Skills 21 content and methodology has not be created on an assumption. A wealth of research and reports by global thought leaders has been used guide our quest to design a world-class, effective, and fun programme.
In order for students to succeed upon graduation, no matter their grade level, they need to be ready for the opportunities they pursue in life. Students possess a natural inclination to succeed, and it is up to educators, parents and communities alike to provide the foundation and vehicle that will drive students to achieve their dreams by equipping them with essential knowledge and the tools to critically think and problem solve; and perhaps most important, develop persistence and determination.
When employers are asked about the most important factor in their decision to hire a candidate, almost always, communication skills are at the top of the list. Following closely behind are critical thinking, problem solving and concise writing, as well as other social, emotional and character-building life skills.
Students facing graduation in the near future may not be equipped to enter the job market for a reason progressively common in the 21st century: character and emotional skills, or the lack thereof. Businesses on the hunt for the next generation workforce frequently agree that potential employees lack the proper character skills and professional abilities that will help make them qualified candidates.
One breakthrough study found that upon implementing programs that focused on building social, emotional and character skills for one hour each week, elementary schools in Hawaii reported “fewer suspensions, lower absenteeism and better reading and math scores on standardised tests.”
Even for students who are successful in traditional educational practices, many parents are in favour of introducing skill development in the classroom in an effort to promote strong qualities into the values of their children. Our own research revealed over 90% of parents surveyed (3,040) were interested in an enhanced after-school programmes focusing on developing skills.
There are a number of studies that identify 21st Century Skills as a necessary addition to traditional schooling. Here is just a small sample:
A Payscale research project in 2016 found that 87% of graduates believe they are prepared for entering work, whereas only 50% of employers believe the same.
World Economic Forum states “To thrive in today’s innovation-driven economy, workers need a different mix of skills than in the past”.
Time magazine article read “This is a story about … whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good information from bad, or speak a language other than [their own].”
“93% of teachers want social and emotional learning to be taught in the class room” CASEL research study
Skills 21 encourages your child to take charge of their own learning. The teachers are simply observes and facilitators, there to guide reflection and deeper thinking. A World Economic Forum report described 14 essential components required to effectively teach social and emotional skills, Skills 21 achieves all 14.
Encourage play-based learning
Break down learning into smaller, coordinated pieces
Create a safe environment for learning
Develop a growth mindset
Foster nurturing relationships
Allow time to focus
Foster reflective reasoning and analysis
Develop a growth mindset
Offer appropriate praise
Guide a child’s discovery of topics
Help children take advantage of their personality and strengths
Guide a child’s discovery of topics
Provide appropriate challenges
Provide clear learning objectives targeting explicit skills
Use a hands-on approach
In today’s digital world, there is no shortage of screen time, particularly when it comes to children and their fondness for gaming. For many parents, gaming isn’t seen as a learning tool; however, there is mounting evidence that directly supports the educational benefits of gamified learning, both at home and in the classroom.
Four key benifits about gamified learning
Games support student-centered learning and basic motivation
Simply put, games are engaging. A well-designed learning game immerses a child in the context of a scenario or storyline, while also helps them understand academic content in relatable situations. Games also help students feel like they have ownership of their learning by letting them choose different options or paths as they move through the objectives. Finally, building skills through levels and achievements appeals to children’s natural competitive nature. Providing a rewarding sense of accomplishment when they reach a new milestone.
Games promote skill building through practice and repetition
Learning and mastering skills can only become deep-rooted through practice and deeper understanding. Encouraging children to actually practice new skills, though, can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when they lack the scenarios to apply them. This is one of the most noteworthy benefits of gamificiation. They appeal to students, taking the monotony out of practice in favour of a competitive environment that often combines rewards when questions are answered correctly.
Games provide students with instant feedback and helpful feedback
Feedback is key to helping students progress through new situations and achieve meaningful practice. Constructive feedback is the backbone of gamified learning in the way of collecting points, earning lives, or advancing levels. This feedback lets students know where they’re excelling and where they need to improve upon, which promotes engagement and essential skill building in the process.
Games provide students a secure space to experience failure
Experiencing failure and knowing how to bounce back and keep moving forward is a learned skill that is essential for life. If students never experience failure, they will never understand that they have the ability to overcome it. In gaming, these soft approaches include losing an avatar’s life or failing to reach the next level, provide a constructive approach to failure. Rather than putting the child in a hurtful or embarrassing situation, they are encouraged to apply creative thinking and other skills to persevere.