The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Relevance of 21st Century Skills Training in Pre-Service EFL Teacher Education

Carmen M. Amerstorfer, University of Klagenfurt (Austria)




Rapid developments in digital technologies, growing economic competition, and increased mobility characterize the world today [1]. To prepare young people for life in the 21st century, teachers are expected to teach a range of skills in their regular lessons and provide opportunities for practice. The mastery of “global skills” [1] or “life competencies” [2] is taken for granted in many professions and generally expected of university students and job applicants today. The development of 21st century skills has hence become a central aim in education and, due to its natural suitability, particularly in foreign language instruction. The topic has also become an important issue in teacher education because teachers are expected to master and teach many competencies in addition to their specific areas of expertise. The competence requirements for teachers grow alongside the growing skill requirements for young people. Consequently, the curricula of pre-service teacher education programs have been adjusted and expanded to accommodate the new developments. After an introduction of the general concept of 21st century skills of teachers and learners, this paper focuses on the following learner skill areas: communication and collaboration skills; creativity and critical thinking skills; intercultural competence and citizenship skills; emotional self-regulation and wellbeing skills; and digital literacies. It discusses how 21st century skills training can be implemented in foreign language teacher education and demonstrates an example of a pre-service teacher education course, in which student teachers of English as a foreign language implicitly apply 21st century skills while explicitly learning about them.




21st century skills, English as a foreign language (EFL), pre-service teacher education




[1] Mercer Sarah, Nicky Hockly, Gordon Stobart, and Neus Lorenzo Galés. 2019. “Global Skills: Creating Empowered 21st Century Citizens.” Expert position paper. Oxford University Press.

[2] The Cambridge Framework for Life Competences. n.d. Cambridge University Press.




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