The Other 21st Century Skills

User Generated Education


Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.


This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Grit
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

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Independence challenge

After introducing the advantages of early independence, we know it is really good for youth. So I want to invite the target audience which is university students to take the independence challenge.

The challenge make sure you can do everything by yourself, such as cook, do housework etc. Also, you need to find part-time job to pay more than half of your living expense.

The goal is try to make more people to try to become independent and try to make them feel the feeling of independence.

The challenge lasts one month.

I hope more youth can participate in this challenge, so that it can cause big effect among youth.

This challenge aim to have a good start for youth who are not independent, this activity can become a driving force to encourage them.


“Young people today are overprotected.” Is this a fair assessment of the situation in your society?

Good article. It talk about the overprotection of youth by their parents. It is not benefit for youth to become early independence.


“Young people today are overprotected.” Is this a fair assessment of the situation in your society?

“Helicopter parents” is a term newly coined in recent years, and has been used in particular to describe the parents of today who hover tirelessly and endlessly over the happenings of their children’s daily life. Such phenomena is increasingly prevalent in my society, Singapore, and may lead one to think that the younger generation today is overprotected, which in this essay can be defined to mean that the younger generation today is excessively mollycoddled and sheltered, be it by the state, their parents, or media influences. In my opinion, the statement that young people today in my society are overprotected is justified to a large extent, attributable to the highly stressful and competitive education system; the comforts of life which many have grown up with, as well as careful censorship in the media. Nonetheless…

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The effect of friend circle

It is said that you keep in touch with good people, you can be a good man also. In other words, you keep in touch with bad guys, you may also learn some bad habits. So, it is essential to discover the relationship between youth independence and friend circle.

We become the combined average of the FIVE people we associate with most (Jim Rohn seminar). Look at your own life and see how true this statement is. The five people you associate with most likely reflect your bank account, health, career choices, self-esteem, habits (good and bad), interests, quality of conversation, values and goals. People are either pulling you up, pulling you down, or keeping you comfortably in neutral. So, it is important for us to make good friends, it can influence you a lot, even influence your career. If your friend do some part-time job, and earn money for his own living expenses. You will also want to work. Improving the atmosphere of friend circle is a good way to develop early independence of youth. Education is still the first step to improve the atmosphere of friend circle, because we have to educate people to become independent first, then they can influence their friends.

Result of survey

Several days ago, I design a survey aim to discover the thoughts of youth(20-25 years old university student) about early independence. I collect the answers and make some analysis.

I made 50 questionnaires, and I separate out to university student randomly.

The first three questions are:

1: What’s your name?

2. Where are you from?

3. Male or Female?

The people who answer the questionnaires come from different countries. Countries include Australia(25 people), China(10 people), Korean(4 people), India(5 people), Singapore(2 people), Malaysia(3 people) and the USA(1 people). The rate of Male and Female is almost same, about 50% each. The survey can explore the youth early independence in different cultures because the interviewees comes from different countries.

4. Do you agree youth between 20-25 should be independent?

About 94% people think youth between 20-25 should be independent. This data illustrates that most youth have thoughts to be independent early.

5. Do you do part-time job to earn your part of living expenses?

About 44% people do part-time job to earn part of living expenses. Western culture youths account for higher percentage than eastern culture youth.

6. Do your parents give you a lot of cost of living every month?

Over 50% percent youth was given a lot of cost of living from parents every month. There are some international students in this survey, they may need more money than local students.

7. Can you deal with difficulties by yourself without your parents’ help?

70% percent people think they can deal with difficulties by themselves. But they also considered that it should depends on the problem difficulty. They will ask for help if they meet big problem.

8. Will you do all housework at home?

About 60% people will do housework at home.

9. What’s your definition about early independence?

The answers for this question is different, everyone has different definition to early independence. I make a conclusion to all answers. Some people think that he do everything by himself such as cooking and housework is independent. Some people think economic independence is independent. Some people think they make their parents feel relieved is independent.

10. Will you try to be an independent youth?

Almost 100% people try to be independent youth.

This survey reveals some truth, every youth wants to try to be independent, but why these youth don’t take action, and the rate they do part-time job is low. The local Australia youth accounts for higher percentage of doing part-time job. I analyze some reasons. International students have more living expense, because they are in different countries, their parents should support them enough money, it may make them lazy, they are not willing to do part-time job. So the financial support and education of parents to youth is an important part to develop independent youth. On the other hand, these international students will do all housework by themselves because their parents are not around , they are independent in this aspect.

Early independence and success

After reviewing the history of some famous people, I found that most of them are independent and persistent. So, I have one question. Will the people who is independent early have a bigger chance to become successful?

Children who are responsible and independent are more likely to succeed in school, in their careers, and in social relationships (Dubow, Huesmann, & Eron, 1987; Shaffer, 1999).

I will use an example to support this viewpoint. The person I want to introduce is the richest man in China, his name is Ka-shing Li. His family was very poor when he was young. He start to work at a watch company when he was 18 years old. Then he became a salesman, he do everything he can do to earn more money to support his family. His destiny start to change when he established a plastic flower company.

The reasons that Ka-sang Li can be successful have a lot,  early independence must be one of reasons. In that environment, he have to become independent early and take responsibility to his family. Now, our living condition is not bad as before, but we still need to help youth to realise the importance of early independence. It will has a big advantage to their careers.

Dubow, E. F., Huesmann, L. R., & Eron, L. D.  (1987).  Childhood correlates of adult ego development.  Child Development, 58, 859 – 869.

An interesting survey about early independence of youth in university

I did a survey in UNSW to discover the thoughts of youth(20-25 years old university student) about early independence.

I did a questionnaire which contains some questions, and separate out  these questionnaires to UNSW students randomly, so the interviewees includes students from different countries and different culture. I can have a comperhansive understand about youth early independence. The questions are:

1: What’s your name?

2. Where are you from?

3. Male or Female?

4. Do you agree youth between 20-25 should be independent?

5. Do you do part-time job to earn your part of living expenses?

6. Do your parents give you a lot of cost of living every month?

7. Can you deal with difficulties by yourself without your parents’ help?

8. What’s your definition about early independence?

9. Will you try to be an independent youth?

I will write the results about this survey after counting the answers. I think this questionnaire is a really good way to know the thoughts of youth, then we can find out the best solution,

Should we lobby to the government for a change in legislation about youth early independence?

Is it a good idea if we can lobby to the government for a change in legislation which regulate youth over 20 should pay at least 50% of their cost of living? In my opinion, it is a positive and effective idea. It can develop the ability of youth to live independently. The youth over 20 are definitely have ability to do part time job when they are free from university. This legislation also make youth’s life meaningful, they can study and work, so that they will spend less time on unnecessary entertainment. Youth will know that earn money is not easy, they will manage their money organized. But, this legislation still need to perfect, the number of cost of living youth should pay by themselves can change according to the situation.