According to Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR) founder Charles Fadel, education is “falling behind its mission to prepare students for the future: a world that’s increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.” Curriculum was significantly redesigned in the late 1800’s when societal and human capital needs demanded it. But the 21st century bears little resemblance to the past. WHAT should we teach young people in an age where Dr. Google has an answer for everything? Humans are living longer; the traditional professions disappear while new ones are created; international mobility is drastically increasing population diversity; terrorism, environmental threats and inequality need our collective attention; and robots and gene editing are coming, requiring us to re-examine the very core of what it means to be human. WHAT does all that we know now, and all that we still can only imagine, mean for Curriculum?
If we agree that the technological trends futurists are predicting will mean constant and dramatic changes for all, why aren’t we more focused on rethinking the WHAT of education i.e. WHAT curriculum will make education more relevant in the future?
According to Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, Fadel’s book, Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed, provides a “first of its kind organizing framework of competencies needed for this century which defines the spaces in which educators, curriculum planners, policy makers and learners can establish WHAT should be learned.”