21st-century learning

Through school visits, listening to teachers and application of research, the Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Division of Instruction created a framework (view framework) for 21st-century teaching and learning and identified five 21st-century learning strands:

The strands represent a multi-lane bridge between traditional academic content and the skills students need to be self-directed learners on track for college and careers. By  focusing on 21st-century skills, our students will become technologically literate, critical thinkers, problem solvers, effective communicators, good collaborators and globally competent. One effective way to teach our students to become 21st-century learners is to strategically infuse 21st-century skills into our existing curriculum frameworks. Over the course of five years beginning in 2009, Chesterfield County Public Schools has been adapting the curriculum to represent the infusion of these 21st-century skills into each content area. Students are learning academic content through relevant real-world examples, application and experiences inside and outside of school. In addition, students are using 21st-century tools to develop learning skills that are essential to everyday life and workplace productivity. Finally, teachers are using 21st-century assessments, which include a balance of high-quality standardized testing for accountability purposes and assessments for improved teaching and learning in the classroom.

Chesterfield County Public Schools has most recently spent the past year working on curriculum enhancements in the area of Global Connections. We have developed a Global Connections K-12 Scope and Sequence based on the four global connection areas identified by Asia Society for the Council of Chief State School Officers and including learning targets based on knowledge, skills and attitudes identified by Oxfam in its curriculum work. Our scope and sequence includes the Global Connections of global awareness, global perspectives, global communication and global citizenship. We have defined specific learning targets under each Global Connection for K-5 students, and another related but more sophisticated set of learning targets under each Global Connection for students in grades 6-12. We have also identified and developed instructional strategies, resources and lessons for each content area at elementary and at secondary level.