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Communication Skills | 21st Century Skills
What Are the 4 C's of 21st Century Skills?
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December 31st, 2021 | 9 min. read
For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES curriculum system.
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As a middle or high school career readiness teacher, you likely need to teach 21st century skills as part of your curriculum.
While all twelve of those skills are necessary to teach, the "four C's" are often considered to be the most important.
The four C’s of 21st Century skills are:
- Critical thinking
These four skills are essential for modern students to succeed in school and the workplace.
They often make the biggest impact in terms of setting your students apart when applying for and starting their careers.
In this article, you'll discover what each skill entails and why they are so important to teach.
You'll also be able to download a free guide on how you can teach the 4 C's of 21st Century skills in middle or high school courses.
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the practice of solving problems, among other qualities.
In addition to working through problems , solving puzzles, and similar activities, critical thinking also includes an element of skepticism.
This is important in the 21st Century because it’s harder than ever to verify accurate information (mostly thanks to the Internet).
Critical thinking empowers students to discover the truth in assertions, especially when it comes to separating fact from opinion.
Related Resource: Free Critical Thinking Lesson Download
With critical thinking, students don’t just learn a set of facts or figures. Instead, they learn how to discover the facts and figures for themselves.
They ask questions. They become engaged in the world around them. They help others think critically, too.
That might be the most important part of critical thinking. Once one student has it mastered, it quickly spreads to their peers.
Whether they learn how to think critically from spending time online or simply asking “Why?” in everyday life, this skill prepares students for a life of independence and purposeful thought.
Still, critical thinking is just one of the four C’s in 21st Century skills.
It works just fine when students use it alone. But when students combine it with the next skill, the sky is the limit to what they can achieve.
Creativity is the practice of thinking outside the box.
While creativity is often treated like a you-have-it-or-you-don’t quality, students can learn how to be creative by solving problems, creating systems, or just trying something they haven’t tried before.
That doesn’t mean every student will become an artist or a writer.
Instead, it means they’ll be able to look at a problem from multiple perspectives — including those that others may not see.
Creativity allows students to embrace their inner strengths from big-picture planning to meticulous organization.
As a student learns about their creativity, they also learn how to express it in healthy and productive ways.
More importantly, they also become motivated to share that creativity with others.
Just like with critical thinking, that makes creativity contagious.
One student creates an interesting or innovative solution to a problem . Then, when they share it, the next student can become inspired to try something similar.
That’s not to say every single creative endeavor will be a ringing success. Students will fail at some point, and some of their ideas simply won’t work.
But that’s okay . The point of creativity is to encourage students to think differently than convention demands.
They don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done.
Instead, they can figure out a better way.
Students don’t have to embrace their creativity alone, either.
In fact, creativity works best when combined with the next 21st Century skill .
Collaboration is the practice of working together to achieve a common goal.
Collaboration is important because whether students realize it or not, they’ll probably work with other people for the rest of their lives.
Virtually every job requires someone to work with another person at some point, even if it’s for something as simple as what to get for lunch.
Practicing collaboration and teamwork helps students understand how to address a problem, pitch solutions, and decide the best course of action.
It’s also helpful for them to learn that other people don’t always have the same ideas that they do.
In fact, as students practice collaboration more and more, they’ll learn that they have almost none of the same ideas that others do.
This can affect students in one of two ways. First, it could discourage them since nobody seems to agree with them that often. Second, it could embolden them because they realize they’re bringing something unique to every conversation.
As a teacher, it’s crucial that you encourage students to look at themselves through that second lens.
That way, students learn that they should speak up when they have an idea.
They may not be on the money 100% of the time — and some of their peers may have strong, opinionated reactions — but it’ll teach them to speak up when they’re working with others.
Communication is the practice of conveying ideas quickly and clearly.
Communication is often taken for granted in today’s society. After all, if you say something, that means you conveyed an idea, right?
In the age of text-based communications — SMS, emails , social media , etc. — it’s never been more important for students to learn how to convey their thoughts in a way that others can understand them.
