I. Effective communication
This is the most important skill, in my opinion. Wagner had it lower on the list. Being able to convey your thoughts and ideas to other people in an effective manner is a skill without equal. An individual with great ideas but no communication skills will get nowhere, as there is no effective method for them to disseminate their ideas.
II. Critical thinking and creative problem solving
This is an important skill in many places. It isn't required for every individual, or every potential job that needs to be filled, but it is still something that needs to be explored. There are many places where individuals will benefit from the ability to be creative, think outside the box and think critically.
III. Basic task comprehension and completion
Critical thinking is important, but it is not necessary 100 percent of the time. Students still need to leave school with the ability to understand how to independently complete basic tasks. Complex problem-solving skills lead nowhere without the baseline abilities to finish simple, everyday tasks that make up the basis of the majority of jobs. This includes following instructions and complying with regulations that are a necessary part of society. This doesn't mean that there is no "thinking outside the box," but "getting things done" is a vital skill that is often separate from critical thinking.
Being able to successfully work and interact with other people is vital to success in the workplace and elsewhere in life.
V. Situational leadership awareness
Knowing when to lead is just as, if not more, important than knowing how to lead. People need to be aware that not everyone can be a leader, and there are cases where some people should not be leading. Recognizing the right time to lead and the right time to defer to another person's leadership is a vital skill in any collaborative setting.
VI. Analyzing information
Wagner included accessing and analyzing information in the same heading. In my view, accessing information is easy; there's billions upon billions of bytes of data at our fingertips every moment. Knowing which information is reliable, meaningful and useful within the context of the situation is much harder. The students and workers of the future need to be better-prepared to segregate fact from fiction, and functional from impractical.
Wagner is right about the importance of this one, especially as it pertains to technology. How many of the tools that we are being encouraged to use today will be obsolete five years from now? Many of them will replaced by new and better things. New ideas and technologies are produced perpetually; we need to be open to them and we have to prepare our students to be open to them as well. If we don't, places like Germany and India will.
In my classroom this semester, I am focusing on communication skills, collaboration and adaptability. Over half of my students have indicated that they plan to attend college after high school, so I am trying to push their writing skills to a higher level, that they will need in order to succeed in college and in many professional settings. I am pushing them to collaborate more by introducing group projects and collaborative learning lessons. I am introducing new technologies and websites into the classroom, shifting them away from the same weekly routine that they have grown far too comfortable with. I'm also working on other parts of this list, such as training them to analyze information (through comparing sources).
I don't know the best way to measure my success with this plan, but I will continue reviewing student work to look for signs of improvement in their communication, collaboration and technological skills.