Children these days are preoccupied with the digital world. These digital natives are “experts” in gadgets and various applications online that they use both for leisure and educational purposes. There may be negative effects, such as decreased social interaction, but technology is here to stay and children need to have the skills and internet to use these for their benefit.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a US nonprofit organization that advocates 21st Century readiness for every student, says that students must have a “range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology” to succeed in the 21st century marketplace. These skills also involves key characteristics such as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration.
In the Philippines, 21st century skills are promoted through the salient features of the K-12 Basic Education Program: Strengthening Early Childhood Program, Making the Curriculum Relevant to Learners, Building Skill (through language), Ensuring unified and Seamless Learning, Gearing up for the Future, and Nurturing the Fully Developed Filipino (k12philippines.com).
Teacher Myn Tinio, school directress of Bridges School, agrees. “The world we live in now may become very different from the world that our children will have, once they are part of the work force. There may be careers by that time that do not even exist now. That’s why it is important that the children are given the skills that may not seem to be significant bow, but will eventually be valuable in the future”, she said.
Furthermore, Ms. Tinio mentioned that making children do too much memory work and academic requirements that do not match their developmental skills may be harmful for them.“Some parents are excited to show how ‘advanced’ their young kids are. But if those happened only because of too much tutoring or pressured work, it may backfire in the future. Pupils may end up not liking school or learning”, she continued.
Schools must make sure the lessons given to the children are relevant to them. Younger child need more concrete experiences. They learn better by using more senses instead of just pen and paper. In Bridges School, children are exposed to various experiences such as cooking, experiments, and field trips, plus a variety of art activities and integrated learning. For instance, when they read a story about a cap seller, they also create products and sell them in school. This way, the children are able to apply in real life the lessons that they learn in class be it in language, arts, math, or social studies.
Play is the best tool to learn 21 st century skills
“Play is such a good way to teach children. This helps children think critically and also creatively and imaginatively. By playing different in ways, they learn that it’s okay to make mistakes and they also learn to collaborate or work well with others. This goes well with the DepEd target to nurture fully developed Filipinos.”