The idea was, that in order for our current students to succeed in their future they needed to be adept in these three basic skill sets. In a world where the only thing certain is that things change and where the future of the job market can no longer be mapped for fifty years as was once the case before the technological revolution. It is almost impossible now to predict what the job market will look like five years from now let alone ten or twenty years down the line. It is imperative that students become problem solvers through the use of critical thinking skills. In turn students must be capable of communicating effectively in that process and through the results of these problem solving efforts. And, because there are very few jobs where there is only one employee, the ability to collaborate is an absolute must in the world today and in the future.
For me this was educational enlightenment even with twenty years of teaching on my resume. This actually made sense to me. I immediately started to plan and refocus my classroom to incorporate these three core ideas. I read everything I could on critical thinking and how to incorporate more in depth problem solving into my science classes. I looked for methods to improve the means of communication in the classroom focusing on the importance of all types of communication verbal, visual, written as well as through technology. I have always encouraged student collaboration in my classroom, and this served to further my resolve to get students to become more active in their roles in the classroom. I was adamant that students work together in a variety of ways throughout each class period.
- Critical Thinking allows the individual to manage information. Information presented in a multitude of forms from a variety of media. Information that must be filtered and analyzed, authenticated and processed, and eventually must be synthesized in a form that will be useful to the individual.
- Communication provides the means by which the individual can present information. Information presented in a multitude of means through a variety of media. Information that must be clear and concise, effective and engaging, and eventually be presented in a way that is meaningful to the individual and the audience.
- Collaboration engages the individual in the world they share through association. Association, that is created to benefit an organization and as a means to conduct business. Association that includes partnership and teamwork, leadership and assistance, and alliance that serves to benefit the whole.
- Culture encourages the individual to appreciate where we have come from, who we are now and how we can move into the future. Culture associates the individual to all that surrounds them: art, drama, dance poetry, history, science, religion, written and unwritten language, technology and the individual themselves.
- Creativity provides the avenue for expression. The structure means nothing without function. Therefore, the individual must be capable of creating something with the knowledge that they have worked so hard to obtain. It is in creating that the individual gains purpose.
- Connectivity places the individual in touch with their world. In today’s existence that is increasingly through the technology that is rapidly changing the way they view their world. Understanding that connections are personal no matter what the means of contact and that humanity must remain in light of how the technology may change for each individual.
As an educator, I will continue to make these the priority in my classroom and in my discussion on transforming education. My students will leave my room each and every day, each and every week month and year, with the understanding that their future may just lie in the mastery of the “6 C’s of Education for the Future”.