Worth a Read: “Four-Dimensional Education”

Topics: Community Partnerships, Education Policy, Future of Learning

What should students learn to be best prepared for the 21st century?

The Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR) recently published its book “Four-Dimensional Education,” which was introduced last month at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Baccalaureate (IBO). The book has been widely acclaimed by education thought leaders such as Carol Dweck (Stanford University); Todd Rose (Harvard University); David Autor (MIT); Andreas Schleicher (OECD); Wendy Kopp (Teach for All); Valerie Greenhill and Key Kay (EdLeader21) and executives from Google, and IBM among others.

The book wrestles with the fundamental question that many educators, business leaders, and policymakers are confronted and often confounded by: “What should students learn for the 21st century?” CCR’s framework describes the dimensions – Knowledge, Skills, Character, and Meta-Learning – of a relevant 211st-century curriculum required to promote fulfilled individuals, sustainable societies and productive economies.

I have known two of the authors since my early days on the P21 board. While I’m no longer on the board, the work remains compelling and foundational for me. Charles Fadel and Bernie Trilling have thought deeply about the skills needed for students to be successful in today’s world, as well as what the system and its supports for all students need to look like. I was proud to offer some advanced praise for the book. I did so because of the compelling vision that the authors cast for what education could be. Additionally, I was pleased that the book cited and used KnowledgeWorks’ Strategic Foresight work and our forecasts on the future of learning. The following was what I had to offer:

“Four-Dimensional Education offers a compelling vision for transforming education and how we look at education. In a global economy, driven by nimbleness and innovation, it is increasingly clear that success depends on the transformation of education system. This book challenges us to redefine what we mean by success at all levels of the education system from the foundations of K-12, to the entrance requirements for higher education, to what the workforce can and needs to be.”

If you’d like to learn more check out www.curriculumredesign.org, and I also highly recommend the book. It’s well worth the read.