Many schools and classrooms across the country identify student skills for success. Ideally, those skills cut across content areas and are grouped within grade bands. They are communicated and prioritized within the learning community. While Vermont’s AOE has identified five Transferable Skills, some learning institutions choose different ones – sometimes also known as “21st century skills”.
Because these skills apply across content areas, they are high leverage opportunities for learning and teaching. Learning to communicate and collaborate effectively will serve students well across their learning and life. And, because these skills transcend specific disciplines or content areas, they are easy to apply to personally meaningful learning, increasing student engagement. Win-win.
A popular framework is the Essential Skills and Dispositions: Developmental Frameworks developed in 2015 by the National Center for Innovation in Education and the Educational Policy Improvement Center. This framework includes four essential skills – collaboration, communication, creativity, and self-direction in learning. We lovingly call them the “ES & D’s”
We have gathered some of our favorite resources to support you as your students work on developing these skills in this Essential Skills & Dispositions Toolkit. (You can also find it in its permanent location here).
What are the Essential Skills & Dispositions?
- Complete Essential Skills and Dispositions Framework
- ES & D Toolkit (created for TRSU by Jeanie Philips)
How can I help my students develop their collaboration skills?
- Collaboration Rubrics K-12 (by BEST for the Future)
- Student Collaboration Self-Assessment Tool (BEST for the Future)
- Group Collaboration Self-Assessment Tool (BEST for the Future)
How can I start integrating the communication ES & D into my teaching?
What does it mean for my students to improve their creativity skills?
- Applying Creative Thinking and Developing Creative Products (BEST for the Future)
- Learning about Creativity:Tic-Tac-Toe Menu Choice Board Template
- Creativity Slideshow
How can my learners develop more self-direction skills?
- Self-awareness and self-direction : Innovative Education in VT
- Increasing Student Self-Direction : Innovative Education in VT
- Self-Direction Rubric (by BEST for the Future)
- Self-Direction Slideshow
- Engaging Students in Personal Interest Projects
When a learning community can focus on a few essential skills for students, powerful things can happen. It’s possible that students can chart their own growth, reflect on their development, and take ownership over learning. If other tools such as PLPs and Student-Led Conferences are used, students can demonstrate, share and report on their development of essential skills and dispositions.
Please connect with us and share your work with essential skills.