The 21st Century Skills are relevant to all areas of schooling and focus on a child’s holistic development. The skills may be taught in a wide variety of in-school and outside-of-school settings.

Framework for 21st Century Learning by P21 was developed with input from teachers, education experts, and business leaders to define and illustrate the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in work, life and citizenship, as well as the support systems necessary for 21st century learning outcomes.

The skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century are broadly defined below.

  1. Content Knowledge and 21st Century Themes

    Mastery of fundamental subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Disciplines include:

  • English, reading or language arts

  • World languages

  • Arts

  • Mathematics

  • Economics

  • Science

  • Geography

  • History

  • Government and Civics

    In addition to these subjects, we believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into curriculum:

  • Global awareness

  • Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy

  • Civic literacy

  • Health literacy

  • Environmental literacy

  1. Learning and Innovation Skills: Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future.

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Communication and Collaboration

  1. Information, Media and Technology Skills: Today we live in a technology and media-suffused environment with: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology tools, and 3) the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media, and technology.

  • Information Literacy

  • Media Literacy

  • ICT Literacy

  1. Life and Career Skills: Today’s students need to develop thinking skills, content knowledge, and social and emotional competencies to navigate complex life and work environments. P21’s essential Life and Career Skills include:

  • Flexibility & Adaptability

  • Initiative & Self Direction

  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills

  • Productivity & Accountability

  • Leadership & Responsibility

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