Readying The Class of 2029: The Value of 21st Century Skills
Sep 18, 2017
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, and the ways in which we educate and prepare today’s students for their personal and professional success must adapt to match. Children who entered Kindergarten this Fall will celebrate high school graduations in 2029 and we can expect a lot of change will take place over the next 12-15 years.
According to a recent World Economic Report, over one-third of today’s core workplace skills will have changed almost completely by 2020, and that nearly two-thirds of all students just entering school now will, in the future, be working in jobs that don’t currently exist - jobs that will call on a new range of skills and capabilities.
In order to quickly and effectively adapt to this change, today’s students should be encouraged to engage with skills related to critical thinking and problem solving, accessing and analyzing information, media literacy, entrepreneurism, multi-literacy and global diversity, all of which will make it easier to find continued success and personal fulfillment as they progress through life.
The ‘whole child’ approach to education achieves this by uniquely nurturing each student’s academic, emotional, cognitive, physical, cultural, social and creative development. Parents should actively encourage students to feel empowered and try their hands at whatever the students find most interesting, and should challenge students to seek success wherever their instincts may guide them.
By encouraging each student’s innate desire to participate in extracurricular activities (including sports, community service programs, art, peer-mediation and peer-leadership groups, drama classes, and more) parents and educators together can inspire well-rounded, high-quality individuals who are ready to take on meaningful leadership roles in an evolving world.
Parents should feel free to sit back and allow their children to actively engage in these activities on their own time, allowing the process - and not the product - to be where each child’s growth mindset originates. Striving or expecting perfection is anxiety-inducing and can prevent children from thriving in these experiences, whereas the power of self-determination can fuel remarkable personal growth that encourages confidence well into later life.
Creating an environment where students discover a true love of learning takes time and effort from teachers, school administrators, and parents. Embracing the values of a well-rounded 21st-century education will help ensure that high school seniors graduating in May of 2018 and Kindergarteners graduating in 2029 will be in a strong position to meet the needs and demands of an ever-changing world.