Education for Life & Work: Transferable Knowledge & Skills in the 21st Century
Source: National Academies website, Jul 2012
Business and political leaders are increasingly asking schools to integrate development of skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration into the teaching and learning of academic subjects. Collectively these skills are often referred to as “21st century skills” or “deeper learning.”
Education for Life and Work: Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, a new report from the National Research Council, more clearly defines these terms and lays the groundwork for policy and further research in the field. The new report:
- clarifies the meaning of “deeper learning” and “21st century skills.” Deeper learning is the process through which a person becomes capable of what was learned in one situation and applying it to new situations. Through deeper learning, students develop 21st century competencies—transferable expertise within a given subject area, including both knowledge and skills.
- examines links between 21st century competencies and adult outcomes. Research on link between 21st century competencies and adult outcomes has been limited so far. Cognitive competencies—those related to thinking, reasoning and memory—show consistent, positive correlations of modest size with desirable outcomes in education, work, and health. Being conscientious is also correlated with desirable outcomes.
- identifies instructional methods that can support students’ development of transferable knowledge and sills in a subject area.
- examines the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts and NRC’s K-12 science education framework to assess how well they support deeper learning and 21st century competencies. All three documents highlight the importance of helping students understand the general principles underlying specific content, a hallmark of deeper learning.
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