21st-Century Skills Map Targets English Teachers

(eSchool News: Classroom News, Volume No. 4, 12- December 2008)

New Framework provides models for infusing 21st-century skills into the English classroom.

English teachers now have a free new resource to help them infuse so-called 21st-century skills into their curriculum,thanks to a collaboration between the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). This new resource—a framework that provides teachercreated models for how 21st-century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity can be incorporated into English classes—is part of P21’s effort to create curriculum maps that demonstrate how to teach key 21st-century skills inthe classroom. Earlier this year, the organization released similar guidance for social-studies teachers. (Read “New resource helps teach 21st-century skills.”) http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/news-bysubject/index.cfm?i=54606 By offering sample lessons that combine 21st-century skills with interdisciplinary themes such as global awareness and civic, economic, and entrepreneurial literacy, the new English map gives concrete examples of how to align teaching and learning with the standards of the 21st century.

“This framework, which includes examples taken directly from proven classroom practices, represents an exciting tool for teachers and students as they move toward a 21st-century education system,” said Kylene Beers, NCTE president. “The map also mirrors the evolving nature of NCTE, as we ensure our organization and members possess the tool and resources that are required for success in the 21st century.” The map cites specific student outcomes and provides models that aim to help student achievement in grades four, eight, and 12. For example, fourth graders, after reading folktales and watching two or three cartoons, might write their own contemporary version of a folktale and present it as a stop-motion or claymation film. NCTEand P21 say this activity helps students learn how to communicate new ideas to others and demonstrate originality and inventiveness in their work. At the eighth-grade level, to help learn financial awareness and literacy, students might conduct research to answer the question: “How much schooling do you need to get the kind of job you would like to have?”

After investigating salaries, employment outlooks, and education or training requirements for their possible careers, students create a chart comparing their top three to five choices and write short personal essays explaining how these choices fit their goals. As a result of these tasks, eighth graders would begin to analyze and make complex decisions, learning to identify and ask significant questions to clarify points of view. At the high school level, teams of students might create a virtual field trip for elementary school students. In addition to creating a video and narration detailing the site, students would research background information and interview appropriate experts such as park rangers, tour guides, and historians. The students then would use a project management tool to organize tasks, assignments, and deadlines. Through this project, students would assume shared responsibility for collaborative work and demonstrate the ability to work effectively with diverse teams, as well as creativity in planning an interactive experience for younger students. “I commend NCTE and English teachers across the country for providing a framework that shows how the discipline is incorporating 21st-century skills,” said Ken Kay, P21 president. “This work highlights the partnership’s mission to develop innovative tools that integrate 21stcentury skills into the curriculum and positively impact student learning.” Additional maps will be available for mathematics, geography, and science in 2009, the organization said.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: