The Other 21st Century Skills

User Generated Education


Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.


This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

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On Social Intelligence (SI) and Emotional Intelligence(EQ) Curriculum in Schools

 “People don’t leave companies- They leave bad bosses”- D. Goleman

My ah ha moment during our staff meeting today when we were discussing the pros and cons of promoting Google hangouts was: “If I force a child to come to me they will never come, if I flex and meet them where they are at they can be drawn”. – Erin Luong
Teachers need to listen, students are telling us they want to engage with technology and we need to allow this. However we need to use technology to enhance core ideas rather than replace them. Google hangouts are one method for teaching students communication skills.

If we don’t connect with our kids we turn them off and fail to teach.

New society and work environments create the need for Social and Emotional Competencies- (probably why it needs to be more emphasized in schools today)

A current school issue- only focusing on academics not teaching coping skills, self awareness, managing emotions and problem solving.

During our online lecture this week Dr. Boyatzis commented on a longitudinal study that he had completed with a group of colleague around changes in the educational system of American from the 60’s until now. One of the trends his team had observed was that our school systems began placing less of an emphasis on Social and Emotional skills in schools, and more of an emphasis on facts and assessment. They hypothesized that— A decrease in Social and Emotional skills being explicitly taught to students has been correlated with a lack of impulse control and an increase in negative societal consequences such as : violence, teen pregnancy, defiance, drug use, suicide, eating disorders, and depression.

All of the results prove to me that the importance of Social and Emotional Learning needs to increase
*** Schools need to support SEL philosophy

By helping our students learn to manage their emotions and the emotions of others they could quiet the emotional voices in their heads and hold onto more information.

CASEL was founded in 1994 by Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, educator/philanthropist Eileen Rockefeller Growald, Timothy Shriver, Linda Lantieri, Mark Greenberg and David Sluyter. We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works to advance the science and evidence-based practice of social and emotional learning.
Benefits of Social Emotional Learning

Schools that help students and staff develop greater social and emotional competencies, in turn help ensure positive short and long-term academic and personal outcomes for students.

SEL improves students’ positive behavior and reduces negative behavior.
It promotes young people’s academic success, health, and well-being at the same time that it prevents a variety of problems such as alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy, and bullying.
SEL is also associated with significant improvements in students’ academic performance and attitudes toward school.
A landmark review found that students who receive SEL instruction had more positive attitudes about school and improved an average of 11 percentile points on standardized achievement tests compared to students who did not receive such instruction.
SEL prepares young people for success in adulthood.
SEL helps students become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders, and caring, concerned members of their communities. It teaches them how to set and achieve goals and how to persist in the face of challenges. These are precisely the skills that today’s employers consider important for the workforce of the future.

For further information on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning- CASEL project as well as examples of how to address Emotional and Social Intelligence in schools I would recommend checking out the following website

How Do We as Educators Promote SEL?
Emotions need repetition and practice

Through the careful incorporation of Positive Emotional Attractors (PEA) and Negative Emotional Attractors (NEA).

The PEA is:
a. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system to cause arousal; feeling positive and hopeful; thinking about the future, dreams, and possibilities;
b. Being optimistic, focusing on one’s strengths;
c. Excited about trying something new, experimenting; and
d. Being in resonant relationships.

3. The NEA is:
a. Activating our sympathetic nervous systems (Fight and Flight) ; feeling negative and fear; thinking about the past or present, expectations of others and problems;
b. Being pessimistic, focusing on one’s weaknesses;
c. Feeling obligated to things you “should” or are “expected by others” to do, like a performance improvement plan;
d. Being in dissonant relationships.

4. Sustained desired change tends to start in the PEA.

Teachers who are able to create PEA’s can be described as “ OPEN, WARM, OPEN TO BAD MOVES AND GOOD LISTENERS
Teachers who create NEA’s tend to be: Aloof, ridged, focused on minor details, remote, uncaring,
To sustain learning or change efforts, it is likely that you have to spend 3-6 times in the PEA as the time spent in the NEA. This is to compensate for the observation that negative emotions are stronger than positive.

