Out of the Mouths of Babes:A brief anecdote about 21st Century Skills

… because not on a schedule does inspiration come…

It always pleasantly surprises me what inspires me, and when that inspiration hits.  Typically, I am flooded with thoughts in the morning, and with my recent foray into taking a morning run (even in the 30 degree rain as in this morning), these runs are both reflective and projective.

One of the great features on my smartphone is that I can voice dictate into a note; this function allows me to record ideas if they strike while I am driving.

So with these two foundational pieces of information, I wanted to share a brief anecdote of something that happened this week.  I was in the car and wanted to expand in a new direction on a long-cherished philosophy that process is more important than product.  As I was dictating my notes in the car, with some jazz playing in the background, Ryder asked from the back seat “What is process over product” – It is always a test for me to explain complex ideas to my children so that they can grasp the basic understanding of them.  I have developed an increasingly high respect for the skill and talent of their teachers in doing this every day.

Using my Socratic style, I engaged Ryder in the following dialogue- and was excited that on this occasion, he taught me (well, reminded me) of something very important.

Ryder: What is process over product mean daddy?

Me:  Well, when you do crafts at school, is it more fun to make the crafts or to have the craft at the end?


Ryder (excited): Neither, the best part is sharing them with my friends!

Ahh out of the mouths of babes.  It made me think that anyone focusing on how 21st Century Skills are being woven into our educational practices, here my 5 year old talks about creativity, he critically thought about what the best part of the experience is, he talks about sharing (collaboration), he communicates clearly what he feels, and above all, he shows great character in holding sharing with friends as the best part of any creative process.

Pat Bassett would be proud…


3 thoughts on “Out of the Mouths of Babes:A brief anecdote about 21st Century Skills

  1. This is exactly the point we need to get back to in K-20 education: children combine all the 5 Cs – the skills and values everyone agrees should be the outcome of education (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and character) in their natural inclinations and pathways of learning, but school too often diverts them away from the path. 21st C schools are finding ways to re-engage students actively in their own learning: doing not just knowing; student-centered not just teacher-centered; creators of meaning not just consumers of information; etc.

    ~Pat Bassett

  2. Truly a great anecdote about why we do what we do in independent schools – now that I am an educator, I look back at the most valuable lessons from my time as a student in independent schools – it’s not the classroom information that sticks out in my mind; instead it is the values I learned and want to share with my students today. Great example –

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