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Educators Debate Content and Critical Thinking

Critical ThinkingThe great education debate continues. Should the teaching of 21st-century skills replace the teaching of content? Because so much new knowledge is being created, should students focus on how to know instead of knowing?

Proponents of teaching 21st century skills state that seven survival skills are integral to schooling:

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Collaboration and leadership
  3. Agility and adaptability
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  5. Effective oral and written communication
  6. Accessing and analyzing information
  7. Curiosity and imagination

A U.S. News report on modern education trends states: “The American job market is changing, of course, and the nation does need more highly skilled workers than in the past. There are also obviously some discrete new skills that students need because of advances in technology. But, overall, none of these skills are unique to the 21st century.

“What’s new today is the degree to which economic competitiveness and educational equity mean these skills can no longer be the province of the few. This distinction is not a mere debating point.  It has important implications for how schools approach teaching, curriculum, and content.”

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