Teaching Students to Learn and to Work Well with 21st Century Skills: Unpacking the Career and Life Skills Domain of the New Learning Paradigm

Charles Kivunja


In Do You Want Your Students to Be Job-Ready With 21st Century Skills? Kivunja (2014a) draws on the work by the Partnership For Teaching 21st Century Skills (P21) reported by Trilling and Fadel (2009), to articulate that the skills that young people need to succeed as individuals, citizens and workers in the 21st century fall into four domains. As reported by Trilling and Fadel (2009) those four domains are the Traditional Core subjects and Skills domain, the Learning and Innovations Skills domain, the Career and Life Skills domain, as well as the Digital Literacies Skills domain. The pedagogical move from teaching the traditional core skills of literacy and numeracy to include these additional themes and skills of the 21st century is characterized by Kivunja (2014a) as the pedagogical shift that is needed to ensure that on graduation, students will be job-ready with the skills most in demand in the 21st century workplace.

Arguing that the components of the Traditional Core Skills domain such as the orthodoxy 3Rs of reading, -riting and rithmentic are well known, Kivunja (2014b) in Innovative Pedagogies in Higher Education to Become Effective Teachers of 21st Century Skills, draws on the excellent work of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2008) and on the Framework for 21st Century Learning (P21, 2011) to unpack the skills of the Learning and Innovations Skills domain (LIS). In that discussion, Kivunja (2014b) argues strongly that it is essential that students be explicitly taught the skills of critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, collaboration, as well as creativity and innovation, so as to make sure that they are well equipped with the Learning and Innovation Skills (LIS).

This article, builds on the work of Kivunja cited above, (Kivunja, 2014a and 2014b), to extend an understanding of the new learning paradigm by discussing its Career and Life Skills (CLS) domain. The article explains what the skills in this domain involve and discusses how the relevant skills can be taught to help prepare students for success in whatever workplaces, trades, occupations or professions they will join on their graduation into the 21st century Digital Economy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v4n1p1


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