Guiding Principles for Learning in the Twentyfirst Century
UNESCO. Oficina Internacional de Educación
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The purpose of this booklet is to offer guiding principles about learning in the twenty-first century. It is intended for teachers, curriculum designers, school leaders, and others involved in all levels of school education and can be used for any age group, as the principles it contains are general enough to be applied in different contexts. The guide offers a bridge between classroom practice, educational theory, and academic research. It draws on theories developed by researchers and teachers, and on an article of the same title published in Prospects (2014), along with the expertise of educational organizations. Historically, theories of learning, ideas about what we should teach, examples of practice, and suggested models have been developed separately by different organizations. The result has been a lack of unity, with little cumulative knowledge and an absence of cooperation on research. This guide attempts to address this lack of unity by responding to the question: What is it that students should be learning in the twenty-first century? This challenge takes us back to a fundamental question about the purposes of education: What is education for? The subject areas traditionally taught in school (languages, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, technology, the arts, religious and physical education) are required by universities and are still relevant. However, there is increasing understanding that new areas of knowledge, competences, and behaviours need to be integrated into curricula if young people are going to function well in an increasingly complex global society. In the future, they may be faced with enormous challenges associated with poverty, overpopulation, and declining bio-capacity.