- Category: Education
- Published on Thursday, 02 July 2009 10:38
Today I read material gathered from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Web Site. The Partnership has “developed a vision for 21st century student success in the new global economy.” As I read the material I was struck by the emphasis of skills over content, and as I contemplated the importance of content versus skills, I ran into a reference to something written by Marshall Smith. In 1995 he cautioned educators not to allow the debate to fracture into content and skills camps.
The moral of this story is straightforward. Both skills and content are required – in standards, assessments, curriculum, and instruction. Skills and content are cooperative and build upon each other as students make sense of the complex world around them. Therefore I suggest that any imbalance between the two should be fixed. I believe that this balance can be struck when all constituent groups and all ideas have a representative place during the development or revision of a particular set of standards. Standards developers must seek this balance when writing standards. I believe that seeking that balance is a complex task, but not impossible.