The Four C’s—Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity
Here we are midway through 2013—13 years into the 21st Century. As we moved into the 21st Century educators realized that the skills needed to be successful had changed dramatically and that it was essential we identify these critical skills and embed them in K-12 education. The National Education Association (NEA) helped to establish a Partnership for 21st Century Skills eleven years ago and the group created a
Framework for 21stCentury Learning which identified 18 different skills that would be critical for youth to master to be successful.
The group soon discovered that the Framework was too long and after many conversations with educators across the county identified the Four C’s: critical thinking, communication, collaborations, and creativity. The challenge, of course, is how to build these four critical skills into K-12 education. I would say that these skills are also ones that we should support in the afterschool program as well. Certainly the hands-on, experiential learning opportunities we offer support creativity, critical thinking and collaboration as we challenge youth to create a roller coaster from pipe insulation, plan an advocacy campaign for healthy food choice, or any number of other projects that youth are encouraged to work on. We can promote communication by ensuring that youth continue to lead program activities, share information with one another about the projects they have completed, and simply speak to the way program is run during such town hall experiences as “What’s Up?”
Afterschool is well-positioned to promote the Four C’s, and with a minimal shift of intention to focus on these four key skills, we can do our part to prepare youth for life beyond school and our program.
To read more about the 4 C’s, “Google” the topic, check out the information, and then let us know what you think.