For some years now, the so-called 21st century skills (for example critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication as well as digital and information literacy) have been integrated into language teaching materials as a way of empowering students to apply the language. As well as the clear merits of equipping students with these skills, their teaching can be a motivating experience for students, whether they are already working in an organisation, studying in a tertiary institution or still at school.
The global climate crisis requires clarity of thought, creativity, consideration, discussion, analysis and appropriate global collaborative action. Finding the solutions to the crisis and putting them into action needs the application of these 21st century skills. Given the international nature of the crisis, language teaching integrated with the skills is important. This seminar will explore how teaching content that introduces and practises the 21st skills around substantiality and environmental themes can be highly effective linguistically as well as motivating. Critical thinking around ‘greenwashing’, communicating the benefits of a windfarm to a community or collaboration with multiple stakeholders on energy use reduction campaigns all employ 21st century skills. These may be some of the most important lessons we ever teach.