Incorporating 21st Century skills into the classroom

By Nurul Nurhabibi Hijazi, Lecturer, School of Education, MPU & Language

What is 21st-Century Learning?

Students nowadays spend their lives in a variety of media because they have been surrounded by it all their lives. This is due to world changes at an unprecedented rate. Educators are continually faced with new challenges in order to keep up with the latest research findings in order to improve learning and helping students to prepare for their future. Studies have shown a positive impact on learning when students are required to engage in inquiry, analyse content, construct knowledge, and effectively communicate their learning. Learning in the 21st century is both personal and personalised.

So what are the essential 21st-century skills, and how does each skill contribute to different career paths? Here’s how the 4C’s of 21st-century education can contribute to different career paths:


Communication refers to a student’s ability to successfully deliver and receive messages which also involves speaking, reading, listening and writing skills. Besides that, communication also involves expressing yourself, the ability to coherently and clearly relay information to others. Strong communication skills are important in a society where there’s a demand from all directions for our attention. However, it is also important to teach our students the importance of listening to each other.


Collaboration skills refer to the ability to work in teams or groups. It is the skill that is needed before an individual is able to share his or her thoughts and opinions with others. Collaboration skills enable an individual to work together with others to achieve a common goal. By having the chance to work with their peers, students may discover that they like a fellow student’s way of doing things.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to the process whereby students apply what they have learnt in class in meaningful and creative ways beyond the surface level. Critical thinking is the ability to make rational and clear decisions. An individual who can think critically will be able to provide reasonable and rational arguments regarding different topics. A critical thinker does not make decisions arbitrarily but guides decision-making with reason and structure.


Creativity refers to encouraging students to use their imagination so they can express themselves in different ways and create new things. Creativity is a skill that allows the individual to be able to come up with different solutions to a complex problem. A creative thinker will analyse an issue through different lenses in order to gain in-depth information regarding the issue at hand. Creativity also teaches the individual to be more flexible and adaptable to a wide range of situations.

Accelerating 21st Century Learning

There are four ways to expand access to 21st-century learning to help more young people thrive.

  1. More Projects: Integrated, community-connected projects with valuable products.
  2. More Leadership: Opportunities to serve and make a difference
  3. More work-based learning: Accelerated pathways
  4. More Guidance: Sustained adult relationships that guide learning journeys and expand opportunities

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

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