The Direct Network

Essential Skills for Students

Posted by Joe Clarkin on Apr 8, 2015 12:00:00 AM
Topics: digital content, K-12, leadership in the classroom

As classrooms continue to evolve, the learning styles and skills that are essential are changing as well. This excerpt from a post by Michael Sledd discusses some of the areas instructors should focus on to help their students become successful now, and in the future. Read the highlights below and then be sure to check out the entire post on Edudemic.

Essential Skills for Students

Pearson’s 2014 edition of “The Learning Curve” report lists the skills below as those most necessary to succeed in the 21st century.


One common theme runs through most modern theories, which is that leadership is no longer necessarily about powerful individuals directing others. Rather, it is about fostering collaboration, working toward common goals, and acting as a leader in any role assumed, regardless of whether it meets the classical definition of a leader.

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is the ability to use digital technology to locate, review, utilize and create new information. Unlike teaching leadership skills, which can be abstruse and subjective in nature, improving students’ digital literacy is generally a much more concrete process, with a wide variety of tools readily available, including an online Digital Literacy portal funded by the U.S. Federal government.

It is not only vital for instructors to ensure they incorporate digital literacy into their lessons in order to connect with their students, but that they keep up to speed and engage in lifelong learning themselves as well.

Going along with this, creatively incorporating digital learning into lesson plans and maintaining student interest is also highly important. Strategies could include things that many educators may have never considered, such as utilizing Skype, texting, Twitter, or possibly even games.


Fundamentally, regardless of language or medium, truly effective communication is about openly and honestly sharing information in a way that creates mutual understanding between all parties involved about the others’ thoughts, intentions and ideas, whether they agree or not.

The most difficult barriers to overcome are going to be cultural, and even more so, psychological/attitudinal. In these cases, active listening is probably the most fundamental skill to develop for dealing with these type of communication issues, and will help greatly with most of the others as well.

While a great deal of time is spent in education practicing information output, and static input such as reading or listening to lectures, less is spent engaging in open dialogue where students have to practice listening and engaging in discussions of ideas with one another or simply practice listening to what each other are saying non-judgmentally.

The closest many students will come to this is playing “telephone” in elementary school, after which this skill will largely go un-nurtured. Some might point to debate activities, but these are geared toward winning an argument, which while developing other valuable skills, by its nature will never be a truly open dialogue. Teachers who can successfully devise activities that educate their students on active listening techniques will provide those students with a useful skill throughout life.

Emotional Intelligence

Overall, emotional intelligence provides a strong support to a well-balanced student. Educators would be remiss to neglect this aspect of growth and development, particularly given the wealth of scholarly research and guidance readily available on the internet regarding the topic. Together with communication, emotional intelligence is essential in building and maintaining relationships in both the classroom and the workplace.


Fundamentals of entrepreneurship such as creativity, drive, innovation, and passion, can apply to any venture, whether it is in the business or entertainment worlds, or the non-profit and public sectors. Some would say that at its real core, entrepreneurial spirit is about people having a unique vision for their place in the world and sacrificing and striving toward making it a reality, regardless of whether a financial profit is involved.

Instilling or cultivating this sort of active, motivated mindset in students regarding education is guaranteed to lead to improved success rates. There are many ideas out there concerning entrepreneurship classroom activities that could be adopted, modified or simply used as springboards for ideas by teachers to suit their specific needs.

Global Citizenship

With digital connectivity and modern transportation shrinking the figurative distances between people more and more, and global economies binding different nations closer and closer together, it is increasingly difficult for even the most resistant to ignore or not accept that we are all citizens of the same planet and must work together to ensure its continuance as a livable place.


About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

Related articles on the Direct Network

Article comments

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Most popular posts

Most popular topics

see all