We live in a world where the only certainty is change, and where the future of the job market can no longer be determined as was once the case before the technological era. It is now nearly impossible to predict what the job market will look like in the next decade. It is imperative that educators evaluate how we can prepare students for this uncertain future that awaits them. How do we ensure that our students today will be able to navigate an ever-changing world and confront the complex socio-economic challenges that awaits them in the job market?
In a paper titled, “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning: Education Plus,” educational scholars, Michael Fullan and Geoff Scott examine how our approaches to pedagogy must evolve to keep up with the rapid technological and socio-economic changes of the 21st century. In this paper, the scholars outline six crucial skills that should be integrated into the education system so as to ensure that we are producing students who are prepared for a world in constant flux and who are ready to be productive members of society, better yet, be the change makers in their societies.
Here are the 6 C’s, or transferable skills, that we as educators need to foster in our students so that they are able navigate the demands of the 21st century:
Critical Thinking – This is the ability to filter, question and analyze information found in various media, and then synthesize it in a form that is coherent to an individual. This should enable individuals to make sense of the information presented to them and apply it in their lives. The purpose of critical thinking is to ensure individuals are able to solve problems in both conventional and innovative ways by being able to reason effectively through the use of systematic thinking to make judgements and decisions.
Communication – This is the ability of the individual to articulate their ideas and present information in a clear, concise and meaningful way. Communication isn’t just simply about perfecting our verbal and non-verbal cues, it also requires individuals to carefully listen to others and be considerate of the information or ideas they are presenting to you. Educational scholar, Brian Miller, states that communication serves four main purposes which are “to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade,” the audience or individual one is addressing.
Creativity – This refers to the ability of an individual to explore their imagination, to tap into their curiosity, to refine and improve original ideas by utilizing the knowledge they have worked so hard to acquire. In the 21st Century, creativity can’t just be left to the arts as an avenue for expression, yes, we do indeed need the arts to remind us of our shared humanity, document current events for historical purposes, and most importantly act as a reflection of our society. But nonetheless, creativity in the 21st century is a necessity required to solve some of the dire problems our world is faced with today, from climate change to novel viruses to inequality. All these problems we are faced with, present us with an opportunity to innovate and create solutions that will make our world a much better place.
Collaboration – This refers to the ability of an individual to utilize various personalities, talents and knowledge to work together with others to maximize on the outcome of what is being worked on. Collaboration engages the individual with a world in which they share with others through association, this association is created to benefit the community or an organization they belong to. This association includes elements of partnership and teamwork, leadership and assistance, as well as alliances that serve to benefit the entire organization or community. It is through these associations’ individuals are called upon to work together to share, advocate and compromise on issues critical to a team’s success. It is when peers work together in a focused, deliberate way to improve measurable outcomes that, as Fullan puts it, the “moral imperative is realized.”
Citizenship – This refers to the ability of the individual to be in touch with their immediate surroundings, to be aware and appreciate where one comes from, as well as being cognizant of the values and beliefs that people in the societies we belong to hold near and dear. Citizenship also calls for an understanding of the history of the society we find ourselves in, it encourages individuals to recognize where we come from, who we are now as a society, and how we can progress into the future. As technology penetrates every element of our lives and restructures our societies, we find ourselves living in a more globalized world that asks us to be more in touch with the world at large, to seek understanding of other societies beyond our own and to reevaluate our commitment to the world at large.
Character Education – This refers to the ability of the student to ethically engage with the world at the individual and collective level. We need to nurture good character traits in our students that determine outward actions that will impact the world in a positive way. These inward values are generally universal and they include; responsibility, trustworthiness, respect, citizenship, resilience, empathy, fairness and so on. We should encourage a commitment to good character in our students and have them understand the rewards that come with it at personal level and at a universal level.
While these C’s might seem daunting, and to be frank they are, but it is only through a more complete and holistic education are we able to ensure our students are empowered to confront the challenges they are about to face as adults. At MwalimuPLUS, we are excited to work with our team and partners to explore and reflect on how best to incorporate these 6 C’s in the education of the students subscribed to our App. One of our key goals is to ensure that our subscribers are well equipped to face a highly technological and rapidly changing world, we want nothing to deter them from accomplishing their dreams. Hope you will join us in this endeavor!