A Pedagogical Approach to Building 21st Century Skills

Proceedings of The 4th World Conference on Research in Teaching and Education

Year: 2022



A Pedagogical Approach to Building 21st Century Skills

Heather Woodward and Charu Gupta



Teachers often assume that students will connect the many classroom activities and content to big picture ideas without the need of their assistance (Wiggins & McTighe, 2008). At times, this assumption leads teachers and students astray. For instance, students in foreign language courses who rely heavily on machine translation devices to complete assignments can undermine its purpose (e.g., using their own linguistic resources). The process of completing the assignment can be as important as the product for achieving course goals. However, students might misunderstand the intent of using activities and covering certain content, not because they want to undermine them, but because they do not understand their purpose of the activity or content in relation to the big picture ideas. In this paper, we expand further on this issue of assuming students, and other stakeholders, can accurately connect the overall course goals and big picture ideas to classroom activities and content without the assistance of teachers. Next, we define the concepts of expertise and transfer, then explain how teachers can use Fries et al.’s (2020) practicing-connections hypothesis to teach National Education Association’s (2015) 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

keywords: practicing-connections hypothesis, expertise, transfer, course design.