When it comes to education blogs, we see plenty of list posts–the 5 most important skills for a college application, the 10 ways to succeed in school, the 12 ways to keep your kids healthy–but what if there was one list that could set a foundation for it all? What if there was actually a quite simple answer to raising the happiest, healthiest, and most productive up and coming generation?
That is exactly what the Generation 5C blog is going to explore–how can we take the 5Cs and provide children with a clearer path to becoming contributors to this global society. But first, what are the 5Cs?
Critical Thinking: teach the ability to think rationally and clearly
The best skill we can teach children is the ability to think critically. Give them this tool, and the rest naturally follows.
The definition of critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” At its simplest, to think critically is to rationally hunt for, and understand, the “why” behind the “what,” and to comprehend the consequences and outcomes of actions and decisions. Armed with the ability to gather information, question the obvious, and to sort through possible outcomes, children will be able to make clear, level-headed conclusions in their life and learning.
This ability to search for the “why,” and to apply conclusions based on that investigation, provides students with a sense of control in their learning—if they apply critical thinking to their specific problem or question, they will be hard pressed to not find the answer (and they may very well discover that there is often more than one). This skill extends into extra-curricular activities, home-life, play, and eventually into the “real” world and professional realms.
Collaboration: teach the ability to work well with others
Group projects aren’t simply a schoolroom exercise. Successful, industry-leading businesses look to hire individuals who are able to collaborate well with team members and coworkers. They are interested in hard workers who can bring their strengths to the group. What might set one strong job candidate from another is their ability to work well with others. It doesn’t hurt that collaboration and team building exercises help develop critical thinking skills.
Creativity: teach the ability to think outside of the box & innovate
Creativity is desired at both the collegiate and the professional levels. Readiness to think outside the box—often in group environments—is so highly valued during this time of innovation. It is a common misconception that not everyone can think creatively. While one may not excel in the arts, or areas that are traditionally “creative,” they are still capable of thinking creatively, innovating, and helping to expand the world. It doesn’t matter what field an individual works in, but to be the best of the best always requires a creative approach.
Communication: teach the ability to connect with others, to present oneself and one’s ideas, and to be an effective speaker and skilled listener.
Communication skills are not just about talking—it’s equally about listening. In order to be a good communicator, one must be able to properly navigate both sides of a conversation. Thinking critically and collaborating with others is only so good until you have to communicate your rational, creative ideas and thoughts to others. Public speaking skills, inter-personal relationships, networking, and interviews all rely on strong communication skills. Helping your children or students hone their communication skills is helping them improve themselves as family members, friends, significant others, business partners, coworkers, bosses, networkers, and leaders.
Community Connections: teaching the ability to feel, show, and act on compassion, and to be an active part of a larger community.
Involving your children and students in community service learning projects allows them to build their emotional intelligence, compassion, and to understand the importance of making connections within the community. Through service learning projects, children are able develop real-world skills that not only give them an advantage in school, but in their personal and professional lives. Participating in service learning teaches leadership, problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills, time management, and unity. It reminds students that there is the personal community, the school community, their city or town community, their national community, and the global community, and we are part of them all. It enriches and deepens their perspectives of the world, all while helping to build school applications and professional resumes, which is simply a bonus!