New resource helps teach 21st-century skills

Social studies teachers now have a new resource to help them integrate 21st-century skills into their lessons: a free online document that maps various social studies projects, tasks, and outcomes to corresponding skills–such as problem solving and critical thinking–that are becoming increasingly important for 21st-century success.

The 21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map, developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), demonstrates how integrating these 21st-century skills will help support teaching, while also preparing students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century.

The map gives educators concrete examples of how 21st-century skills can be infused into classroom practices at various grade levels, and it highlights the critical connections between social studies and 21st-century skills.

“I am confident we have developed an invaluable resource for social studies teachers and educators in general as we move toward a 21st-century education system,” said Michael Yell, NCSS president. “This map represents the intersection of 21st-century skills and the social studies and provides an exciting tool for teachers and students.”

The map provides guidance on how to align teaching and learning to the demands of the 21st century by providing lesson examples that combine core skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and innovation with interdisciplinary themes (such as civic, economic, and entrepreneurial literacy and global awareness). The map also cites specific student outcomes and provides project models that will result in enhanced student achievement in grades four, eight, and 12.

Here are the core skills covered by the map:

* Creativity and innovation
* Critical thinking and problem solving
* Communication
* Collaboration
* Information literacy
* Media literacy
* ICT literacy
* Flexibility and adaptability
* Initiative and self-direction
* Social and cross-cultural skills
* Productivity and accountability
* Leadership and responsibility

For instance, fourth-grade outcomes for creativity and innovation could include having students interview someone, such as a teacher or parent, about a problem and then work in groups to come up with ways to address or solve that problem.

Laura Ascione

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