Opinion
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

The Time Is Now for 21st-Century Teaching

September 27, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
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
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Ed-Tech Policy Reported Essay Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Emergencies
Schools were less prepared for digital learning than they thought they were.
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion Why Are We Turning Our Backs on Remote Learning?
Neither the detractors nor defenders of remote learning are fully in the right, argues one superintendent.
Theresa Rouse
5 min read
Illustration of girl working on computer at home.
Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor Using E-Rate to Address the Homework Gap
The FCC's E-rate program can provide relief to many families, says this letter author from the Internet Society.
1 min read
Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty