healthcare
Improvement Studies Institute at the University of Cambridge.
Bill is a prolific writer, and has authored more than eighty books and many research
reports. His latest books, written with Ellen Spencer, are Developing Tenacity: Creating
Learners Who Persevere in the Face of Difficulty and Teaching Creative Thinking:
Developing Learners Who Have Fresh Ideas and Think Critically. His acclaimed critique
in 2015 of the education system in England, Educating Ruby: What Our Children Really
Need to Learn, written with Guy Claxton, asks challenging questions about the future
direction of schools. In 2018 his report for the Mitchell Institute, Capable Country:
Cultivating Capabilities in Australian Education, suggested a route map for Australia
for implementing the Melbourne Declaration in all schools.
About the Paper
As the twenty-first century runs it course it is, argues Professor Lucas, increasingly
unhelpful to talk of twenty-first century skills as if we either do not yet know what
they are or somehow assume that they will remain the same for the next eight decades.
The conversation, Lucas suggests, needs to shift away from a rallying cry towards the
detailed pedagogical design work needed by teachers to embed dispositions for learning
in every aspect of the formal and informal life of school, so that they will become
habitual for all students, available to them for a lifetime of learning.
About the Seminar Series
This series of papers, by leading educators, is based primarily on seminar presentations.
The series is intended to encourage discussion of major issues in education. Views expressed
by the authors do not necessarily represent views of the Centre for Strategic Education.
Comments on papers are most welcome.
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... Today there is a growing belief that it is time to recognise the additional skills and dispositions needed for our complex world. Synthesising research over the last two decades (Lucas, 2019), we might like to think of these newer foundational 'literacies' as the 3Cs of Communication, Collaboration and Creative thinking 2 . ...
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While interest in creative thinking in schools is growing across the world, detailed understanding of its implementation in educational jursidictions and, most importantly, in schools is hard to come by. Drawing on a range of published materials and on the insights of existing networks of schools and researchers engaged in creative thinking, the report offers a snapshot of where we are today. It is designed to stimulate thinking and encourage teachers, researchers and policy-makers.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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This article argues the Islamic education of the past to have a future in contemporary times. The faith-based resources the educational tradition provides have the potential to reconnect the moral and professional sides of education for various productive roles in modern society. In the contemporary scenario where moral conduct and professional-occupational performance are disunited both conceptually and institutionally, Islamic education faces a challenge to its own relevance. The paper attempts to correct the stereotyping of Islamic education by drawing examples from varied contexts of the transmission of sacred knowledge through different institutional forms. The analysis seeks to recover what the discourse on the reform of Islamic education has ignored. The challenge before Islamic education is how to provide its bearers the conceptual means to make sense of the environing world while remaining steadfast in harboring moral virtue as a skill in the making of modern civilization. One response is to attend to the tools of social science not only for making sense of the modern world but also for engaging in a conversation with scholarly traditions outside the religious sphere. This should help develop the mutual sharing of discursive resources for common purposes between religion and the modern public sphere.KeywordsTraditionCurricular reformModernizationDiscourse Adab ProfessionsPublic sphere
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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This chapter examines the relationship between changes in the scientific paradigm and curriculum after 2000 in Turkey and Singapore as case countries that experienced the transition to social constructivist education. This chapter explores the following questions: Can the traces of paradigm shifts be seen in the curricula? What was the education curriculum like in Turkey and Singapore before 2000? Have any changes occurred in the curricula in Turkey and Singapore after 2000? If any apparent changes have occurred in the curricula, how can they be explained through the relationship with the science-knowledge paradigm shift? After 2000, Singapore and Turkey were observed to have adopted the contextual and subjectivist paradigm, which changes based on idiosyncratic conditions, rather than the objectivist science-knowledge paradigm based on the positivist paradigm. Since 2000, Turkey has started to apply the constructivist paradigm in its education system after trying out various education approaches. Likewise, Singapore started to search for a new paradigm following its independence from England in 1959 and separation from Malesia in 1965. Even though the change in Turkey’s curriculum after the 2000s indicates positivism to be questioned, the realist ontology and objectivist approach to knowledge have apparently not been put behind. In the case of Singapore, the constructivism that had evolved over time emerged in the curriculum, not the relativist and anti-realist constructivism. Singapore’s success compared to Turkey’s is debatable; nevertheless, Singapore’s performance on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is noteworthy.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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New trends in the philosophy of education in the twenty-first century have sprung from their background in the twentieth century. This essay introduces the twentieth-century philosophies within Dewey’s early pragmatism and other “ism” movements as well as the educational revolution of analytic philosophy. The twenty-first century has introduced reactions (i.e., new pragmatism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, and constructivism), and each of these trends is shown to have provided a new horizon in philosophical thought on education. However, the new trends are also expected to have their own weaknesses. For instance, Rorty is too quick to reject scientific objectivity, Derrida undermines the roles of agents in favor of taking deconstruction as an event, post-modernists are too quick to reject generality in modern thought, and constructivists ignore the power of reality. Thus, educational thought could learn: from new pragmatism to resist naïve scientism but it should be alert not to ignore the real power of scientific thought; from post-structuralism to put educational structures under scrutiny in terms of educational justice but it should take the role of agents more seriously into account in moderating the power of structures; from post-modernism to be alert to local requirements for education but give similar weight to generality too; and finally from constructivism to embrace creativity in the classroom without replacing the discovery dimension of truth with it altogether.