This week in MindLab we have discussed, among other things, what our group of educators consider to be the skills necessary to equip ourselves and our students for the future. We drew on a number of compilations, including the NZC Key Competencies and the ITL 21st Century Skills. There are a number of comparisons that can be drawn, but I believe you can boil them down to self; yourself with others; and knowledge construction. Thoughts?
ITL 21st Century Skills
21st Century skills in my practice
As a teacher I have always pushed the importance of being students who self-manage their learning. This year has been no different. We have set SMART goals for different areas of development, and reflect on them regularly against a number of student led criteria. In terms of communication, collaboration, and using language, symbols and texts (as well as ICT for learning), our progress with online collaborative tools using (to begin with) Google Drive and SeeSaw has really pushed these skills. I feel like this area will naturally develop with student clubs (which include coding and Minecraft).
Relating to others, I believe, is somewhat neglected at school - we have the first few weeks developing our 'class culture' and then tend to set the skill aside (other than showing respect to our peers and elders). I've always prided myself on the relationship I have with my students, but on reflection I can tend to gravitate and form stronger bonds with particular types of kid. My MindPlus students aren't necessarily these types of students, so I'm working towards how to form those strong bonds with more introverted learners.
In my situation, where students have a higher percentage of excitabilities and/or introvert characteristics, I believe explicitly teaching how to relate to a variety of people is highly important. The MindPlus programme has a third of the day dedicated to Personal Development - where we learn about ourselves, our gifted characteristics, and how to strengthen the positives and mitigate possible negatives. This is backed up with group/team work skills - where working alone doesn't necessarily mean you're not collaborating.
The other area I think could be developed in my practice is building the thinking skills and knowledge creation capabilities of my students. In a regular class I believe I push my students thinking, and help them to create knowledge - but with my MindPlus students, I think I can push further. I find the biggest challenge is juggling their developed thinking skills with less developed social skills. Part of this is being addressed when working on self-management, but maybe it goes deeper.
A questions posed is, would your students agree on this area for development? I guess the best way for me to know this is to ask them. We'll soon see.