User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Universal Skills All Learners Should Know How to Do

with 30 comments

This morning I was thinking about the things that all young people should know how to do regardless of income, geographical location, life goals, etc.  I started a list – see below.  Some have “always” been true – some are unique to this century of learning.  Let me know of any other universal skills you believe young people should know how to do.

universal skills

Which are taught in school?  Which should be taught in school?

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

Posted in Education

30 Responses

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  1. Wonderful Jackie! I would love to share one more: How to tell a story (using words, images, and current mediums). Because that is exactly what you’ve done here, and I want every kid to learn how to be a good storyteller… Like you! 🙂

    Dave Truss

    December 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    • Love it! I agree, David and will modify.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      • Actually, you kind of already cover it with, “How to orally communicate with others both face-to-face and online”, and “How to write effectively”. I just think that storytelling in our day and age is more important than ever. I really love this post! Thanks for sharing your learning, and contributing to ours!

        Dave Truss

        December 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    • A Great list! A few additions that come to mind; maybe they are subsets of some you already listed. Its amazing how much education has evolved in the 21st Century.One point that you probably missed is content curation skills.

      Lisa Rose

      February 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      • Thanks, Lisa – agree but curation is not broad enough – maybe under communication.

        Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

        February 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

  2. Nice list of skills for the 21st century.

    Mike Guerena (@mguerena)

    December 7, 2014 at 12:54 am

  3. thanks for your shared


    December 7, 2014 at 6:22 am

  4. Great list! How about adding “Experiencing the arts”. Sometimes forgotten, especially in the early years.


    December 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    • Ouch! I am a promoter of arts in the classroom (and am a part time potter myself). I definitely need to add something about engaging in the arts.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

  5. Jackie – I read through your list and really think you managed a great start – loved to see a plug for the arts in the comments. What I loved most about it was that this list is that is more or less a course syllabus for the work I am doing with the fine people at COETAIL I can’t tell you enough how empowering the work I have done with them has been for me as an educator. I am not sure how familiar you are with the COETAIL group but I highly recommend you take a peak at the work they are doing with their courses and PD for educators – I know this sounds a lot like a plug – and I guess it is. But again as I was enjoying your list – I found myself thinking – yep we are doing that, that and that because of COETAIL. Just wanted to spread the word for educators on a way to feel empowered towards realizing these universal skills.

    Matt McGrady

    December 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

  6. Great list! A few additions that come to mind; maybe they are subsets of some you already listed: How to manage money wisely. How to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. How to safely travel around a city or place you have never been before. How to independently evaluate information and make your own decisions. How to find the root cause of problems. How to expand the range of options to solve a problem. How to quietly reflect. How to find out what others really mean, need, or want. Thanks, Jackie!


    December 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    • i love those addition ideas, especially about finances. and travel and finding the root cause of issues/problems.


      December 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm

  7. How to be self motivated!

    DeVonna Reid

    December 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    • thanks – I actually consider that under both self-directed learning and setting goals.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm

  8. This was a very informing website. I can use it to help my child.


    December 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

  9. I think you covered all that will help students succeed in school and even beyond. I definitely believe that having the know -how to set and achieve goals for our young students is what will carry them through. Your list is made up of things that will help students solve problems encountered while learning.

    Nwalibeaku Ugwu

    December 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm

  10. Very interesting, a self- directed learner is a great quality to have.
    Tiffany Smith

    Tiffany Smith

    December 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

  11. How to become a self motivated person?

    Motivation pushes us to achieve our goals, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life.

    Nicole jiss

    December 16, 2014 at 2:09 am

    • I believe being a self-directed learner and setting-achieving goals goes with motivation – thanks for your comment.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 16, 2014 at 2:22 am

  12. How to be a self directed learner? I think whether you are into academics or not, this is key to surviving in our world.

    Elizabeth Bohorquez for Sebastian Ibarrola

    December 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    • Agree!

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm

  13. Your list is excellent, thank you! My question is, how can we teach teachers to embrace technology & 21st century skills without making unreasonable demands on their time and take the fear & threat off the table? I’ve worked in 2 schools where teachers are digital immigrants and are afraid to open the door to this new world of technology.

    Gail Corbman

    December 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    • I believe in one teacher at a time – show the ones who have interest some very simple tech tools like Google Docs or Padlet AND show them how on emphasis on 21st century skills actually makes their job easier . . . greater efficiency, greater student engagement, etc.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      December 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm

  14. Curation skills may be an add to the list.


    December 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  15. Sooo much great information here. I tutor grades 3 through college age students. Reading help and expository writing seem to be the most needed and there are many creative, “jump-start” ideas here. Thank you!!


    December 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

  16. Thank you very much for this inspiring post. Learning is a world… I think you joined and documented the main competences that students (and we, the learners in general) need to continue learning and growing up as good and healthy persons. If you don’t care, I’ll share it with my colleagues at SES Parets del Vallès school (Barcelona). We, as k12 teachers, are trying to work in this direction and your post is “light” for us.


    January 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm

  17. I love this list. Thank you so much for sharing! I would add to this list two items: 1) How to set and achieve financial goals, which would include money management, a daily skill! and 2) How to resolve conflicts peacefully and truthfully (without escaping, ignoring or exacerbating the problem)

    Annette Bannister

    January 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

  18. Love the list and think all should be taught in school!


    January 9, 2015 at 9:20 pm

  19. I will add one more – environmental stewardship. Skills will amount to nothing in the future if the environment becomes hostile to humanity.


    January 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm

  20. Jackie, Here’s another: How to adjust and thrive in various environments. This could include working in different environment, adjusting to different cultures (work, community, faith-based), having teachers with different expectations, etc.

    Nancy Cline

    September 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm

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