The Learning Renaissance

A Curriculum Model fit for the 21st Century

So what does a relevant twenty first century education look like?

Well firstly, it must extend beyond content if it is to have relevance and coherence both for the learner and the teacher. It needs to have a unifying theory of knowledge underpinning it so that learning is structured, meaningful and relational rather than discrete and built in subject silos.

It will require the learner to be actively involved in developing expertise to assess their own progress and adjust their performance following peer and self critical feedback.

It will need the learner to develop competences which are transferable to society beyond the school environment – leadership, followership, problem-solving, team-work, the ability to communicate and present coherently and convincingly.

Two relevant approaches are the International Baccalaureate from the IBO and the RSA Opening Minds curriculum which was developed as a response to the challenge of the Confederation for British Industry to develop a curriculum fit for purpose for the 21st century:

RSA Opening Minds

International Baccalaureate at

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

3 comments on “A Curriculum Model fit for the 21st Century

  1. Paul Champion
    January 8, 2015
  2. philaspden
    January 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on egenius and commented:
    Interesting broad look at the changes needed in the education system – I do fear though that no politicians of any hue in the UK will ever have the courage to make such changes once in power.

  3. educationalist04
    January 15, 2015

    Thanks Paul for re-blogging. I think you might find some other articles in the Learning Renaissance which suit your agenda as well!

    Phil, you are of course right that no party of any political hue would take on the scope of change outlined here. Indeed that would probably be true in most countries.

    The underlying reason for this I suspect is that all governments recognise in the state education system the mechanism for transferring from one generation to another the cultural DNA of the nation so their interests tend to focus on curriculum content rather than learning transformation.

    Their commitment to “educational excellence” also involves them in applying quality control systems on schools – such as OFSTED In England. Quality control systems are permissive of failure, and reinforce the rationing function of education. This is why we have the demoralising spectre every examination results day of politicians queuing up to decry either “the watering down of standards” if grade passes have increased, or “falling standards” if the performance figures have gone down. Either way they have a vested interest in a system that thrives on making failures of learners.

    I suspect that it is in countries where the government allow the profession to regulate itself more, and the obvious example here is Finland, that more radical approaches of what will constitute future learning are more robust, and where theory helps inform practice.

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