What Does a 21st Century Education Include?

This past year, the world changed overnight. While we work to solve the immediate, unprecedented challenges of 2020, we also need to reexamine how we address future issues. And it all starts with a 21st century education.

To prepare the next generation of great thinkers, problem solvers, and world leaders, we have to think bigger than just a standard curriculum. Our blueprint needs to include 21st century education ideals and components.

What is a 21st Century Education?

The truth is, the fundamentals just won’t cut it anymore. A global society prepared for tomorrow’s unknowns calls for an education that encompasses diversity, arts, sciences, humanities, and sharing experiences. Sure, we’ll continue to teach students Algebra, grammar, Biology, and more, but woven into these subjects, are endless opportunities to expand and think outside of the box. 

Often called the Four C’s of 21st century education -- creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration --  are the elements that all 21st century educators strive to incorporate into their curriculum, says Think Strategic. Together, these components take curricula beyond the basics and provide students with the tools they need to lead.

When these skills are woven through curricula in a focused way, students glean far more than facts and figures: 

Foundational knowledge to produce novel ideas: It’s time to challenge what we’ve been taught. Supplying students with foundational knowledge and factual information allows students to create their own opinions. We need to prioritize the ability for youth to form their own opinions. 

Humanities beyond English and the arts: Discovering human stories and experience in the sciences, history, languages, and more deepens and broadens student skills in collaboration and communication. 

Science beyond Physics and Biology: Today’s students are digital natives with increased access to technology. Expanding opportunities to explore math, engineering, and computer science -- and clearly showing how art intersects with science -- enables students to embrace all their possibilities.

Cultural and Diversity Studies: With the increase of companies and corporations taking action to increase their diversity and inclusion opportunities, it's time for schools to follow suit. This summer’s national racial reckoning has pushed challenging, but needed, conversations about inclusivity and equity to the forefront. The resulting discussions can create a curriculum that embraces representation and the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives.

In classrooms across the country, faculty are embracing the 21st century classroom’s pedagogy. This approach is a pedagogical shift from the classrooms where many teachers learned, but the rules are simple and far-reaching:

21st Century Rules for Learning

Source: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/4-essential-rules-of-21st-century-learning/

At Presentation High School, 21st-century learning skills are woven across the curriculum, creating an “Unrivaled Education,” that goes far deeper than a baseline curriculum. At Pres, young women embrace challenges in an academic program that crosses disciplines and deepens their passions. They discover new areas of interest in class and through an array of co-curricular and leadership activities. 

Every day, with confidence and courage, students are sharing and learning about the role they play in a greater society and building on the skills they have to make them more prepared for tomorrow.


  • 21st Century
  • education