21st Century Skills-4C's

  • by P21 

    Partnership for 21st Century Skills

    Anyone who has ever seen a student become excited, energized, and confident through artistic exploration has seen first-hand how arts education engages children and contributes to their overall development. While each of the arts disciplines has its own unique set of knowledge, skills, and processes, the arts share common characteristics that make arts education a powerful preparation for college, career, and a fulfilling life.

    Business leaders and visionary thinkers concerned about preparation of students for the future know that the ability to create is native to the arts and is one of the primary processes learned through arts education. The arts promote work habits that cultivate curiosity, imagination, creativity, and evaluation skills. Students who possess these skills are better able to tolerate ambiguity, explore new realms of possibility, express their own thoughts and feelings, and understand the perspective of others. Students’ capacity to create and express themselves through the arts is one of the central qualities that make them human, as well as a basis for success in the 21st century.

    Critical Thinking & Problem Solving through the Arts:

    • Exercising sound reasoning in understanding.
    • Making complex choices and decisions.
    • Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems.
    • Interpret information and draw conclusions based on best analysis.
    • Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes.


    • Demonstrating originality and inventiveness in work.
    • Being open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives.
    • Acting on creative ideas.View failure as an opportunity to learn: understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes.


    • Articulating thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively using oral, written and non-verbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts.
    • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes, and intentions.
    • Collaboration:
    • Demonstrating ability to work effectively with diverse teams.
    • Exercising flexibility and willingness in making compromises to accomplish a common goal.
    • Assuming shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member.
    • Making complex choices and decisions.Understanding the interconnectedness among systems.Framing, analyzing, and synthesizing information in order to solve problems.

    "Experiences in the arts are valuable on their own, but they also enliven other subjects, making them indispensible for a complete education in the 21st century." Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education