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Despite the abundance of lip service given to critical thinking (and other 21st century skills, such as creativity, problem solving, and solutionary thinking), it's not happening as much as we pretend it is. After all, critical thinking isn't a requirement for most standardized tests. But it's a skill that is only growing in importance.
According to a recent Critical Skills Survey by the American Management Association, more than half of managers surveyed report that their employees are "average at best" in critical thinking and other essential skills.
U.S. executives surveyed said that "Today's employees need to think critically, solve problems, innovate, collaborate, and communicate more effectively -- at every level within the organization."
If one report isn't enough, check out the Amani Institutes's recent report: "State of Talent Development in the Social Sector." The core finding of the study was that "the attributes employers most value in prospective employees are largely things not received from a typical university degree."
The study noted that "employers consistently rank leadership and problem-solving initiative, project management skills (including program evaluation), and communication skills as more important than academic and analytical/quantitative skills" and that "in providing these types of skills, they believe that universities generally fare poorly." Ouch.
But we shouldn't just commit to helping students gain those 21st century skills because it will improve their employability.
It's vital that students learn those skills -- and also infuse the lens of humane education into their worldview -- so that they can become the solutionaries we need to create restorative, just, humane, sustainable, practices and systems that benefit all.
We need humane education for everyone everywhere, so that students and employees and citizens of all ages develop the skills and knowledge to create a better world for this and all future generations.
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Help your students get a jumpstart on becoming solutionaries. Sign up now for our 6-week online course, Teaching for a Positive Future, which starts March 4.