The Other 21st Century Skills: Educator Self-Assessment

Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, Jan 21, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm noticing a drift in recent years away from actual skills toward what might be called 'character' traits - things like resilience, grit, self-reliance, and hope. These are the dog whistles reflecting a particular view of learning and education, suggesting is based more around character than what you know or can do. It reflects a world view in which people advance because of character rather than abilities or skills - hence questions like "Do you encourage and reinforce learners' own innate resiliency?" It's an anti-intellectualist positioning, one that concerns me, and one that reflects an emphasis on background and privilege rather than skill and ability. Related: I've talked about 'grit' in particular - here and here. It's the myth used to explain why your child didn't make it into Harvard.

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