Partnership for 21st Century Skills Debuts '21st Century Skills and English Map'


The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has joined up with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to produce the "21st Century Skills and English Map" a framework for integrating 21st century skills into the K-12 English curriculum.

The 21st Century Skills and English Map is the second in a series of planned maps aimed at core subjects. The first covered social studies, which, accoding to the organization, has been well received. Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, told us via e-mail, "The response has been phenomenal; social studies teachers and stakeholders across the country have let us know that the maps have benefited classroom practice."

The purpose is to provide a framework and resources for integrating technology and other 21st century skills into courses covering core subjects.

Specific skills covered by the map include:

  • Creativity and innovation;
  • Critical thinking and problem solving;
  • Communication;
  • Collaboration;
  • Information literacy;
  • Media literacy;
  • Information and Communication Technologies literacy (ICT literacy);
  • Flexibility and adaptability;
  • Initiative and self direction;
  • Social and cross-cultural skills;
  • Productivity and accountability; and
  • Leadership and responsibility.

Each of these is broken into its own section within the map to provide outcomes with examples at each of the three grade levels covered (4, 8, 12). The map also provides a list of suggested tools that can be used to integrate the skills.

"The map demonstrates how 21st century skills fit seamlessly into a core subject, in this case English," Kay said. "Teaching 21st century skills is not something that is in competition with core competencies. This map, and the Social Studies map, display how easy and vital it is to infuse core subjects with 21st century skills. As noted in the myriad of examples in the English map, teaching literature and composition is enhanced when students are expected to think critically and creatively, innovate, display oral communication skills and work and collaborate in diverse team settings. Quite simply, this is important work because teachers in their specific disciplines need to know how 21st century skills manifest themselves inside their discipline. I often get asked, 'should we teach 21st century skills on Friday at 2:00?' The answer is 'no.' We need to teach them in the context of English, Social Studies and the other disciplines."

Further information about the 21st Century Skills and English Map can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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