This week, I have familiarized myself with an organization called P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) and their website (www.p21.org). This website and organization is new to me, but I am excited and relieved about its existence. I am excited because it emphasizes and promotes the development and infusion of 21st Century skills into our current educational system. The mission of P21 is to integrate what they call the 3Rs (core subjects) with the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity). I am relieved because I don’t believe that our government and educational system in its current state is capable of this reform, but with the powerful backing of this initiative from wealthy and influential companies, I am hopeful that this transition can be a catalyst for change in every school in America.
The information on this site did not surprise me, but it did inspire me. This is my first year teaching in an IB PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme) candidate school. I am finding that the focus on 21st Century Skills at an IB school is very much the same as P21’s. In fact, much of the same language is used in their mission statements and on their websites. I have been through much professional development this year about the importance of inquiry, self-directed learning, collaboration, communication, risk taking, problem solving and global awareness. I am thrilled to know that these skills that I am trying to incorporate into my classroom are the ones that the experts in highly technological fields and companies are and will be looking for in the future business world. I want my students to have every skill, advantage and opportunity for success when they finish their schooling.