Published 18th May 2018

21ST CENTURY SKILLS IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

As English as Foreign Language teachers, we teach more than English. In our EFL classrooms our students learn English but they also learn a number of different skills. One such set of skills is 21st century skills.

What are 21st Century Skills?

21st Century skills are a set of skills which are necessary for our students to have to survive and thrive in the world we live in today. (In fact, 21st Century skills are a set of skills it’s necessary for teachers to have too!) Because the EFL classroom is not your traditional classroom, we have the opportunity to bring other skills into our lessons. CLIL and blended learning are examples of this. Besides, communicating on a global level is possibly one of the most important 21st Century skills. Isn’t that exactly why our students come to our lessons?

Here are what we consider to be the 21st Century skills you should incorporate into your EFL lessons:

Autonomy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: learning a language is hard. There are only so many hours in the day, and only so many hours our students can be in the EFL classroom. This means that it is up to our students to continue their language learning journey outside the classroom. We can provide them with the skills they need to be able to learn vocabulary, engage with authentic texts, notice new language and communicate in the real world. In this way they will increase their exposure to the language and take responsibility for themselves – an essential skill in this day and age.

Personalisation

In a world where education is often seen as a one-size-fits-all concept, personalization can be key to progress. Our students need to identify their learning styles and language needs and how to incorporate their interests into their learning. In this way, they won’t be overwhelmed by the mountains of learning materials available to them. They will be able to choose what would work best for them. These days, with all the different options available to us whichever way we turn, knowing what suits you is important.

Introspection

Learning a language requires a great deal of self-awareness. Being able to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses and our learning journey will help our students improve themselves.  An important part of learning is also the ability to stop and reflect on the language learning journey. The ability to understand what we do well versus what we need to improve on is an important life skill in any field.

Teaching 21st Century skills may not seem like part of your job description, but it is necessary to make our students effective learners. Plus, they will be able to take this skill set out of the classroom with them and into the real world.