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Patricia Engblade

College position - 4 year coll

Montague, MI

Interests: 21st century learning,...

  • Posted 6 Years ago
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21st Century Skills of Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication Skills

I have been looking for work that has been done to "Task Analyze", using an old Madeline Hunter term, some of the 21st Century Skills. Too many times, we expect that students come to our classroom with the skills to be good collaborators, critical thinkers, creative thinkers and exemplary communicators. We simply set up activities and tell them to be creative, or be collaborative. My thinking is that there are incremental steps leading to exemplary status in these skills, but that those steps have not yet been identified. I also think that we need to find assessment tools to help us to access student progress in attainment of these skills. I found some great work done by the Catalina Foothills School District in Arizona. They have created rubrics for these 2st Century Skills that may prove to be very helpful. Does anyone have any other sources?


Dr. Patricia Engblade

EE21 - Educational Engineering for 21st Century Learning


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26 Jan 12, 11:24 PM

Hi Patricia,

I too realized that to give students a handle on the higher-level behaviors we want them to engage in, we have to be prepared to "slow down" the action and clarify the steps that make up a complex process. When I started modeling cognitive behaviors in that way, my students gained clarity they did not have before and with scaffolded practice they were able to use and apply the strategies they needed.

I've written about this kind of instruction in Learning For Keeps: Teaching the Strategies Essential for Creating Inde   pedent Learners While the book focuses on reading, writing and problem solving strategies, the model for explicit, transactional instruction can be applied to any challenging behavior in any area of the curriculum.

I hope you find this helpful.

Rhoda Koenig





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21 Jan 12, 03:32 PM

Dear Patricia:

I don't know if this is helpful, but...I have been thinking a lot about this, and have identified five skill areas that provide a "sequence" of inquiry and research based learning activities that promote the four areas you cite above. The five areas are:

Asking good questions, formulating critical problems, issues and challenges

Searching for and processing information

Thinking deeply and flexibly

Drawing conclusions and applying learning

Communicating effectively

While these can be seen as a sequence of learning experiences, they can also be taught separately. They form the basis for project based learning and for unit planning. 

You can read four of my blogs that focus on implementing these five skills. While I don't have the specific rubrics and activities yet, I think that focusing on these five skill areas can help to narrow the field of skills and form them into a useful teaching approach.

I hope that this is helpful.


Elliott Seif


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