Twenty-first century skills are on Mercury

Learning, life and school reform

Authored by: Andy Hargreaves

The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning

Print publication date:  July  2011
Online publication date:  July  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548892
eBook ISBN: 9780203817568
Adobe ISBN: 9781136730047


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More than ten years ago, generational researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe (1997) anticipated a great disruption when our world would take a great Turning. After three earlier turnings that defined a time of prosperity, optimism, security, pragmatism and social conservatism in the 1950s; a period of cultural and spiritual awakening in the 1960s and 1970s; and an era of individualism, self-centredness and general unravelling in the 1980s and 1990s; Strauss and Howe predicted a Fourth Turning, which, they claimed, would be as dramatic as the last Fourth Turning in the Great Depression of the 1930s. This turning, they argue, brings economic collapse and financial ruin, insecurity and conflict, and a shaking of society to its very foundations, with the emergence on the other side of structures, cultures and politics, as well as value and belief systems, that are profoundly different. At the Fourth Turning, people can start to turn outward again, beyond themselves, in search of the spirituality, sustenance and support that can connect them once more to their fellow women and men. But this is not guaranteed.

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