Friday, May 31, 2013

The Six C's

We all know the 4 C's: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.  Each and every one of those skills are more important than ever.  The world is information rich, information dependent and information run.  If we and our students do not know how to work our way around this different world, we will see the tools that are meant to bless us become a curse.  I mean that this rapidly changing economy has created a changing job skill set, and our students need to be able to have those main qualities of learning and adapting that provide the basis for meeting the demands of jobs that have not even been create yet!

We see where the demands of the New Common Core can help all of us set up students for their success in meeting the above mentioned demands.  However, there are other sets of skills or qualities we all take for granted, and that has to do with two more "C's:"  Character and Citizenship

I submit the challenge, what good is it to be a good communicator with decent logic (critical thinker) along with having the wherewithal to work with others, and who is creative if that person has little to no sense of character, moral foundation and sense of responsibility to and for others?  I would respond much to C.S. Lewis's quote:

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

I see the necessity and the opportunity in student writings, discussions, reasonings, deliberations, project presentations etc. for students to learn and express moral, ethical and character based principles.  After all, we are requiring students to think through problems in every core area, and we are also setting up lessons for students to explain, justify and express the rationale and reasonings behind their answers.  What a powerful way to interject character and get students to use the principles of character and integrity to provide that foundation for thinking and reasoning!

Even though these added "C's" will not be tested per se, they need to be planned, taught and learned, and I would argue students will fair much better in their other 4 C's.  The reason?  We can tap into those very issues every student can be passionate about!  And, when we touch their hearts and their minds, students become more focused, energetic and willing to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and personal passions.  We can unlock those!

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