At the end of an academic quarter, students get more stressed about grades. What is reflected in these grades? Test scores? Memorization of key facts and concepts? Perhaps applications of these concepts in an essay or a project? 21st century universities and colleges say that they want students to come prepared with “soft skills” like critical thinking, oral communication, problem solving and collaboration. However, these skills are rarely taught explicitly in public schools, particularly with so much emphasis on standardized testing. This week students in the course will read the following articles about 21st century soft skills:
- “Preparing for the 21st Century: Soft Skills Matter” Huffington Post
- “21st Century Skills” The Glossary of Education Reform
- “In the 21st Century, soft skills are essential” Every Day of Education blog
- “Rigor Redfined” byTony Wagner, Transforming Education
Students will collaborate to create a collective list of “21st century skills” and reflect upon their progress and mastery of these skills in this course. Then each student will write an essay stating which grade he or she deserves in this class and why, based on skills development and contributions to the class.