What are the 21st century skills and how can they be assessed?
Before this class I had no idea what 21st Century skills were. Therefore, if I didn’t know what they were how could I assess my student’s 21st Century skills? As I began to explore and learn more about 21st Century skills I began to realize how important it is for all educators to understand the importance of teaching these skills to our students.
Often times when we talk about these skills we refer to the 4 Cs. These 4 Cs are Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration. Students as well as teachers need to be able to think critically, communicate effectively through many different means, collaborate with others and think creatively. Students have to be able to apply these skills to different situations that they will see themselves in the real world.
In my class my students complete multiple projects where they need to collaborate and communicate with each other. I have been able to teach them how to collaborate with one another and different ways that they can communicate ideas with each other so that they can complete their assignments. However, I am excited to introduce what it means to collaborate with others outside of our classroom.
For example, my students recently made presentation about Hispanic historical figures. One of my students chose to learn more about Sonia Sotomayor. If I were to have her do the assignment again I would encourage her to reach out to Sonia Sotomayor and see if she could interact with through social media to learn more about her. It would be engaging for her and will also allow her to develop communication skills with other outside of the classroom.
We also completed projects about different Hispanic countries. Next year I would love to setup a Skype session so that we can communicate with people from these different countries. It would be amazing to communicate with students in Spain when we learn about Spain. They can teach us more about their country and we can teach them about ours. In the process we learn more about the United States and Spain.
While learning about 21st Century skills I have also learned about the importance of Global Awareness. Our students need a greater awareness about other countries. Teaching another language is a great way to introduce them to other countries and cultures.
My students sometimes complain about learning another language. They fail to see the connection to the real world. I have made it my mission to teach them the benefits of learning another language. In addition, I have been able to introduce cultures and customs of different Hispanic countries in South and Central America. All along I have been teaching them about global awareness without even knowing it.
Now that I am more aware of what 21st Century Skills are I can begin to think about how I can assess these skills. The members of my inquiry group and I decided that there a few ways that we can assess and evaluate these essential skills in the classroom. Below are three ways in which I will be assessing 21st Century skills.
- Rubrics-When using rubrics we can incorporate the four Cs in the rubric (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration)
- Conferences-Conferencing with students can allow a teacher to see if students are thinking critically. We can ask questions to dig deeper and see just how much a student has used critical thinking skills to complete and assignment or project.
- Self-assessment- I will be teaching students how they can self-assess themselves. I can teach them how to identify their strengths and weaknesses. They will be able to self-reflect and improve in areas they conclude they need to work on. Students will not grade themselves they will self-assess to revise their work and improve their work before it is turned in to me for grading.
During conferences and self-assessment I will require students to provide evidence of what they tell me. For example, if a student tells me that they did a great job collaborating with others, I will ask them to provide an example. This will allow students to make concrete connections and will teach them to provide evidence of their learning and growth.
21st Century skills are skills that are needed in today’s world. I remember reading an article that mentioned that students need to be ready to work in jobs that have not yet been created. As teachers we need to teach and assess these skills so that they can be successful in the real world.