Opinion
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

The Time Is Now for 21st-Century Teaching

September 27, 2011 1 min read

To the Editor:

Christopher L. Doyle’s Commentary “Back to the Future” (Sept. 14, 2011) is mistaken on facts, but right on the message.

The aim of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, or P21, and the Framework for 21st Century Learning is to ensure that young people are prepared for school, work, and life in the 21st century. Twenty-first-century skills do not stand alone or replace content knowledge, but need to be embedded throughout the curriculum, with relevant assessments connected to real learning, not simply rote memorization. What is new about these skills is their intentional inclusion as essential components of a quality education for all students.

The rise of technology and globalization have ensured that our young people will inherit a changed world. The skills P21 highlights allow students to become the kinds of creative, critically freethinking, adaptable, and well-rounded adults who will one day pursue careers not yet invented and contribute to society in ways we cannot yet imagine.

These skills were defined not by the business world, but through the collaboration of many community stakeholders: parents, educators, librarians, and citizens—the “artists, developmental psychologists, ethicists, environmentalists, and physicists” Mr. Doyle cites—who understand the value of science, creativity, ethics, and child development, and think beyond what a standardized, status-quo classroom can provide.

Based on his writings, Mr. Doyle is himself a 21st-century educator. He notes: “My agenda also encompasses linking the past to current events. ... I aspire additionally to teach empathy and ethics, qualities that I believe the discipline of history is uniquely capable of developing. And I seek to improve my students’ skill at writing while sharpening their capacity for critical thought.” This is what 21st-century educators do.

The 21st-century-skills movement and our nation’s children need more examples of this kind of powerful, real-world teaching and learning. Mr. Doyle is right to say that we need to stop forecasting 21st-century skills; we simply need to start teaching them.

Timothy J. Magner

Executive Director

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2011 edition of Education Week as The Time Is Now for 21st-Century Teaching

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

President and CEO
Alexandria, Virginia
National Association of State Boards of Education
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Ed-Tech Policy Whitepaper
Using E-rate Funds to Enhance School Networks
This guide offers a roadmap to help K-12 leaders successfully leverage federal funds to expand digital learning opportunities for their students.
Content provided by Spectrum Enterprise
Ed-Tech Policy New York Banned Facial Recognition in Schools. Will Other States Follow?
New York schools are prohibited from using the widely criticized biometric identifying technology until at least July 2022.
3 min read
Girl looking into smartphone facial recognition
Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Dawn of an Education-Friendly FCC? Chairman Ajit Pai Moving On
The FCC chairman plans to step down from his role at the end of President Donald Trump's term on Jan. 20.
3 min read
Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai arrives for an FCC meeting to vote on net neutrality.
Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai arrives for an FCC meeting to vote on net neutrality. 
Associated Press
Ed-Tech Policy Many Students Still Lack Home Internet. Here's How Big the Problem Is.
Only 11 percent of school district leaders and principals said all their students have the home internet access they need to fully participate in virtual instruction.
3 min read