Thursday, July 16, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate - Twenty-First Century Skills

Welcome , to our book study of Paul Solarz's book, Learn Like a Pirate hosted by The Primary Gal.
Today I am sharing my thoughts about chapter 7, Twenty-First Century Skills.
For most of his teaching career, Paul felt that teaching content standards was the most important part of his job.  I know that I often feel the same way, particularly with Common Core.  He knew that something needed to change in order for his students to develop skills they could use later on in life.  He wanted to instill in them the ability to transfer their learning to new situations so they could be successful outside of the classroom.  AND... he wanted his students to actually look forward to coming to school.

He set out to identify the skills that businesses wished recent college graduates had learned before hiring them.  He also looked for the skills that colleges were asking high schools to focus on more.  He ended up with a list of 34 skills in eleven categories:
  • communication and collaboration
  • creativity and innovation
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • reflection and awareness
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • initiative and self-direction
  • social and cross-cultural skills
  • productivity and accountability
  • leadership and responsibility
  • information literacy
  • media literacy
Forget college and beyond, those are skills I want to see in my own students now!

Infusing Twenty-First Century Skills Into Instruction

Paul says that when teachers give their students individualized feedback using twenty-first century skills as the method of delivering content, students develop actions and behaviors that are more transferable to the real world.  This intrigues me because transfer is often a struggle for some students.  You know the ones who get all the answers correct during an assignment, but fail the test if the questions are worded differently.

The Importance of Reflection

Paul says that one of the most important skills his students work on is reflection.  I know my teaching is better when I reflect on what I have done, wouldn't that be just as useful for my students?

Solarz gives several examples of how he encourages and develops twenty-first century skills in his students including ways to make math more meaningful.  He talks about providing students individualized feedback each day.  He also tells how he used student partnership to have students teach each other. 


  • I want to implement math partnerships this year.
  • I love the idea of integrating twenty-first century skills along with content standards (still thinking about what this will look like in my classroom)
  • I want to introduce goal setting to my students
I would love to hear your comments about twenty-first century skills!  What ways do you incorporate them into your lessons?

If you would like to see my thoughts from other chapters, check them out below:

Chapter 1 - What is a Student-Led Classroom?

Follow along with the other bloggers who are participating in this book study!

It's always great to hear another perspective!  Check out more posts from my bloggy friends below!

1 comment:

  1. I was a business finance major in college for my undergraduate degree, so I think I bring this business in the real world vibe into all my teaching. I do a lot of "fairs"- open to the public where kids have to present research/data/projects. They have to communicate their ideas and thoughts in writing and through speaking during these events... I think professional speaking is sort of a lost art in classrooms but a vital job skill!

    good post, lots of food for thought!
    The Whimsical Teacher


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