21st century skills: understand why it is so important to develop them in young people.

The need to develop the skills of the 21st century as part of education is something already set. It’s them that will provide young people with resources to face a labor market that demands more and more each day. But studies are still lacking in the area. To compete for promising positions in the ever-changing job market, students need to develop critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation skills. 


But how to develop such skills in classrooms nowadays? The issue worries governments, teachers and parents. To help understanding this concept, the National Research Council created a list of the 21st century skills and what to do to develop them. You can download it for free here (English version) . Researchers divided the skills into three domain groups. The first one is already known by educators: cognitive.


It involves skills that traditional teaching methods already take into account, such as the power of interpretation, literacy, the ability to listen, among others. The other domains, however, are not so tangible in learning. They are: intrapersonal and interpersonal. The first involves the way each individual handles their own emotions. Self-learning, perseverance and flexibility are some of the competencies required to have that mastery.


The interpersonal domain, on the other hand, includes characteristics that help to deal with other people. Knowing how to communicate and empathize are some of the skills that the student show when developing well. This is not to say that cognitive skills are totally excluded. The ideal is to understand an intersection of the three and create conducive environments to the development of each one of them, both outside and within the classroom.


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