21st Century skills and globalization

WOW Jul 15, 2019

I’m sorry to break the news to you, but your children are not going to write you letters in the future when they leave home, they are going probably not even going you Skype or Face-Time you.

Your next business meeting might not even be same room as your colleagues  and your next job opportunity might come through a global connection on the other side of the world.

Its now the four Cs that are threatening to change  the educational landscape in the 21st century as our environment adopts different norms - that will change fairly exponentially over the next 10 to 15 years as our newest school entrants graduate.

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

I can hear you all saying surely nothing new? We have been teaching these skills for years!

As I work with schools and come across teachers across the globe my experience suggests that we do actually focus on these four Cs.  They aren’t really new…but in a way they actually are - now and changing as the landscape evolves.

We are now having to redefine - or refine.


Our students need to become skilled on the way the world communicates

How many of you write letters to each other.  Or do you:

  • Write Facebook updates, Facebook messages.
  • Write emails…lots of them actually.
  • Write LinkedIn updates, Tweets, and Snaps

Whether this is right or wrong this is in reality how both socially and in the business world, we communicate- at the moment!

Are we teaching these new forms of communication in schools effectively? When do we teach these skills and how indeed do we assess them?


It’s now across space and time.  Was it like that for your grandparents? A telephone call perhaps?

I am sure we all remember the revolutionary group work, project work, worksheets,  getting along, working with others right?

So why is this suddenly an new  “21st century skill”?

Collaboration now includes the globe. We now have the opportunities for our students to collaborate with schools around the world.




Do you have business or conference calls with India, China, Singapore, USA?  Do you use Eduro, COETAIL, or Learning2 meetings.

This is how the world works today. It’s how business gets done now.

So do we spend enough time in schools creating ways for students to collaborate across space and time?

Creativity: To a global audience

Students have always been able to create something for the teacher, present to the class or even to parents.  But how about creating something for an audience that they don’t know - for example a YouTube video, a comment on Amazon reviewing a book?

We now talk about creativity for a global audience.  Create a google map of the Aphrodite Trail? Share it with the local community ...

Create a Keto recipe? Sharing it on the internet and asking for comments.  Creativity suddenly has a global audience. Are we providing these opportunities for our learners?

Critical Thinking: Creating Problem Finders

Mostly these are defined as problem-solving skills.  When there is a problem.

But now we need our learners to be able to find the problems that need to be solved.

For example giving students literary passage that has a mistake in it. They then have to find the mistake (problem finder) and then solve it correctly (problem solver).

Whatever it is….how are we creating opportunities for students to be problem finders not they need to develop a critical mindset. How will they use these skills?

The world needs creative problem solver right?

Learning-led teaching

When teachers talk about passing on the learning to their students they do not mean giving up curriculum or rubrics.  Indeed if the need to pass on control to students, more structures are needed, not less.

Giving over control of the learning to students does not mean less less work for the teacher.  

At the beginning will means more as teachers learn a new way of structuring their classroom around student interest, student questions and take on a new role as a inspirer of of learning.

Global discussion

The focus on these “21st century goals” is visible in education and curricular reform, and is now being promoted by global discussion of changing work and societal needs.

Educational reform

There are now many educational leaders working together to create innovative learning environments.

  • How do education systems reform curricula to integrate the new learning goals that the skills imply?
  • Have clear descriptions of what different levels of competencies in skills might look like been established?
  • Is there a clear understanding of a “construct,” designing assessment frameworks available?


Over the years, educational assessment is becoming both ubiquitous and unpopular. Concepts such as  “assessment for learning” or “formative assessment,” are used to to inform teaching - yet the primary use of assessment by national education systems remains summative for the purpose of or use in certification.   Change is on its way as we develop more skills and concept based assessment that identifies competencies.

Are we creating a culture of problem solvers - or a culture of skilled learners who don’t  use their skills in unpredictable situations? How would your students respond to the broken escalator?

According to the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals, all assessments should be appropriately targeted for different ability levels, and also for individuals from different cultures and sub-groups.

And most important our students need to develop international mindedness - with a big E to implement the 4 Cs.

About our guest author-

Dr. Tassos Anastasiades is Head (Principal) of Edubridge International School

Dr. Anastasiades previous position was Director of Ajman Academy where he recently led the school to accreditation with IBO, CIS and BSO as well as a candidate for the school becoming and Apple Distinguished School.

Dr. Anastasiades has a plethora of international experience which includes, Principal of Dubai Gem Private School, Director of Quality Assurance at Innoventures Education across four schools and headships and school leadership positions in UK, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China, Nigeria, Zambia, Malaysia and Cyprus.

He has 35 years of experience in educational leadership which has involved quality assurance, developing bespoke leadership training across schools, preparation for KHDA (UAE ) inspections, monitoring of the quality of teaching and learning, and working closely with schools development targets including personalised appraisal systems and school policy development.

He has also worked closely with IBO, CIS and OFSTED/ KHDA in ensuring the highest of educational standards, and in particular leading the accreditation / re accreditation by CIS of all schools.

Leadership of progress and attainment tracking with a focus on all students making above expected progress through quality teaching interventions is one of his personal targets.

Dr. Anastasiades has a PhD in Biochemistry (Nottingham University,) MA Education (Bath University, MBA Educational Leadership (Leicester University ) and National Professional Qualification for Headship.  His philosophy is that “as educators and leaders our most important role is to empower students to become independent learners and to develop the skills to navigate in a technology driven, ever changing world.

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Sunil Sathyavolu

Edupreneur | Eco Activist by Passion | True Hyderabadi | Movie Buff | Music Lover | Chess and Cricket