Thinking, collaboration, problem solving, adaptability and creativity…

21st Century Skills

The ability to think deeply and creativity, to collaborate with others , to problem solve and adapt to rapidly changing situations are described by many as the key skills required for success in the knowledge age of the 21st century.  Is this the complete list?  Should we add other skills? Is one more important than the others? Which should we focus our energies on in the classroom? Will certain focuses produce better outcomes for students than others? How do we go about training students to develop, build and improve on these skills? How do we measure the attainment of  such things?

These are all questions I am taking into the start of this year, with the plan to investigate and apply some of the solutions / answers ( suggestions) I find in my classroom.

Note: Thanks to Kristy Brown’s helpful comment I have also added communication skills,  cultural understanding and sensitivity towards others and knowledge of digital media and technology to the list of  skills for the 21 century.


  1. Kristy Brown said

    As Jackson (2009) discusses, even though the education world has remained much the same as it has been for decades, the world has evolved at a rapid pace into a global one. We are preparing our students for jobs that may not even exist today. Actually, jobs that do not yet exist. Students will need the skills you mention, along with strong communication skills, a cultural understanding and sensitivity towards others, knowledge of digital media and technology. I often wonder these same questions you pose. Every day I ask myself “how will this lesson guide my students towards success today and in the future?”.

    We face an important challenge as educators in this global world. I think the place to begin is with a plan of action. We have to sit down and reflect on what we currently do. Once you see where you are, and connect where you want to be, things will begin to fall into place.

    What are some of strategies/lessons you have in mind to develop these 21st century skills in your students?

    I wish you the best in this new year.
    Kristy Clem-Brown
    Walden University

    Jackson, A. (2009, May). New middle schools for new futures. Middle School Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

  2. […] as compared to individualistic teaching pedagogies.  Also there are links to some of the other  skills considered important in the 21st century such as deep/critical thinking,  problem solving, communication and social […]

  3. […] 21st century learning? This is a question I pondered all of last year. My thinking started around what skills will be needed by our students when they leave school, and I was recommended 21st Century Skills: Learning for […]

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