How to work on the 4 Cs in class with the help of Genially

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Written by: Ruth Martín
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Does anyone else around here get the feeling that the world is moving too fast? Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality… All of these advances that not too long ago we were seeing in futuristic movies are now becoming the norm and shaping new trends, even in education.

We just have to look at current employment statistics and reports; it is estimated that about 60% of today’s children will have professions that don’t exist yet. And progress just doesn’t let up; we live in constant movement!

So, how can we prepare our students if we don’t know what future challenges they’ll face? Beyond knowledge of the materials and curriculum content, there’s something that will stand them in excellent stead: strengthening their individual key skills and developing a flexible attitude towards change. And this is where the 4 Cs of education come in. If you don’t know what they are, today we’re going to introduce you to them.

What are the 4 Cs in education?

The 4 Cs are skills that education experts have defined as essential in the 21st century, and very important for students who are becoming more and more active in their own learning process. These skills are:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

It’s a world full of incredible opportunities! But also plenty of challenges. This is in part due to the speed of all these new advances in technology but also in the way students receive, manage, and communicate their new knowledge.

So, why are we still teaching and learning as we did decades ago? Which skills should we focus on to adapt to the educational necessities of today? And, above all else, how can we strengthen these skills in every class and use them to further the development of our students’ other skills?

How to work on the 4 Cs with Genially 

Ok, let’s start with a quick review before we continue. So far, this is what we’ve got:

  • Active students who are becoming more and more involved in their own learning.
  • An unknown and exciting future. What awaits us? What mysteries will be uncovered?
  • An educational platform like Genially, with a wide range of resources, ideas, and templates designed especially for teachers.

And as we know that the education community is brimming with motivation but not time, we’ve put together a few ideas for working on each of the 4 Cs in class with Genially. Here we go, one by one.

1. Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is the ability to analyze the available information relating to a topic. To do this, we use our reasoning to question the data and facts and form our own opinions.

Critical Thinking starts developing in the first stages of infancy, when we question the simplest things. The question may be simple, but often the answer is not. And therein lies the magic: from early on we tend to question everything around us, even though we’re not adequately cognitively aware to understand the responses. However, we can encourage this process in our students.

Do you want to help your students develop their critical thinking skills, and in a playful way? Give them an escape room like this to solve in teams, and they’ll have a ball! 

Create an escape room

It sounds like fun (and it is!), but it’s also very educational. It’ll help them to reflect on their prior knowledge, understand the connection between the different points of view, and discuss their ideas. And, you’ll be teaching them to resolve problems in a creative way.

2. Creativity

Coming up with new ideas, finding original solutions to problems, designing and producing in digital or physical formats… There are thousands of ways to use and strengthen creativity in the classroom, and your students will be eager to explore them all!

So, why not give them every opportunity, and the right environment, to work on their creativity? To do this, let’s make all kinds of resources and content available to them; it’ll help them to learn and experiment with the content from different perspectives. This will mean that later they’ll be able to generate more and better ideas and they’ll be more confident when it comes time to create their own resources or content.

This infographic is great for getting students to put their ideas in order and generate new ones.

I want one like that!

Use it to explain an everyday problem to your students in a very visual way, adapting it to their context (for example the need to reduce waste in their school or the consequences of the overuse of technological devices) and encourage them to come up with a solution step-by-step.

3. Collaboration

We’ll never get tired of saying it: when we work as a team, everything’s better.

Although it’s good for students to work alone and at their own pace sometimes too, working in a team has many benefits. It helps them to improve their social skills and relationships, enriches their ideas, and boosts their motivation, as they feel they are an important part of the group, working towards a common objective. 

A great way to start is by creating a resource that helps them to organize their thoughts and promotes the exchange of ideas, like a mind map or concept map, for example.

I want that template!

To help them in the process and make sure each student contributes, use the 1-2-4 technique, which is structured in 3 stages.

4. Communication

We’ve arrived at the last C! As well as critically reviewing the information they receive, generating new ideas in a creative way, and collaborating with other students, they should also be able to communicate their ideas clearly.

How can we help them to improve their use of language and share their ideas effectively? By using resources which incorporate their interests and allow them certain flexibility, like this school newspaper:

Use this template

To create it, they must debate and agree on the sections and news that will be published, refine these ideas and write the input effectively, and choose other visual elements to strengthen the message. As soon as it’s done, they’ll be dying to show it off!

As well as these 4 skills we’ve talking about today, you’ll also be fostering lots of other abilities and behaviors in your students. And who knows? In a few years’ time, there will probably be a whole set of new ones to meet the needs of the future.

How do you work on these skills in your classes? Do you have a technique that’s worked well with your students? Let us know in the comments!

Ruth Martín
Ruth Martín
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