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3 Tips To Meet The Needs Of 21st Century Learners

3 Tips To Meet The Needs Of 21st Century Learners

Last month I flew halfway around the world to work with a whole school of teachers in Indiana, USA. My brief was to change the way they thought about teaching and learning in the 21st century! A tall order!

Well, I was blown away by the experience!

I was immersed with open-minded, multigenerational, passionate teachers and administrators who wanted to change their thinking and their educational practices to prepare Gen Alpha and Gen Z students for their future, not ours.

How exciting is that?

Critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, courage and conviction ensued! We spent two full days as a community of adult learners investigating the characteristics of Gen Alpha and Gen Z; the skills required to prepare students to thrive in their future; the changes, disruptions and innovations our students will face and how to create high performing teacher teams with collective genius able to embrace innovation now.

This was clearly a courageous school committed to reinventing themselves and their practices to provide a relevant education for today’s students.

But … I hear you say, “Bringing about change in schools is hard! Really hard! And I’m just so busy.” Yes, I hear you and I agree. So here are my 3 Tips to get you started.


1. SIMPLIFY. Yes we are living in a complex world and the rate of change is becoming exponential, so stay calm and simplify. It works!

2. THINK STRATEGICALLY. Heaps of awesome work has been done in the field of education over the past 10 years. Use it!  Choose a researched and simple way forward. My suggestion is to choose one of the following three approaches to learning in the 21st Century below and overlay it across your whole school curriculum ensuring that all teachers focus on the 7, 6 or 4 key skills for 21st century learners. Share the chosen approach with students and parents. Consider creating an innovative, collaborative strategic plan for your school.

3. TAKE ACTION! Get teachers sharing their practices, successes, failures and new understandings in a professional learning community. Encourage collaboration. Focus on successes and sharing those activities across the school. Listen to your students; empower them by giving them voice to take responsibility for their own learning. Take away some traditional restrictions to allow them to investigate and solve real world problems, for example, bells, 8 period timetabled days and horizontal student groupings.


If you would like more ideas download the Think Strategic Whitepaper below or come along to the next ‘Leadership for the 21st Century’ workshop on 12 & 13 November 2016 at the Professional Learning Hub, NIST International School Bangkok – a leading 21st century school.

    Download our "Top 3 Challenges Facing School Leaders today" whitepaper and learn how to overcome them.