The 21st century skills have been deemed as the crucial abilities that this generation of learners need to equip themselves with in order to be successful in their future careers and professions.

The implementation of 21st century education in schools provides an effective framework of learning to ensure learners are able to be ahead of the curve in an era where learning is transformative and continuous.

Apart from that, 21st century skills build individuals with the ability to be cooperative and competitive at the same time. It also strengthens a learner’s resilience to unpredictability and change with the agility to adapt and adjust to every situation that they will soon experience in the working world.

Furthermore, 21st century education engenders it’s learners with the dexterity to apply problem solving and decision making in critical situations by providing contexts of learning  that are authentic and relevant to current and global issues. This prepares the learners to be quick on their feet to embrace any challenges that they might face in their future undertakings.

So, what are the essential 21st century skills and how do each skill contribute to the different career paths? Here’s how the 4C’s of 21st century education contribute to different career paths:

1- Critical Thinking

21st Century Learning Definition | ALFAandFriends (1)

Critical thinking skill is the ability to make rational and clear decisions. It is needed to establish a relationship or connection between different topics or ideas. An individual who can think critically will be able to provide reasonable and rational arguments to different topics.

They have the ability to justify and reflect on every decision that they make which will prevent hastiness and poor judgment. Rather than being a passive recipient of information, a critical thinker will question and analyse any information that they will receive instead of accepting them at face value.

A critical thinker does not make decisions arbitrarily but guides decision-making with reason and structure. 

Careers: Doctors, Scientists, Accountants, Lawyers

2- Creativity

21st Century Learning Definition | ALFAandFriends (2)

Creativity is a skill that allows the individual to be able to come up with different solutions to a complex problem. It produces individuals with the cleverness to generate and form new ideas in approaching different issues.

A creative thinker will analyse an issue through different lenses in order to gain in-depth information regarding the issue at hand. Creative individuals are not afraid to express themselves through experimenting and experiencing new things as they would like to be immersed in the creative process as much as possible before being able to settle down on one effective solution or approach or application.

Creativity demands the individual to constantly seek for exposure to gain new perspectives, opinions, and ideas. Creativity also teaches the individual to be more flexible and adaptable to a wide range of situations.

Careers: Writers, Marketing, Architects, Designers

3- Collaboration

21st Century Learning Definition | ALFAandFriends (3)

Collaboration skills refers to the ability of working in teams or groups. It is the skill that is needed for an individual to be able to share their thoughts and opinions with others, while at the same time, accepting other people’s views and perspectives on a certain matter.

Collaboration skill develops individuals to know how to organize themselves and others to work together to achieve a common goal. It ensures that every task is completed in an efficient manner and a collaborative individual will know how to handle themselves in case of arguments or disagreements that will inevitably arise when working in a group.

Careers: Chefs, Athletes, Police, Human Resources

4- Communication

21st Century Learning Definition | ALFAandFriends (4)

Communication skills involve expressing yourself, the ability to coherently and clearly relay information to others. In this generation, most individuals lack communication skills as this skill is not applied enough when technology is frequently used which does not require two-way communication.

In a fast-paced world, communication skills such as effective listening, speaking, observing, and empathizing seem to be disappearing as people shift towards communication with computers and gadgets which only requires giving commands and instructions.

Careers: Teachers, Customer Service, Nurses, Sales Representatives

Also a crucial part of 21st century skills is digital literacy which involves information, media and ICT literacy. Daniel J. Boorstin in the New York Times said that “Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge”.

It seems that with the overuse of technology and overload of information that we receive through technology, it is inevitable that we might find ourselves lost in the sea of information where we are not able to discern fact from fiction. This is where digital literacy comes in handy for it ensures the individual is able to process new information to find, evaluate, create, and communicate the information through the use of technology.

Digital literacy is weaved together with other 21st century skills which makes it crucial in every career path that a person wishes to pursue.

Overall, a person without digital literacy or a complete grasp on the 21st century skills will not be able to cope in a technologically advanced world and will struggle to keep up with others in this day and age.

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