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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The concept of change includes a variety of topics, situations, disciplines, dimensions, and aspects. Its diversity and impact on individuals and organizations has led to an array of definitions, models, and theories. Thus, changes constitute a response to values, transformations that are interpreted as opportunities to improve an organization’s resilience and increase its achievements. This chapter will further discuss the concept of change, leading to a deep analysis of teachers’ moral and ethical role in one of the most impactful changes in schools: the technological revolution. If teachers believe that change is necessary, they will make great efforts to implement it effectively both in class and at school. International examples will be shown (e.g., Israel, USA, UK, and Turkey), and conclusions will be drawn regarding the need to specifically train teachers to raise their ICT awareness and understand the drawbacks and risks of technology in the twenty-first century. Schools’ transformation in information and communication is not just a technological revolution but also a social and ethical change that involves teachers in a complex weave of technologies, its creators and users, their interactions, and the social context.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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In the context of digitalization, globalization, and internationalization, the twenty-first century has changed societies as well as their institutions and concepts, significantly affecting powerful communication technologies and the speed and forms of access to information. Being employable, coping with global competition, and having the appropriate equipment and skills for the professions of the future have become more important than ever in an information-intensive economic structure. The question of how education will function in adapting to the new work order and managing and categorizing knowledge has been important. Considering the success teachers have in achieving the purpose of education, what the skills of both the learner and the teacher should be in order to adapt to the rapidly changing world has become more important. Changing learning environments and styles, new student profiles, and transformations in social life and the business world are critical issues for the role of the teacher. This study discusses the skills teachers should have and tendencies toward teacher training within the scope of twenty-first-century standards. We make the following recommendations: having holistic goals for teachers’ pre-service, in-service, and professional development; providing opportunities for national and international mobility; promoting better salaries and working conditions; providing continuous professional development opportunities for teachers just starting their profession; lightening the curriculum while preserving wages; participating in guidance programs; facilitating access to resources; providing opportunities to systematically associate theory and practice; supporting consultation with colleagues; and encouraging the selection of mentors only from qualified and experienced specialist teachers in both in pre-service and in-service teacher training.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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Rapid changes in the society and technology of the twenty-first century world have brought unique challenges for humanity. This chapter summarizes some of the strategies and support systems for effective learning and teaching in the twenty-first century in addressing some of these challenges. Learning is a dynamic process that is supported by the mechanisms of memory and reasoning as well as an individual’s mindset, habits, goals, and motivation. Theories and research imply that learning is not only a cognitive process but also a social-emotional process that takes place environmentally and culturally across one’s lifespan. Strategies to foster effective learning and teaching should pursue developing a process that is more active, authentic, collaborative, creative, interactive, personalized, relational, and self-regulative. Effective instruction is centered on the learner and knowledge, promotes conceptual understanding and metacognition, and utilizes assessment and technology in alignment with the instructional objectives. Productive instructional strategies used in a caring and supportive environment embedded in service and support systems foster learners’ cognitive, social, and emotional development.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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The twenty-first-century context of global transformation has had a direct consequence on educational goals and methods. Contemporary education has introduced a natural focus attending to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This involves an evolution of teaching methods and dynamics. Does the future of education require the transformation of school space designs? Can space positively accompany new school education? How can space design become an agent of change at this point? The objectives guiding this chapter seek to answer these questions and identify potential design criteria for a space design that would be able to reinforce contemporary pedagogical models. The study uses an inductive methodology that works with the criticism of the process as a specific analysis tool that analyzes the interactions among the systems included in the space ecosystem. Thus, interactions between contemporary educational models and interior design can be identified. This chapter shows space as a reactive factor within the pedagogical model. As the main finding, specific space design criteria capable of accompanying contemporary educational models based on sustainable development are additionally identified for new school designs.
