PIDP Reflective Writing Assignment 1 – 21st Century competencies


“21st Century competencies” include “deep understanding, flexibility and the capacity to make creative connections” and “a range of so-called ‘soft skills’ including good team working.”


The emotions that have come up for me are hope and relief. The language contained within this quote is engaging for individuals hoping to facilitate positive changes for education in our future. This is especially true regarding those changes characterized by “deep understanding”. This notion of “deep understanding” which develops, according to (OECD 2009), from having “positive beliefs about oneself as a learner in general” strikes a chord with me as I believe that one’s attitude dovetails with one’s educational experiences to foster success or failure. This quotation provides me with grounds for hope that good things may happen. I was intrigued by the inclusion of the “capacity to make
creative connections” as a 21st Century competency, where innovation is essential, and a modern approach to the world is paramount if one wants to do more than just survive the rapid pace of technological and informational change that has become daily life. The adapt or fail imperative is evident as technology is continuously changing, and 21st century learners need to master new and evolving processes.

This is expounded upon by Ananiadou and Claro (2009) in an examination of “young people’s use of digital media” which they state is consistent with forms of learning that are well-aligned with the 21st century competences and with established principles of learning in that “it tends to be highly social, involves a good deal of experimentation and “tinkering”, and encourages the production and sharing of knowledge” facilitating learning that is more about interaction and participation rather than the passive consumption of information or knowledge.” The emotional response to this is one of relief. “For example, it has been observed that videogames encourage young people to interact strongly with their peers, to create meeting spaces, exchange experiences and reinforce skills of communication and collaboration (see for example Dede, 2009). Game theory uses the term “meta-gaming” to refer to the conversations about strategies that occur around videogames as players share what they know, ask more expert players questions and join efforts to solve complex challenges. This type of involvement with a game is similar to what education psychologists call “meta-understanding”, the process of reflecting about one’s own learning (Squire and Jenkins, 2003). “

Flexibility and a more liberal education as described by McCuen and the reference to ‘soft skills’ highlights a focus on interpersonal relationships, and is reinforced with the inclusion of “good team-working.”  Soft skills are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

          *Definition of liberal education: “This approach to a college education provides both broad knowledge in a variety of areas of study and knowledge in a specific major or field of interest.  It also helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as intellectual and practical skills that span all areas of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.  (McCuen, 2016)


Part of my ‘Aha” moment has come from analyzing my own journey as an adult student learning to become an adult educator.  Specifically, how my thinking about my thinking with regard to my own level of understanding, feelings of frustration, ignorance and the defining epiphanic moment where I have finally coming to the place where ‘I get it.’

The most interesting aspect of my learning has been my level of understanding and self-awareness of the learning process as seen through the eyes of the student, one where I can see the thoughts and ideas gelling into a level of understanding that has meaning and relevance. (and relief)

This quote has changed my mind in that it has allowed me to let go of many of my preconceived ideas of the role of the teacher and the role of the student, one where the teacher is the authority figure and the student must accept the information or teachings that have been put forth for their consumption. Instead I can assume the role of a facilitator to ensure that student can go down the correct path of making creative connections and developing soft skills. Learning about learning and my desire to teach have been re-enforced by the illuminating aspects of this more modern theory of adult education, one where deep understanding, flexibility, the capacity to make creative connections and soft skills matter.

A key insight is;

          A competence is more than just knowledge or skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing on and mobilizing psychosocial resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context. For example, the ability to communicate effectively is a competence that may draw on an individual’s knowledge of language, practical IT skills and attitudes towards those with whom he or she is communicating (Rychen & Salganik, 2003). (page 8)


Two things that I would do differently are to let the students to get to know me and to let the student to get to know each other. This would likely involve the use of appropriate ice-breakers to help students get to know each other on a more personal level. Discussions between students and instructor that allow them to share their stories with each other, this model will allow a more collaborative working environment based on a better understanding of who people are and where they come from.

Creating connections in paired or small group assignments and tasks would emerge with greater ease and in a manner that is fulfilling for my students and myself.



K Ananiadou and M. Claro (2009)

21st Century Skills and Competences for New Millennial Learners in OECD Countries”, OECD Publishing, Paris: EDU Working Paper No. 41.

Katerina Ananiadou:

Magdalean Claro:


McCuen. (2016). It takes more than a major:

Employer priorities for college learning and student success: Overview and key findings. Retrieved August 13, 2016, from In-line Citation: (McCuen, 2016)

Dominique Simone Rychen and Laura Hersh Salganik (2003) 7-18

The definition and selection of key competencies  Hogrefe & Huber …

OECD- Contributions to the second DeSeCo symposium

Kurt Squire and Henry Jenkins (2003) Harnessing the Power of Games in Education 5-31

describe five detailed scenarios designed to illustrate the pedagogical potential of computer and video games. InSight, Vol 3…/digital%20gaming%20education.pdf

Chris Dede – Harvard Graduate School of Education July, 2009

Comparing Frameworks for “21st Century Skills”


Visit the DeSeCo Project on the Web


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