Education is the only way to bring a desired change in the world and it needs to be made more logical, successive, purposeful, goal oriented, and as per the changing need of the society.
The 3RS concept with clarity and successive turn made our system very vibrant and meaningful. Taking benefits from the basics while adopting an innovative idea of 4 CS can make our teaching learning process goal oriented and will make us enable to success in the skilled world with leadership qualities. To develop successful members of the global society, education must be based on a framework of the Four C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative thinking.
In the last 20 or more years, there has been a well researched and -documented decline in “routine” work, with a simultaneous rapid increase in jobs requiring communication, analytic, collaborative and creative skills. To adequately prepare students to meet this demand, it’s vital to focus on the intertwined 4 C’s of 21st-century learning.
The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and life.
Critical thinking is all about looking at problems in a new way and analysing the “how” and “why” of an issue. These types of thinking skills examples include the ability to compare evidence, evaluate claims and consider information to make sensible decisions.
Critical thinking is a highly desired attribute for teachers. Teachers who are able to think critically can identify problems and find solutions more effectively. They can also better understand and communicate with their students. However, they are especially important for those in positions of authority, such as teachers. This is because those in positions of authority have a responsibility to make sure that their actions and decisions are in the best interests of those they are responsible for. There are many ways to develop critical thinking skills. Some people are born with these skills, while others develop them through experience or education. There are also many resources available that can help people to develop their critical thinking skills.
Developing Critical Thinking among Students
1. Ask questions
It is often seen that students hesitate to ask questions in the classroom. It could be the result of a fear of speaking in public or of embarrassment. But don’t hold back from asking questions that could help you learn better. Asking questions enhances your critical thinking in learning.
You can often wait for your class to finish before personally approaching your teacher and clearing up your questions. One question may lead to another, and that will further help in clearing your concepts
2. Practice active learning
If you want to remember what you studied through understanding and not just by reciting it innumerable times, then you must practise active learning. It is a method of learning that is based on an experiential approach. Active learning can be achieved through group learning, case studies, demonstrations, visual learning, etc.
3. Study with the help of examples
It is easy to remember information through examples and stories as they reflect the practical implications. They contribute to mindful learning. Real-life examples, anecdotes, analogies, and facts help develop critical thinking skills.
4. Beyond academic learning
The academic curriculum helps you lay the foundation for further learning. It is impossible to gather every piece of knowledge in the world or even on a particular subject. But if something strikes your curiosity, then go beyond your academic textbooks and indulge in more research and learning with the help of the teacher or instructor.
These are the skills to explore and create fresh ways of thinking. Creativity refers to new way of seeing or doing things and includes four components: • fluency (generating new ideas), • flexibility (shifting perspective easily), • originality (conceiving of something new), and • elaboration (building on others’ ideas). Innovative Skills mean skills for thinking creatively to develop something new/ unique / improved / distinctive.
This skill is experiencing a boom as technology opens up the ways in which we can be creative and demands that we exercise the skill. Creativity isn’t limited to artistic endeavours, it’s about innovation and invention, and is available to everyone. In the competitive 21st century, an innovative and creative approach is essential for personal and professional success. Critical and creative thinking skills are closely linked – after using critical skills to analyse a situation, creative thinking is applied to find an original approach.
Students tend to learn new things quickly as it is their growing age; hence learning new things is comparatively more straightforward. Moreover, seeing other students doing creative stuff can boost the motivation of students to be more creative.
Curiosity often leads to more creative thinking; curious minds are most creative. Creativity helps in the overall development of any individual, and hence students need to develop an innovative and curious mind.
1. Creating learning activities
School authorities can arrange various learning activities for the students to improve creative thinking, for example, providing colors and sheets and asking students to paint anything that comes to mind or closing the eyes and just observing what thoughts are coming, and many more. Such activities can increase creativity among students on their own and by learning from other students. These activities make the student more mindful, becoming more aware of the environment. Creative writing is a great activity that teachers can give to their students, and many schools already host such creative writing contests to improve students’ creativity.
2. Teaching various skills that can help them increase creativity
Teaching different skills can boost a student’s creativity; hence, gaining new skills apart from academic teaching can help develop creativity. Exploring new skills aware a student of various opportunities lying in front of the student, and such skills help develop a student’s curiosity. More of the creative thinking skills include-
• Communication Skills
• Exploring ourselves
3. Reward students
No matter how small, reward the students whenever they present their creative ideas—it encourages them to think creatively. Verbal praise in front of the class is a good way of rewarding a student. More ways of rewarding a student include distributing pens, penclis/chocolates, giving fancy stationery items like colored pens, etc. Rewarding a student boosts their motivation and helps in developing creative thinking.
4- Sharing everyone’s ideas to everyone
Sharing creative ideas with the whole classroom can be helpful as it increases different perspectives on the same topic. This method can help improve the productivity of the entire classroom simultaneously, and this method is frequently applied to many institutions already. When a teacher explains the approaches of all students, the student waits for his turn, which makes them more enthusiastic and curious as it develops competitive feelings among students. It results in getting more input from the student developing their creativity.
Communication refers to the ability to express one’s opinions, desires, needs, apprehensions etc. oneself appropriately, verbally and non-verbally. Communication skills are essential for students as they offer numerous benefits both inside and outside the academic environment.
1. Academic success: Students with strong communication skills can express their ideas clearly and concisely, making it easier for them to participate in class discussions, ask questions, and seek help when needed. They can also present their thoughts and arguments persuasively, leading to better grades on presentations, papers, and exams.
2. Collaboration and teamwork: Communication skills play a vital role in collaborative projects and group work. Students who can communicate effectively can express their viewpoints, actively listen to others, and contribute constructively to team discussions. This fosters a positive and productive group dynamic, enhancing the overall quality of the project and the learning experience.
3. Building relationships: Communication skills are essential for establishing and maintaining relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors. Effective communication helps students connect with others, express empathy, resolve conflicts, and establish a supportive network. Strong interpersonal skills enable students to form meaningful relationships that can positively impact their academic and personal lives.
4. Confidence and self-expression: When students possess good communication skills, they feel more confident expressing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. They are more likely to actively participate in class, share their perspectives, and engage in discussions. This confidence extends beyond the classroom and can lead to better overall self-expression, both verbally and in written form.
Collaboration is the ability to effectively work together with others. This skill involves working together while taking actions respecting others’ needs and perspectives and contributing to and accepting the finale. Collaboration helps to develop interest and fun in the teaching learning process. It effectively broadens the cultural, social, and environmental boundaries and helps a child to understand social and environmental concerns better.
They Make Our Work Better
Our work is better when we consider multiple perspectives and include ideas from other people. When we collaborate, we look to others to weigh in and give feedback about what we’re working on. As a result, we produce work that’s a product of different voices, backgrounds, and skill sets, which harnesses the power of multiple people instead of relying on a single person, mindset, and perspective.
( Author is a Teacher at Girls Model Higher Secondary School Handwara and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)