In the 1992 book The Work of Nations, Robert Reich suggested the basic work skills necessary for future workers would include:
- abstraction which includes the ability to make meaning of complicated and unfamiliar situations
- system thinking which includes the ability to deconstruct the abstractions, and make logical predicts and develop rational strategies
- experimentation which includes the ability to draw reasonable and evidence-based conclusions to improve the systems that drive thinking
- collaboration because emerging problems are so complicated that broad expertise is needed to devise and evaluate solutions
We frequently see lists of “what employers expect,” and specific skills seem to gain or lose importance over time. These labels can be applied to most of the specific skills, however. I wonder what would happen if educators started designing curriculum and instruction that aligned with these long-term trends rather than reacting to the whims of list-makers.