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21st Century Skills from A Middle Schooler Perspective

At my Middle School I am fortunate to have a time every other week that each teacher meets with about 18 students in an advisory role.  The time that we meet with students is somewhat planned for those teachers who need a lesson plan and yet open-ended enough for someone like me who likes to work from the "hip."  Today, after discussing the events of Spring Break I posed the following to my group of 7th and 8th graders:

I held up a variety of educational journals. “So in each of these journals educators have been writing about something called 21st Century Skills.  People have written articles and books about what we need to teach you so that you can be successful in your life.  I think that you are a pretty smart group, and I want to know what skills you think you will need to be successful in life.  I want you to come up with between 10 and 15 things that you feel we, as teachers and principals, need to help you learn so you can be successful."  Each student was asked to get with two other students to consolidate their lists and then, we came together and consolidated the final list. The quotes are direct quotes from students.


1. Sense of Direction-"Knowing what you want to do at that time in your life."

2. Money skills-"We need to know how to make it and how to keep it."

3. Leadership Skills-"We will all be leaders and followers throughout our lives.  We need to know how to do both."

4. Speaking skills- "You need to know how to tell your thoughts, how to listen to others and how to come to agreement."

5. Working Skills- "That's when you know how to start and how to finish something."

6."No" Skill- "That is when you know you need to say 'No' to something"

7. Sympathy Skills- "Being able to get it when someone is feeling bad or good and then knowing how to talk to them."

8.Persuasive Skills- "Knowing how to get your point across. You need that in business a lot."

9.Foreign Language Skill-"It really doesn't matter which foreign languages you know, but you need to know more than one.  We are going to be talking to people all over the world."

10. Artistic Skills- "Not that we all have to be great artists, but we need to know how to relate to different things like different kinds of art or music. We need to know how to enjoy things. Adults don't do that enough."


Thought these were interesting.  Had to share!



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