Skills for the 21st Century

Cognitive and Literacy Skills for Success in a Fast-Paced Technological Age

Common Core State Standards and the ‘Four C’s”

Posted by durencls on April 21, 2010

You’ve likely heard a lot lately about the “Common Core State Standards Initiative” and its recent English Language Arts and Mathematics drafts.  If not – it is currently all the rage in Adult Education vis-a-vis preparing adults for post-secondary education and ‘career readiness’.

Here’s what a recent press release from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills* says about how well these new standards integrate 21st century thinking skills (what a recent Partnership survey calls the 4 C’s – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity/innovation):

English Language Arts Standards are Promising; Mathematics Standards Need Work

In particular, I am struck by this statement:

“Additionally, the importance of collaborative communication is not addressed and the vision for student outcomes is one that rests on individual students working in isolation.

Students working in isolation” – how often is that what you would see if you walked into an Adult Education classroom?  With students working at different levels and/or on different skills as they progress towards their individual goals – one can see how this might seem the simplest or most efficient way to serve their varying needs.

But I perceive that so many of our adult learners were not successful in school in part because they lack strong social skills.  If they were charming and worked well with others, they would be FAR less likely to drop out (hmmmm…there is lots of research on this – let’s see if I can find some and post it!).

So working well with others – listening and speaking skills, the ability to resolve conflicts, lead others, work towards a common goal – these are even MORE critical and important to teach in an adult education setting – yes?

I challenge Adult Education instructors – how have you fostered collaboration or even social skills amongst YOUR adult learners today? this week?

For more from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills – also read the results of their recent survey of over 2 thousand managers and executives  in the American Management Association (AMA):  AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey: Executives Say the 21st Century Requires More Skilled Workers

* Thanks to Richard Sebastian, an Instructional Technology Specialist at the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center for bringing our attention to this organization and the survey results in a recent AALPD post!

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One Response to “Common Core State Standards and the ‘Four C’s””

  1. […] Literacy Education have been closely following the development of the Common Core Standards (see our 4/21/2010 post). It is expected that these standards will have a dramatic effect on WHAT is taught, WHEN, and HOW […]

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