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21st Century Competencies in Students: What are They and Why are They Important?

Posted by Jasween Gill on 28/02/20 12:01

Across the world, education experts have realised that students need to do more than just memorise facts and regurgitate those facts in order to be successful in an increasingly competitive global economy. In order to take the educational experience to the next level, the leaders and instructors at OWIS have made 21st century competencies a top priority.

What are 21st Century Competencies?

The students who are studying in the classroom today are the leaders who are going to be running our ever-changing world tomorrow. In order to succeed and adapt in a fluid environment that is becoming increasingly competitive, students will need to master several key 21st century competencies or skills.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Education, 21st century competencies need to be included as part of a holistic educational framework. The MOE notes that these competencies cannot be mastered in the classroom alone. Both educators and parents need to work hand-in-hand in order to help their children learn to become successful adults who can think critically and come up with innovative solutions to the complex problems facing society today.

These are some of the key 21st century competencies that students must master:

  • Creativity

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Innovation

  • Adaptability

  • Digital Literacy

  • Leadership

  • Cross-Cultural Understanding


Why are 21st-Century Competencies Important?

As we are in the midst of the fourth Industrial Revolution, knowledge is no longer the sole commodity needed for success. Rather, the next generation of leaders must be able to form valuable relationships, make connections with those who surround them, build their problem solving and adaptability skills in order to create solutions and drive innovation forward.

How Should Schools Incorporate 21st Century Competencies Into the Curriculum?

Students can only begin to understand the importance of these 21st-century competencies once they have been given an opportunity to practice them. According to TeachThought, teachers and administrators who want to incorporate these competencies into their curriculum need to do so in a strategic and holistic way. 

Regardless of the subject or the course, teachers can find ways to include competency development into their lesson plans. For example, teachers can create groups of students who will work together on a project. Each student in the group can be assigned a role, such as a manager, writer or art coordinator. This forces students to work on an individual task while focusing on the common goal.


Encouraging 21st Century competencies at at OWIS

At OWIS, the concept of incorporating 21st century competencies into the curriculum is nothing new. The administrators and instructors at OWIS have long made these competencies a priority, and they continue to provide students with opportunities to master these important skills.

Here's a look at what OWIS is doing to promote the importance of 21st-century competencies:

  • The key 21st century competencies are actively encouraged and consciously cultivated in our students as part of our programmes. We offer internationally-recognised curricula such as the IB PYP, IGCSE and IBDP for our students which are modern and relevant international curricula, and we also include STEAM subjects in our programmes.
  • At OWIS, we prioritise inquiry-led learning. Our students are given the opportunity to ask questions, think creatively on the subject at hand and to explore the results that they uncover.
  • We have a diverse student body at OWIS, which allows students to learn more about people from other cultures and backgrounds. Our students develop global awareness within their classrooms.
  • Collaboration plays a key role in our instruction. Beginning in the Early Childhood programme and lasting through the end of Secondary School, OWIS students are required to work in groups or pairs to learn more about a topic, research for different possibilities and develop a creative solution.


Next Steps: What Does the Future Look Like?

As educational leaders and instructors seek to incorporate 21st century skills into their existing curriculum, it's also imperative that they look to the future. Technology and innovation will continue to revolutionise our way of life, and teachers need to be focused on keeping students engaged in the months, years and decades ahead.

According to the Santa Maria Times, teachers need to foster a lifelong love of learning in their students. This passion for learning will allow students to continue to succeed well into their futures.

At OWIS, we believe that this is absolutely true. To learn more about what we are doing to ensure that our students master 21st century skills and how they are being prepared for the future, contact us today.




Topics: International School


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