1st: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
This is probably the most useful skill anyone can have in general and is the most showing when it's missing. The ability to critically analyze a problem and identify workable solutions is critical for success with half of the skills list below. Students need to understand how to view problems and break them down into manageable and solvable pieces. Bundled in with this students need to have the patience and dedication to see a project through and not quit or give up if the solution isn't simple or quick.
2nd: Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
Students have to learn to work together and not in isolation. Few professions in the world have employees working by themselves on problems and testing and training students for this type of non-existent job is a disservice to the student. Students are better prepared for life by understanding how to work with a group to collaboratively find and implement solutions to problems. Students need to learn how to organize and direct themselves without constant supervision if they are to succeed in the world.
3rd: Agility and Adaptability
I feel that this could have been partially bundled into Critical Thinking. Students need to understand the systems and problems they are working on so that they can see how they can implement solutions and identify problems. Agility can only come when you understand what you are working on and what methods are applicable. Adaptability means that a student can adapt to changes in the nature or their work or the problem being worked on. Students can't be stuck in a mindset that one method or solution will be correct for everyone problem and situation for the rest of their lives. They need to understand what skills they have and how they can be adapted to new situations and tasks.
4th: Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Students have to view themselves as more than just cogs in a system to survive in the future. They need to understand that the job security and complacency that was acceptable is no longer the norm. Students need to take control of their lives and their output going forward. They need to learn how to take initiative in finding solutions to problems they have identified and being leaders for change when needed.
5th: Effective Oral and Written Communication
I feel that this skill has overlap with number 2. Students need to learn how to effectively share and communicate their ideas with others. If we are to help prepare students for jobs where they will be expected to work with a team to create and implement solutions they need to have an understanding of how to present their ideas and opinions in a logical and coherent fashion so as to persuade others.
6th: Accessing and Analyzing Information
With the constant access to information through the internet and connected devices students need to understand how to critically access the information they find online and receive from secondary sources. Students should be able to validate statements they hear and read, and know how to present evidence either for or against a given view.
7th: Curiosity and Imagination
Are both necessary yet ambiguous skills to have or demonstrate. Teaching a student to have imagination is a matter of nurturing their imagination as we have to show the student that their ideas and views have worth and provide insight. Students will never display their imagination or creativity if they don't feel safe expressing their ideas. Similarly curiosity can only come if we show students that their questions have worth. If students feel that they are making worthwhile connections and contributions with their questions they are more likely to explore deeper into subjects and ideas. Students need some kind of hook if they are going to have a desire to dig deeper into a subject and educators need to ensure they don't squash that desire.
I feel that preservation could have been included in the list more heavily as it's own specific skill. The ability to stick with a hard problem and not quit is needed in every profession and should be more highly valued. Students need to be exposed to truly difficult problems more often in their lives so that they understand how much effort is required to find a solution. Real problems are never set up like word problems and the tests life throws at people rarely call for a single obscure fact. Students need to learn to identify problems in their world and create and carry out solutions if they are going to have success in the future.
I also feel that their should have been a skill focused on modern technological usage. While Wagner touches on technology in Collaboration Across Networks and Assessing and Analyzing Information, students need to have a fundamental understanding of how the can find and use technologies available in their lives to solve problems. Students also need to understand how they can identify problems that don't currently have an available tool or solution. Identifying which tool or process is best for finding a solution is an actual job skill that students are not currently being trained to meet.
What can I commit to in my classroom this year?
Currently I'm teaching Business Math to Seniors and I hope that I am achieving some of these goals with my instruction. Students have collaborated with partners and groups to design budgets for business plans and moving out of their parents homes. Students learned about State and Federal taxes and completed a mock Federal Income Tax return online. We recently had a Financial Adviser as a guest speaker talk to the students about his job and what services a Financial Adviser provides to clients.
I hope that a lot of these lessons and activities have a greater connection to the students than a worksheet of solving for x. I feel that the material being covered is interesting to them considering that it has value in their near future and isn't created or modeled in a vacuum. Students are making choices and decisions that they will have to make throughout their lives in my class.
How will you measure success?
With student involvement mostly. I can't dictate how grading and curriculum is structured at my current site but I feel that if the students are engaging with the material and are asking relevant questions, and are actively trying to link the material to their own lives, that this material will have a longer lasting impact on their lives. In the future I would like to implement portfolio based assessments like High Tech High. I feel that their approach to accessing students understanding is more inline with the experience that students will have outside of school in their actual lives. Preparing them for the world as it actually exists is of greater value to me than preparing them for a world where they individually answer mathematical problems given a specific time constraint.