Content Knowledge: The Key to 21st Century Learning

Audio, Education, Michael Zwaagstra


Content Knowledge:
The Key to 21st Century Learning


Michael Zwaagstra, BEd, PBCE, MEd, MA

Frontier Centre for Public Policy (

“The world is changing faster than ever before.” Trite phrases like this on are often used to justify a de-emphasis on factual content in schools. However, research is clear that content knowledge is absolutely essential for deeper learning to take place. In far too many cases, subject specific content is downplayed while teachers waste valuable class time trying to teach generic “critical thinking skills” to their students.

This presentation will examine the research and show that content knowledge is the key to 21st Century Learning. In order for all students, including those from low socioeconomic status, to succeed, we need to ensure they acquire the necessary background knowledge. This means rich curriculum content, direct instruction, and regular testing. Instead of reducing content, we need to enhance it and ensure that all students acquire knowledge they need to be successful in school and beyond.

View the entire PowerPoint Presentation here: National Congress2017 PowerPoint