21st Century and Core Competency Skills
Participating in escape rooms are a fantastic way for students to practice within a team setting their collaborative 21st Century and Core Competency Skills such as communication, critical, creative and strategic thinking, decision making, teamwork, self-regulation and planning, emotional intelligence and resiliency, and collaborative leadership.
COMMUNICATION: The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill that can impact students’ academic and social success. At Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids, students are taught and practise positive communication and feedback. As they escape rooms in teams they practice listening, asking questions to better understand each other’s point of view and nonverbal communication. The advanced communication lesson plan includes negotiation and conflict resolution. Students are encouraged to reflect on whether their communication skills helped them to solve the puzzles.
CRITICAL THINKING: Strong critical thinking skills are vital for school and the future. Many children can come up with ideas but they have difficulty putting those ideas into action. Students learn how to organize their ideas, and decide what is achievable and how they will implement their ideas. They learn to make sense of information, analyze, compare, contrast, and make inferences as they solve puzzles and escape rooms.
CREATIVE THINKING: In this unit, students learn methods for initiating creative thinking when they get stuck. The puzzles in the escape rooms support the development of creative thinking because the answers are often not immediately obvious. Students have many opportunities to develop their abilities to think creatively in a team setting. Creative thinking is an invaluable skill for creating school work that is novel, relevant, exceptional, and innovative. Children who are skilled at creative thinking have an easier time overcoming barriers. They see problems as interesting opportunities, don’t give up easily and work hard. They can challenge their assumptions, suspend judgment and tolerate ambiguity.
STRATEGIC THINKING: Strategic thinking involves taking into account the impact of one’s own and others’ actions. Developmental limitations of children tend to make strategic and “future” thinking challenging. By participating in activities that help shift students from me to us, students can learn to ask questions and make better decisions. We teach students strategies that improve their future thinking and design escape rooms to test their strategic thinking.
DECISION MAKING: Decision-making is a crucial skill for children. The process of decision-making helps children define their personality and create an individuated self. Children are constantly required to make decisions at home and at school, and often worry about making the wrong choice. Students learn a variety of simple decision-making processes. We emphasize experimenting which helps students to try out their decision, gather information on how their decision worked or not, and try again. Completing puzzles to escape rooms provides students with many opportunities to apply their decision-making skills and raise their awareness of their team-mates’ choices. All of this is applied back to ‘real life’ to help students in the decision-making process, and to make better decisions.
TEAMWORK: In this unit, students learn strategies to improve their teamwork skills. They develop their confidence in using the skills as they work as a team to complete puzzles and escape rooms. Teamwork is an important skill for students as they frequently work in small groups on projects and presentations at school. However, students are rarely taught small-group skills and strategies for ensuring individual and group accountability.
SELF-REGULATION/PLANNING: Self-regulation is more than controlling emotions. It involves developing strategies for working towards mastery. Taking the next step to mastery, planning, time to learn, practice, and experimentation. The escape-room puzzles provide students with ample opportunities to practice, evaluate their new strategies and develop their self-regulation in team settings.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE/RESILIENCY: Emotional intelligence is how people attend to, experience and react to situations. Children who have developed emotional intelligence are able to go beyond accepting or rejecting feedback. They learn to ask questions and focus on the information as opposed to the person. As they escape together, teams practice emotional intelligence strategies they learn at Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids. This helps them to react appropriately and constructively to the many types of feedback they receive from their teachers, peers, coaches and family members.
COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP: Within school, students are evaluated on their ability to collaborate on assignments and projects. Essentially students are asked to participate in self-managed teams where every member is a leader. However, they are rarely taught how to be an effective team leader. In this unit, students learn strategies for being a leader in self-managed teams. They develop their skills, working as a team, as they complete puzzles and escape rooms.