On Back-to-School Night, in addition to talking about growth mindset, I also spoke about the 7Cs- Creativity, Compassion, Communication, Content Mastery, Cultural Awareness, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. These are skills we are actively working to develop in children throughout the district. You may have already heard or read about the 4Cs (creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration) as highly valued 21st century skills. In the Nyack Public Schools, we’ve added three additional C’s that we believe are critical for the success of our students as we prepare them for a rapidly changing world, and in many cases, for jobs and careers that don’t even exist yet!
In today’s progressive classrooms, yesterday’s rows of quiet listeners have given way to small groups of active learners, thoroughly engaged in discussions and explorations. While there is still a place for direct instruction, the role of the teacher is shifting from the “sage on the stage” to facilitator of learning. Instead of standing front and center to deliver instruction, he or she is apt to be on the move, observing, asking questions, and guiding students to make their own sense of the world. Technology has expanded the walls of our classrooms connecting students to the wider global community.
To prepare our students for college, careers, and citizenship, we need to move above and beyond the mastery of facts. When students master the 7 C’s, they will have skills that will last for a lifetime. To be able to solve problems in our complex, fast-changing world, students must become creative, critical, culturally aware thinkers who can communicate effectively and work well with others. (Not surprisingly, an IBM 2010 global study of chief executive officers revealed that — more than any other skill — creativity is most important for succeeding in today’s increasingly complex society.) These competencies, also known as 21st-century skills include the following:
Collaboration: Students are able to work effectively with diverse groups and exercise flexibility in making compromises to achieve common goals.
Creativity: Students are able to generate and improve on original ideas and also work creatively with others.
Communication: Students are able to communicate effectively across multiple media and for various purposes with multiple audiences.
Critical Thinking: Students are able to analyze, evaluate and synthesize information and apply multiple strategies to solve problems.
Content Mastery: Students are able to demonstrate knowledge and skills tied to particular content standards in all subjects.
Cultural Awareness: Students are able to understand the similarities and differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values and how those similarities and differences shape our community and our world.
Compassion: Students demonstrate kindness, caring and a willingness to help others.
The 7 C’s don’t replace academic learning goals. Students still need to become good readers and writers, even though they may be learning and publishing on new platforms. Our students will still be using mathematics to solve problems. They will be learning to think like scientists and historians, learning how to draw their own conclusions based on evidence and observation. Our goal is to integrate 21st-century skills with rigorous core content.
Our teachers are learning to accomplish this tall order via exciting new approaches. Many of our teachers are now in the process of learning to develop learner active, technology infused classrooms (LATIC). Students investigate real-world problems and design their own solutions. Students use technology not just to access valuable content but also to collaborate and create new content. Through effective collaboration and teamwork, they’re also honing important social skills, learning to respect diverse viewpoints and to resolve conflicts peacefully. Additionally, students will have more choices in the way they learn, progressively growing in independence and self direction.
We look forward to partnering with families on this exciting journey and to sharing more with you as we learn ourselves.
Thank you for sharing your children with us each day!
Mrs. Gina Cappiello