21st Century Work Skills

This CNN article lists the five most important work skills for the “Conceptual Age”:  Strategic Imagination, Provocative Inquiry, Creative Problem Solving, Agility, and Resilience.

I don’t think schools in general (and high schools in particular) are structured to develop these skills well.  Usually the more imaginative classes like art and music are treated as “extras” or “specials” and they’re the first to get cut when the budget dries up.  Student inquiry is not a particularly efficient way of teaching (and what do you do with student who chose not to inquire?).  And teachers (who already know the best way to do things) don’t often have time to allow students to come up with their own creative solutions (which may or may not yield the correct answer).

What can schools do to foster these skills?  How does a Spanish teacher teach imagination and problem solving?  How do you grade creativity?

I don’t have the answers, but the irony of this situation is that the students who are best at imagination, creativity, and agility are the ones who end up with C’s (and detentions).  And the A-students are the ones who consistently repeat the tasks they’ve been taught, the way they’ve been taught to without deviation.  In fact, the future may be brightest for ADD students:

“The best employees of the future will excel at creative problem solving and different ways of thinking — synthesizing seemingly diverse things together for better solutions, using metaphors to explain new ideas for which no context yet might exist.”


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