Teaching and Learning for the Twenty-First Century

Teaching and Learning for the Twenty-First Century Educational Goals, Policies, and Curricula from Six Nations

Edited by Fernando M. Reimers and Connie K. Chung
paper, 304 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-922-8
Price: $34.00

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Pub. Date: May 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-924-2

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This book describes how different nations have defined the core competencies and skills that young people will need in order to thrive in the twenty-first-century, and how those nations have fashioned educational policies and curricula meant to promote those skills. The book examines six countries—Chile, China, India, Mexico, Singapore, and the United States—exploring how each one defines, supports, and cultivates those competencies that students will need in order to succeed in the current century.


What should be the goals of education in the twenty-first century? By surveying the ways that six nations have sought to identify and develop the competencies necessary for success, this volume offers a thoughtful, grounded, and provocative response to that essential question. It serves as an indispensable resource for all those working to provide a relevant and high-quality education to children around the globe. — James E. Ryan, dean and Charles William Eliot Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education

If education policy makers around the world do one thing in the next twelve months, it should be to read this book! Reimers and Chung have provided a welcome dose of reality into the conversation about how to prepare our students for the challenges of the twenty-first century. — Ken Kay, CEO, EdLeader21

What Reimers and Chung have done is unparalleled: a comparative study of how education systems have approached the challenge of twenty-first-century competencies. The result will be invaluable to the global education community in thinking about how to prepare learners for a complex and ever-changing world. — Gwang-Jo Kim, director, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education

The contributors to this edited volume attempt to enlighten the existing paradox between the expansion of education goals and the reduction of public support for the education system. This comparative study enlightens how socio-cultural factors can impact educational reforms.
— Leadership and Policy in School

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About the Editors

Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is also the director of HGSE’s Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program, a program that prepares global education leaders committed to advancing educational opportunity. His research focuses on the effects of pedagogy, curriculum, and leadership in helping students develop autonomy, agency, and cognitive skills. He has studied the effects of civic education and entrepreneurship education programs in Latin America and the Middle East, and conducted extensive education policy research in the developing world. He leads and teaches in a number of executive leadership education programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has designed global education curricula for the K–12 level. He has authored, coauthored, and edited twelve books and sixty articles and chapters, including Informed Dialogue: Using Research to Shape Education Policy Around the World (with Noel McGinn), and Unequal Schools, Unequal Chances (as editor).

He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Education, and in 2015 was distinguished with the appointment as the CJ Koh Visiting Professor of Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. In 2009 he received an honorary degree from Emerson College for his work promoting human rights and the right to education around the world.

He keeps active engagements in the practice of international education policy and has consulted for many international development organizations, governments, and education organizations, working in many different countries and continents. He is a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, the vice chair of the board of LASPAU, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and a member of the US Commission for UNESCO. In 2015 he was appointed to the steering committee of the Education in Conflict and Crisis group of the United States Agency for International Development, and working with a task force of ministers of education of the Americas, he supported the development of an education strategy to advance the Inter-American Education Agenda agreed at the last Summit of Presidents of the Americas convened by the Organization of American States.

Connie K. Chung is the research director for the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her field of research is in civic and global citizenship education, and she was involved in a multi-year, multi-site study of education reform and community organizing in the United States, the results of which are published in the book A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (Oxford University Press, 2011). She has worked with various nonprofit educational organizations involved in human rights and civic education. She currently serves on the board of two nonprofits, including Aaron’s Presents, an organization that offers grants to students in grades 8 and below to encourage positive development in themselves and in their community.

A former public high school English teacher, she was nominated by her students for various teaching awards. She has taught on the topics of nonprofit management and multicultural education and also was a curriculum consultant in the development of a K–12 global education curriculum.

Dr. Chung received her BA in English Literature from Harvard College and her master’s degrees in Teaching and Curriculum (1999) and in International Education Policy (2007) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her doctorate is also from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Table of Contents


Blog Post: "Teaching and Learning for the Twenty-First Century"

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