21st Century Skills and Learning – Prepare our Children for Future

What are the 21st century skills our kids need to prepare themselves for tomorrow? This is an important question for us, educators or parents who had the right perspective of education, need to address.

With technology revolution, we are living in a knowledge-based era where different set of skills are required. The challenge pose to us is that 21st century learning curriculum and education need to include training our children the set of skills required 10 or 20 years from now. We may not be able to predict what is required.

Here is the vision of an elite educator who shared with parents his vision on 21st century learning.



21st Century Learning Infographic
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I had an interesting conversation with a colleague recently where the question “What does 21st Century education look like?” was raised. My thoughts immediately went to Karl Fisch’s presentation called “Shift Happens” where the latest edition contains the following statement;

“The top-10 in-demand jobs in 2013 did not exist in 2004.
We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,
using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve
problems that we don’t know are problems yet.”

The answer to the above question, therefore, is that while we can describe the differences in education between the current time and the late 20th Century, we probably have no idea what it will look like in 10 years, let alone in a longer timeframe. It also raises a further question; “How should Tenby education be structured now in order to meet the rapidly changing learning needs of our current and future students?”

There is little doubt that the explosion in access to technologies since the turn of the century has altered forever how, what, and where learning opportunities exist. However, technologies are not an end in themselves but rather tools that students can use to create knowledge, and to create personal and social change.

The real implications are for the way we design our curriculum; the ways by which we assess learning; the way we organise our learning spaces; and the ways by which teachers present and facilitate learning opportunities.

Thankfully, gone are the days of textbook-driven, teacher-centred, paper and pencil schooling. Thankfully also gone are the traditional neat rows of students where didactic teaching provided only information to be absorbed and regurgitated at appropriate examination times rather than engaged, meaningful learning where all students can be absorbed in interdisciplinary, real-world problem solving and knowledge acquisition that builds progressively on prior knowledge, interests and talents.

Curriculum in the 21st Century should be integrated, project-based and research-driven. It should transcend national and international boundaries, and incorporate such things as higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, multiple literacies, authentic assessment, assessment for learning, technology and social service aspects. Furthermore, it should challenge all students and provide for differentiation at all stages.

Such a curriculum has huge incentives for our teachers to review how they are structuring their curriculum delivery and what they are doing in their classrooms to embrace the 21st century learner. It is dynamic, fluid, unpredictable, and increasingly so. Tenby Schools, Penang is committed to continuous improvement and to the pursuit of excellence.


Best regards
Gregory C Mowday
Campus Principal





This is an excerpt from the Tenby Schools (Penang) Newsletter. I like to thank Mr Mowday for allowing me to share his article on this website on 21st Century Skills and Learning.


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