New Learning Cartography: Small steps for a big journey with no destination | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. & Michelle Blanchet | 12 Min Read

January 13, 2023

Some years ago, the education world grabbed hold of this idea of 21st century skills.  Experts and leaders identified and agreed on four “essential skills” necessary to succeed in the uncertain world of tomorrow. This brainchild grew legs rather quickly[1]Sometimes even a tail or two and we have five or six C’s instead of just four. and it was almost never questioned that creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication—all conveniently beginning with C— were the four chosen ones. It is a most delicious irony that there is such certitude of what is needed to prepare the youth for an uncertain world. Well maybe not that much certitude because other words seem to pop up here and there: multi-literacy, perseverance, adaptability, intercultural skills, and so forth. The list seems to be getting longer, much like the list we might have as we pack our bags before a trip. Sometimes, we try to pack in so many things that we can no longer zip the bag closed. This all feels so unwieldy. 

The trouble is that most of these skills are presented in a way that’s a bit sterile. They seem more interested in covering all the bases…

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1 Sometimes even a tail or two and we have five or six C’s instead of just four.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of the most prestigious and high-profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice-Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin's outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.