Did the 4 Cs replace the 3 Rs?

3Rs vs 4CsSometimes, it seems like it’s simply hyperbole… Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Is that really so different than Reading and Writing (Communication)? If you really engage in Arithmetic and learn how to Read and Write well aren’t you also tapping into Creativity and Critical Thinking?

It is not the same.

There’s no doubt that teachers, some teachers, great teachers, have taught the 4Cs for a long time. However, if we use the 3 Rs as the basis for our educational paradigm, students may or may not learn the 4 Cs. If we move beyond the basics and embrace the 4 Cs as the essential skills that all learners must become proficient with then we have begun to shift our goals for education to providing complex learning environments that match the complex, real-world problems that we all have to deal with.

Of course, Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic (aka literacy and numeracy) are still foundational skills. Critics often ask how we can possibly focus on ‘higher order’ skills when so many struggle with basic skills. Of course learners struggle in an increasingly irrelevant model of education (the 19th Century factory model). Learning them in an environment that often lacks real-world context can be challenging. So, why not embed them in complex problems that require learners to think critically and creatively and collaborate with others? One of the great values of modern technology in the classroom is that it allows students to become masters of their own learning. Learners can engage in the curriculum in ways that are more

From: The Southeast Technology Network CIC Grant Project http://nrctech.weebly.com/21st-century-skills.html

personally meaningful for them AND that hold more relevance to the real world. Learners can direct their own learning, while meeting curricular goals.

Here’s some related articles/links:

Are there really 6 Cs?…. The 6 C’s of Education for the 21st Century

6 Cs Infographic

How can I be a catalyst for changing education from a 19th Century factory model to a 21st Century model focused on developing globally aware learning and thinking skills?


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