... Even though there are some criticisms of the twenty-first-century skill movement in terms of its content, discourse, and evidence base (Davies, 2018;Greenlaw, 2015;Lucas, 2019), a growing body of literature supports its basic premises (Chu et al., 2021;Griffin et al., 2012). Education systems around the world are trying to provide these skills without any common definition or strategy (Joynes et al., 2019). ...
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This chapter surveys three educational policies that contend with cultural difference: cultural sensitivity, multiculturalism, and interculturality. Liberal paradigms such as these operate on the premise of good faith, in which sincere engagement with cultural differences promotes integration into the wider social order and aids in ameliorating racism and ethnic conflict. Critics, however, challenge policies of discursive inclusion for failing to address structural and systemic inequality, which requires more substantive interventions. The origins of educational inequality can be traced to class relations and coloniality, and therefore it is incumbent to question inherited myths and official histories as well as eurocentric concepts, categories, and methods. Decolonizing approaches provide alternative perspectives on culture that, in challenging existing governmental and social arrangements, seek to re-envision educational systems starting at the foundational level of knowledge construction. This contemporary approach is preceded by a long history of Muslim educationists seeking to promote religiosity through a universal outlook based in equality, expressed in “South-South” linkages predating concepts of the third world and global South. Examining education and culture over the longue durée provides a useful context for contemporary debates that problematize eurocentrism and disparities in educational outcomes.
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Work in Hungary took place during the entire duration of the development project. Pedagogical work was conducted over two school years between February 2016 and June 2017. The team undertook two rounds of data collection. Apart from three private schools, schools involved in the project were public. In Hungary, the local co-ordinators focused on a school population of disadvantaged students, many of them young Romani. The team already carried out work with a network of schools and teachers and added the project materials and ideas to its previous practice. It worked in both primary and secondary education and focused on mathematics and science education. In this study, Hungary reported one of the lowest shares of students with an immigrant background (2%), and a high proportion of classes with a positive class climate (60%). The time span between pre- and post-measurements in Hungary was relatively short (17 weeks), and relatively light for students (8 hours of intervention in class), although they continued working with the new pedagogical activities during the whole school year, 90 minutes a week. The difference between rounds was remarkable: the second year of the project, the intervention with students lasted considerably longer (51 hours of intervention in class), and 34 weeks passed between pre- and post-measurements. Teacher professional development in the Hungarian Team comprised one intensive induction training followed up by regular meeting sessions throughout the intervention. Professional development workshops, monitoring sessions and continuous mentoring was provided. During the first round, the team used the Creative Partnerships method (see Chapter 3 for more information on the signature pedagogies). During the second round, two kinds of pedagogies were used in the “intervention” schools: Creative Partnerships and the Step by Step approach. The Creative Partnerships approach involves continuous teacher professional development based on collaboration with an artist or a creative professional with the class teacher. The artist helps the teachers change their teaching in different subjects to make it more creative and engaging for students. The Step by Step approach focuses on structured co operation and teamwork. All intervention teachers had sessions about the OECD rubrics and the Hungarian project team closely supported teachers participating in the Creative Partnerships programme. Chapter 3. Eleven signature pedagogies related to the fostering of creativity and critical thinking - Creative Partnerships (all subjects) page 77- 79 Chapter 8 - Hungarian Team page 217- 221 At T-Tudok Centre for Knowledge Management and Educational Research and Education Authority, Budapest: Szilvia Németh (project coordinator) and Anita Kaderják; At T-Tudok Centre for Knowledge Management and Educational Research:, Judit Kádár Fülöp, Judit Lannert, Daniel Vince, Dezső Máté; At the University of Pécs: Attila Lengvárszky, Péter Lengyel, and Endre Raffay; at the Step by Step Programme Hungary, Bertalanné Zágon and Éva Deák; At the Educational Authority, Budapest: Sándor Brassói, László Ostorics and László Pongrácz
