A syllabus for the 21st century – (01)


The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. – Alvin Toffler

I have been thinking about how education should look like in our 21st century. Here is a list of the types of learning I think are important.

Notice that traditional, disciplinary topics emerge slowly, but not before the introduction of the underlying building blocks of knowledge, (time, truth, causality, problem-literacy, thinking, problem-solving etc).

I am including a few links for each of the topics.

  1. Surveys of time, truth, causality, and meaning, (the root concepts of logic, knowledge and thinking)
  2. History and theories of the self, mind and consciousness (roots of knowledge pt.2)
  3. Introduction to thinking processes
  4. Introduction to types of problems (problem-literacy)
  5. Problem-solving methods
  6. General introduction to knowledge
  7. General ethics
  8. History of culture (local culture)
  9. World cultures (see general anthropology)
  10. General sciences
  11. General humanities
  12. Advanced problem-solving (another source)
  13. Focused disciplinary concentration (this depends on the discipline)
  14. Multidisciplinary studies

Related in this blog:

Multidisciplinary education

Peter Drucker’s requirements for education systems

Related elsewhere on the web

A huge list of blogs about education in the 21st century (mostly written by teachers themselves)

21st Century Literacy Specialist


Daniel Montano


2 thoughts on “A syllabus for the 21st century – (01)

  1. What does the future look like? Peak oil, global warming, economic collapse, fisheries collapse… how best to prepare our children for such things?

    There are 5 underlying things I can think of right now, and they are all process based, not content based, so that all the other information can be evaluated and processed effectively:

    * Nature underlies everything. Understanding how natural systems work. Chaos, complexity + fuzzy logic. Generate a core understanding that the real world is not binary. The systemic view of the world, there is no single answer.

    * the process of innovation. Of moving from an idea to execution.

    * creativity – creativity is essential, art / music / dance. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html)

    * critical thinking
    ** how to take an idea and understand whether it is fact, opinion or well reasoned judgement, and what the implications and impacts of that are in the real world

    * how humans can work together:
    ** Collaboration
    ** Conflict Resolution
    ** Emotional self control – slowing down our reactivity
    ** Psychology
    ** Leadership skills

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