My roles as an mom, counsellor, educator and mentor is to help the children around me develop a vision of their futures.

I hope to one day to be remembered as the person who inspired someone’s legacy list.

Music a Way of Connecting Souls Together.. and other reasons I can’t give up band camp


When I was 12 I was really a bit lost… no longer a kid but not quite fitting into the preppy world I needed to find a place where I belonged.

Then along came DCI- Drum Corp International and my life changed for the better.

age 13

I not only gained a group of friends, I was able to tour all over North America with. I learned the power of performing.This confidence I built in my ability to learn music, survive on my own, figure out where the bathroom stops were, do my own laundry and budget my tour money so I wasn’t broke the last week stuck with me.

I marched from age 12 to age 18.

When I started high school the first thing I did when I walked through the doors was to find the choir and sign up, because I knew that I would feel safe in the music community.

Now I am a counsellor in a highschool and I still find myself drawn to the music community. Their positive energy and team work is inspiring… also they have those great band trips (oh I love the smell of a tour bus). I want other students to experience all the joys that I remember, and therefore I volunteer my time to be a chaprone for our high school.

Those clips are just a sample of what I was able to witness this year on tour in Whistler BC. I felt so blessed to be given the sacred position of the “bus mommy” for another generation of kids.

Emotions are Contagious


Emotional Contagiousness: + Social Collective Emotion creates the positive energy found in THE WAVE, FLASH MOBS or even LIP DUBS

With the trend in schools towards text messaging, e-mails home and blogs there is still a need for a little face to face interaction in order to solidify the relationship between team members.
About two weeks ago I had the pleasure (preconcussion) of attending EdcampYYC. I have to tell you I was super stoked to attend this event not just for the content but for the opportunity to connect and chat with profs and students I had met during #etmooc.
I find I get the same excitement when it comes to Teachers Convention, Opening Day Mass and the District Hockey Game.
My primary job as a teacher and counsellor is to CONNECT WITH PEOPLE. Even if I move into a leadership role, Face to Face is still important.
resonate relationships

Reflections Around Resonant and Dissonant Leadership: What’s Relationship Got to Do with it?


This week I began another MOOC adventure. I am taking Coursera’s Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence! with Richard E. Boyatzis, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University (see above if you would like to see his pic). I will be joining 70,000 students from around the world in this exciting learning experience.

This week we are starting out with reflecting on the language and traits of positive leaders we have already experienced.

Great read

1. Effective or resonant leadership relationships typically involve the experience of hope, compassion and mindfulness.

2. Effective, or resonant, leaders remind people of the purpose or vision of the organization. This arouses context, meaning and hope.

3. Resonant leaders care about others, beyond empathy or understanding, they deeply care.

4. Resonant leaders are mindful. That is, they appear to be authentic, transparent, genuine, and act with integrity.

5. On the whole, resonant leaders inspire others. Most of the time, when you leave a conversation or their office, you feel charged up, excited and inspired.

6. Leadership is about the relationship between the leader and the people around him or her.

7. The best leaders build or rebuild resonant relationships. These are relationships in which the leader is in tune with or in sync with the people around him or her.

Personal Insights and Reflection:

****Social Mode vrs Analytic (problem solving) Mode. When you activate one you suppress the other
Social networks- leave us open to new ideas.

Dissonance leaders– lead to more resistant responses, and negative emotions.
Resonate leaders- open to new ideas…. This is why in my office when I am working with students the Working Alliance is important.

One of the most amazing leaders I know is Alec Couros the professor from University of Regina who organized #etmooc (I know I should be moving on to my new mooc experience, but that one was just too magical). Throughout that three month course we had to participate in a number of real time blackboard collaborate sessions and I have reviewed the tapes of these sessions. I admired his authenticity, the fact that he invited us in to his world and his learning process. The fact that he was curious and asked us about our opinions. Often during his sessions/ meetings he would pose an initial question and then would ask prompting questions based on our responses

Has anyone else had a positive leadership experience. Feel free to share.