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This report draws on reports from nine participating countries/jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong (China), India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam. These in turn drew upon responses from individuals in their education systems at policy and school levels to identify their perceptions of the current state of practices associated with the assessment of transversal competencies. The focus of the explorations was on the elements of the education system that support integration of the competencies agenda, rather than the form of the actual assessment tools. The guiding questions for the study were: • Is assessment of transversal competencies reflected in policies, plans, legislation, curriculum guidelines, or national assessment frameworks? • Are transversal competencies being assessed at school and/or system level? • What are the challenges of assessing transversal competencies at school? • What are the recommendations for initiating or improving assessment of transversal competencies? From participant responses at the policy level it is clear that assessment of transversal competencies is being considered, and in some countries/jurisdictions research has been undertaken to support exploration of how to implement assessment. Challenges about how to assess and the value of assessment reflect challenges in the integration of competencies in the curriculum, and their teaching. Challenges also reflect systemic issues that arise as a consequence of any major education reform effort. Participant responses at school and teacher levels indicate recognition of the shift towards integration of transversal competencies, and make clear that more definition of how to proceed is required. Although teachers across the region have the opportunity for professional development activities, these are overall not seen as specific enough to the demand of the competencies shift. Likewise, teachers indicate that more support in access to appropriate assessment tools and in how to develop these, would be helpful. The analysis of case study data from the region reveals variation in practices and approaches, providing a rich opportunity for information sharing as countries/jurisdictions in the region continue with this education reform. The call for professional development and for support with development of assessment tools illustrates the core challenge for education. The core challenge is the lack of knowledge about transversal competencies − how they develop, how they might be taught through or in conjunction with current curricula, and how assessment might enhance their teaching and learning. The major recommendation from this study is, through the mechanism of a core regional group, to build capacity in enhancing understanding in order to maximize positive learning outcomes from the diversity of approaches and expertise evident in the region.
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The breadth of skills movement manifested at an international level within Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. While many countries have adopted a breadth of skills approach in their national education policies and curricula, the degree to which the skills movement is reflected at all levels of education systems varies across countries. Visualizing the breadth of skills movement is one focus of Skills for a Changing World, a project at the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. An initial scan of 102 countries investigates the degree to which breadth of skills, beyond traditional academic skills of literacy and numeracy, is reflected in education systems. Findings show that the skills movement has been underway for some time, at least in national rhetoric. There is less evidence of its articulation in curriculum and pedagogy policies, which may mean it is less evident in classrooms as well. Given probable early stages in implementation, there is clear potential for countries to assist each other in developing approaches to integration of a broad set of competencies within education provision.
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In this article, we address a number of issues surrounding biological models of personality traits. Most traditional and many contemporary biological models of personality traits assume that biological systems underlying personality traits are causal and immutable. In contrast, sociogenomic biology, which we introduce to readers in this article, directly contradicts the widely held assumption that something that is biological, heritable, or temperamental, is unchangeable. We provide examples of how seemingly unchanging biological systems, such as DNA, are both dependent on environments for elicitation and can be modified by environmental changes. Finally, we synthesize sociogenomic biology with personality psychology in a model of personality traits that integrates this more modern perspective on biology, physiology, and environment that we term sociogenomic personality psychology. We end the article with a discussion of the future directions of sociogenomic personality psychology.
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