21st Century

When 21st Century skills become visible

One big question every educator always asks, is about the ever-growing role of 21st-century skills: ‘How can I identify, develop and assess vague soft skills – like creativity, and collaboration?’ Make these skills visible, and evidence-based. Develop students with creativeness and collaborative-ness through dialogic evidence.

Change the Rubrics
Explicitly define indicators of success in creativity, and collaboration. Not only should positive indicators be listed out in the rubrics, but also the negative ones – though things get more subjective here. When every stakeholder shares the understanding of what and how the learning of these skills can and should be demonstrated, this synchronised transparency can lead to a higher likeliness of the development of these skills.

Don’t Over-Script the Learning Experience for Students
While a carefully designed learning experience seems to be well-intended, its hidden protectiveness – though unwanted by any educators – might be silently destroying opportunities for students to better demonstrate their uninterrupted creativity. Of course, we need a plan: learning objectives, rubrics or learning experiences. But, in this era of self-paced education, controlling the time spent, the space used or steps adopted can be described as ‘over-scripted learning experience’. Something, we might consider avoiding when designing the next unit of learning in our classrooms.

But…Who Should Define Creativity?
It’s always good if every teacher has the shared rubrics to guide through students in our carefully designed problem-based tasks. Step by step, then a solved problem, as well as competency is attained. Everything sounds so perfect that I almost forget to ask…’but who says this is creativity? Who says this is the best procedure to solve the problem? Do the real-world experts do things a bit differently?’ Some might think Lean Start-up is the best model, while others might argue that Design Thinking is better. This likely development of endless debate on reaching a consent for the definitions of such vague terms has led me to think about one possible solution in the future: if leaders in every industry, from NASA to IDEO, can collectively generate an experientially approved rubric for all the success skills, it would be wonderful.

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