The future world of work & careers: dynamics, skills & partnerships
21st Century Skills, Behavious & Dispositions
Some Terms & Definitions
The research and literature on ‘21st century skills’ is extensive, with various terms and definitions used to describe and characterise them:
• The Mitchell Institute prefers the term ‘capabilities’ over ‘non-cognitive skills’, ‘enterprise skills’ or ‘21st century skills’. It defines them as ‘a set of skills, behaviours and dispositions which allow an individual to convert their knowledge into meaningful action in a range of different settings’. Such ‘capabilities’ include critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, curiosity, interpersonal skills, communication skills, self-regulation, grit, entrepreneurial skills, teamwork and craftmanship.
• The Gonski Report similarly refers to ‘general capabilities’ in preference to ‘21st century skills’, ‘interactive skills’, ‘knowledge economy skills’ and ‘enterprise skills’ because they incorporate ‘a clear list that has been nationally agreed and established as part of the Australian Curriculum.’
• The FYA prefers ‘enterprise skills’ to ‘generic, soft or 21st century skills’, though notes that they all mean much the same thing: ‘transferable skills that allow young people to be enterprising so they can navigate complex careers across a range of industries and professions … and are different from technical skills which are specific to a particular task, role or industry.’
• CIRES uses ‘key skills’, as it ‘allows for a broad conception of skills, where acquiring a skill is synonymous with developing a form of expertise cognitively, behaviourally or emotionally which can be applied in key areas of activity. Skills are not only technical; they can be fairly generic and represent complex forms of expertise. This … makes it possible to consider the range of dispositions, knowledge and capabilities a student needs to possess in order to demonstrate a given form of expertise.’
• The OECD speaks of the ‘knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and competencies required for the 2030 world’.
• The WEF refers to ‘21st century skills’.