It’s an unfortunate reality that thousands of middle schoolers across the country aren’t being taught the skills they need to flourish in the modern workspace.
21st Century skills are essential to cultivate in your students if you want them to lead successful professional lives. But too often teachers send their students on to high school without even being aware of these skills, let alone how to teach them.
As a career readiness curriculum developer, teachers who’ve heard of these skills often come to us asking for more information about them and the best ways to teach them. You want to plant the seeds of success in your students’ minds as early as possible, so that when they finally enter adulthood, they’re ready.
In this post, you’ll find tips and resources to help you teach 21st Century skills in your middle school courses.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of each skill and will know where to find 21st Century skills lesson plans for your classes.
But before we get into the details, what does the phrase “21st Century skills” actually mean?
What Are 21st Century Skills?
21st Century skills are 12 abilities that today’s students need to succeed in their future careers:
By mastering these skills, your students will be better equipped to start and grow in whatever career path they choose.
Now that you know what skills we’ll be discussing, let’s dive into how you can teach them!
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves logically assessing information to make informed decisions.
Creativity empowers people to see concepts in a different light, leading to innovative thinking and problem solving.
In many cases, it’s tough to directly teach students how to be creative thinkers. That’s why we recommend using problem solving lessons to get your students thinking creatively.
Some of the best places you can find lessons that focus on problem solving and creativity are:
After you’ve introduced creativity and problem solving, you and your students will find that many of the other 21st Century skills can help reinforce them!
Collaboration involves multiple people working together to achieve a common goal.
When teaching collaboration skills in your classroom, it’s common to assign group projects and call it a day. After all, if students are working together, they are learning collaboration skills, right?
While group work can help reinforce collaboration and teamwork, it’s important to address these skills in your daily lessons to make them stick.
When teaching your students about initiative it may also be a great time to discuss the six pillars of character and how they can influence someone’s initiative.
Productivity measures how well someone is able to prioritize, plan, and manage their work.
In order to be productive, a person needs to be able to hold themselves accountable for meeting goals and identify when an obstacle may prevent them from meeting that goal.
One of the most important topics to discuss as part of productivity is time management.
When teaching time management skills in middle school, it’s best to tie it back to their current lives rather than looking ahead at the future. After all, it’s likely your students would benefit from improving their productivity skills right now!
Start by discussing productivity in your classes and get students thinking about good time management. Once you’ve covered the basics, you can tie in with other skills by explaining how problem solving and critical thinking also help people work productively!