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21st Century Learning

The New Basics report which was delivered to many school principals this year and authored by Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) looked at big data to understand the economic and social conditions affecting young people today and into the future.  The report strongly suggested the importance of teaching enterprise skills to students from primary school through to secondary school. These skills include the following: problem solving, communication skills, digital literacy, teamwork, presentation skills, critical thinking, creativity and financial literacy. 

The analysis looked at job ads from over 6,000 sources over a three year period and found the following: 

  • Jobs requiring critical thinking increased by 158%

  • The need for creativity increased by 65%

  • Presentation skills increased by 25%

  • Requirement for team work rose by 19%

But why is 21st Century Learning so important?

According to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, as mentioned in the 2015 report titled 21st century skills for senior education "Students will need to become lifelong learners who are knowledge creators, technology savvy, problem solvers, innovators and effective communicators who share ideas with others and respond positively to change." They will need to be "Global citizens who have relationships based on fairness and tolerance, are culturally competent and able to connect locally and globally  successful people who set goals, are resilient, able to create opportunities and are confident in pursuing their passions" 

Employment markets are volatile and the jobs that used to be the foundations of a strong economy and the basis for a lifelong career path, no longer exist. In their place,  adaptive, transferable roles that are typically contract-based, including entrepreneurs, project managers and creative directors, are emerging. These kinds of roles require a skill-set that includes more than literacy and numeracy and are becoming just as important. These are the enterprise skills that are listed above. 

This video by Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership helps to sum up why acquiring the skills for 21st Century Learning is critical and how Australian schools are going about it.  

The five core competencies outlined and taught in Social Emotional Learning; Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making, set the basis for instilling these enterprise skills and are taught in the Second Step Program from Early Learning right through to Year 8. 


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