Report: Professional Development for the 21st Century


Reform: School improvement


Partnership for 21st Century Skills




Partnership for 21st Century Skills


The CASe for 21ST CeNTury eduCATioN:
The success of US education in the 21st century depends upon student acquisition
of 21st century skills because:
1 Education is changing. We can no longer claim that the US educational results are
unparalleled. Students around the world outperform American students on assessments that
measure 21st century skills. Today’s teachers need better tools to address this growing problem.
2 Competition is changing internationally. Innovation and creativity no longer set
US education apart. Innovators around the world rival Americans in breakthroughs that fuel
economic competitiveness.
3 The workplace, jobs and skill demands are changing. Today every student,
whether he/she plans to go on to a 4-year college, trade school or entry-level job, requires 21st
century skills to succeed. We need to ensure that all students are qualified to succeed in work
and life in this new global economy.
21st century skills are the skills students need to succeed in work, school and life. They include:
• Core subjects (as defined by NCLB)
• 21st century content: global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy,
civic literacy and health and wellness awareness
• Learning and thinking skills: critical thinking and problem solving skills, communications skills,
creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills and information and
media literacy skills
• Information and communications technology literacy
• Life skills: leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, personal
responsibility, people skills, self-direction and social responsibility
WhAT iS 21ST CeNTury SkillS profeSSioNAl developmeNT?
21st century skills professional development prepares teachers and principals to integrate 21st
century skills into their classrooms and schools. Professional development for the 21st century should
be a part of a comprehensive emphasis on 21st century skills that includes updates to standards and
Successful 21st century professional development programs:
• Ensure educators understand the importance of 21st century skills and how to integrate them
into daily instruction
• Enable collaboration among all participants
• Allow teachers and principals to construct their own learning communities
• Tap the expertise within a school or school district through coaching, mentoring and team
• Support educators in their role of facilitators of learning
• Use 21st century tools


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