Skip to main content

Two More Cs Please

We are nearly twenty percent into the 21st century, and unless you've been trapped under an enormous rock, you've likely come across information about the Four Cs. Designed as a guide to better prepare learners for a modern world, the Four Cs provide a concise framework for pushing modern learning opportunities into the classroom. This publication from the National Education Association speaks to the Four Cs in precise detail.



Taking a page from the ISTE standards for students, what if we shifted the focus of these descriptors from actions to learner dispositions? We would be fostering the development of skills students will need to be valued members of a global community. These learner dispositions include:
  1. Critical Thinker
  2. Communicator
  3. Collaborator
  4. Creator

While I heartily endorse the spirit of the Four Cs, I contend two dispositions are missing from this framework.
  1. Contributor
  2. Cultivator
As someone who is reluctantly neck-deep in my school and district's digital citizenship initiative, I've learned there are more impactful methods to helping young people create a positive digital footprint. My reluctance isn't that I see a lack of value to #DigCit education, I just view citizenship as a quiet, somewhat purposeless endeavor when compared to the benefits learners attain from contributing to the betterment of others through digital interaction, specifically, sharing what one has learned. 

Sharing knowledge reinforces, accelerates, and deepens learning. Contributing invites interaction and authentic forms of feedback. Russell Ackoff, challenging the typical, classroom system, asks, "Who learns the most in a traditional classroom?" He answers, "the teacher." Ackoff, an expert in the field of systems effectiveness, adds,

"The way students should learn is by teaching others." 

In other words, becoming a contributor. This strategy effectively builds purpose into the student's academic activities.

Credit Audrey Watters with exposing me to the innovative concept, "Domain of One's Own". What happens when we provide each student with a web domain, their own digital learning place? Cultivation. Students analyze, compare, self-assess, publish, reflect and revise their digital contributions. They "make" and share something previously nonexistent. Students develop modern literacies and digital fluency. They, as Ackoff suggests, become teachers. With paper resumes losing ground to digital portfolios, citizenship, most often presented as a series of scare tactics, "don't do this, you must not do that," is an example of trying to get the wrong thing right. The more correct thing is sharing learning through contribution and cultivation.

How do we feel when we are contributors? How do others feel? What skills and motivations go into cultivation? Care, responsibility, and attention. I appreciate the concise direction the Four Cs provide. My "Two Cs" add agency and interdependence to this modern learning framework. Make something and share it. Is there a more straightforward, purpose-filled learning system than this?

What descriptive words form your bullet points for revising our narrative about schools and the role they play in education?

photo credit: Ib Aarmo Studying at the library via photopin (license)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Grammarly Writing Hacks for Better Blogging

Writing is learning. It's taken me about thirty years to realize the metacognitive power of written expression, the same amount of time it took for me to recognize that my writing skills suck. Apparently, time in composition class was spent daydreaming and making silly faces at girls. Today, each post is an exercise of will power, unlearning and relearning prepositional phrases, comma usage, and when to use the ever-popular semicolon. Two hundred posts into my blogging adventure I've picked up a few tricks that add efficiency to my writing, things that make me appear smarter than I really am.


Freelance writer, Jennie Cromie, writing for ProBlogger.net, identifies five ways blogging can make you a better writer. Discover your voiceBuild social connectionsAcquire valuable feedbackBecome self-disciplinedWrite faster and more efficiently
Writing with intent to learn is the mindset to lead with. Using the right tools permits scatterbrains like me to focus on the message rather than un…

To Email, or Not

Should current students learn how to use email?


As someone who celebrates a clean email inbox about once every five years, I found it interesting that the topic of student email usage was on the agenda of our recent high school leadership meeting. The focus of this brief conversation concentrated on these questions.



How can we get students to utilize their school email account better? Should we be teaching students how to communicate with email?When and where should email usage skills be taught? Who's responsibility is this?Why do we want kids to check their email? Those around the conference room table agreed with the importance of students checking their email to stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities. Others mentioned it as being an important part of "digital executive functioning." Time was running short when someone said, "Kids don't use email."

This brief statement sent my mind scurrying in several simultaneous directions. 

First, thinking …

What is the Secret Sauce of School Change?

"There's an assumption that schools are for students' learning. Well, why aren't they just as much for teachers' learning?" - Seymour Sarason"I'm not asking you to change, I'm asking you to learn."
Missy Emler, Change School v3
Last Monday night and Cohort Three of Change.School was discussing change leadership and learning when Missy Emler dropped this gem on us from fifty thousand feet. Her follow-up comment was, "When people learn, people, systems, and organizations change." This simple, yet insightful commentary has been rattling around in my head for the past few days.

While mowing the front yard the following evening, I begin thinking about famous individuals who went through some form of transformation, historical figures, sports heroes, celebrities in pop culture. What preceded their conversion? All of the situations I could think of supported Missy's assertion, there was some kind of challenge, a period of reflection, pos…