That’s because text-based communications lack tone , which is critical to understanding the context of someone’s words.
Still, even in situations where vocal tone is available, students need to learn how to communicate effectively.
That includes minimizing tangents, speaking directly to an idea, and checking other participants to make sure they’re engaged.
Reading an audience — even if it’s just two other people in a group discussion — lets students determine whether they should keep expanding on an idea or wrap up their point.
Their audience could even be their family at Thanksgiving dinner.
The point is that as students practice communication, they become better at efficiently conveying an idea without losing their point “in the weeds,” so to speak.
With communication locked down, students can streamline their ideas and make a positive impression on those around them.
Still, it’s important to note that communication isn’t enough on its own to help students with 21st Century skills.
To really succeed, students need to use all four of these skills together.
How Do the Four C’s Work Together?
The four C’s of 21st Century skills let students create a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
That may sound overly-generalized, and you may be right. But the skills themselves are so general that it’s difficult to pin down what, why, or how students should learn the four C’s.
It’s most accurate to say that students need the four C’s for any and every reason.
Critical thinking teaches students to question claims and seek truth.
Creativity teaches students to think in a way that’s unique to them.
Collaboration teaches students that groups can create something bigger and better than you can on your own.
Communication teaches students how to efficiently convey ideas.
Combined, the four C’s empower students to become one-person think tanks.
Then, when those students get together, they can achieve almost anything!
How Do You Teach the Four C's of 21st Century Skills?
Now you know what the four C's of 21st Century skills are and why employers want new hires to have them.
So now you're probably wondering how to teach 21st Century skills in your daily middle and high school classes.
Click below to get your free guide on teaching critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication!
Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking – The 4 C’s of Education
The 4 C’s of Education are Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. These four pillars are not only important in the workplace but also in education. This includes all areas of education from elementary school to continuing education to college and beyond.
But teaching today has gone far beyond teaching only in the classroom. E-learning has been on the rise for over a decade. And with the global pandemic, teaching online has become even more mainstream. Teaching has also gone beyond being only for those working in schools. Today, anyone can create an online course. This includes professionals, hobby bloggers, and companies wanting to educate and train their employees further.
In this post, we’ll look at how each of the 4 C’s can help you in creating your online course. By implementing the 4 C’s, you’ll be able to offer a course that is meaningful to your students. You will also be able to contribute skills that are relevant to aspects of their personal lives.
We’ll go over why the 4 C’s are so important, what they mean, and how you can put them in place in your online course.
What is communication in teaching.
When you give students are a voice in their education, they work better. Students who feel listened to want to contribute more to their own learning. Also, communicating with students can build a stronger bond between you and them. It also creates an open environment where your students feel like they belong. When people feel at home in a learning environment they are more likely to be willing to try new things and engage with their learning.
One of the biggest parts of communication is making it clear what you expect of your students. Often, students don’t know what you expect of them in an online classroom. Without being clear, students may not understand their responsibility to their learning. They may not understand what they can expect to learn or how they will be taught.
When it comes to teaching online, this can be a disaster. Especially if you’re selling an online course. You need to clearly communicate from the outset what students can expect from the course. Students also need to be told how they will learn. For example, through videos, reading guides, or other activities. Knowing how they will learn will help measure students’ expectations. In turn, this can mean that students won’t complain if the course is not delivered in the way in which they were expecting.
Essentially, teaching is a conversation. And it involves both you as the teacher and your students. So, make sure that all your messages are clearly delivered to avoid confusion.
Implementing good communication in your online course
Communication in an online course is different to when you are teaching in a classroom.
When you teach online, there can be many obstacles to communication, including:
- Online activities are not being taught ‘live.’ That is, your student is learning in their own time.
- Due to a range of reasons, even in live classes, you might not be able to read your students’ reactions. They may have their webcams turned off, or you may not be able to see everyone on your screen at any one time.
Ensuring good communication is vital to your students’ success when taking your course. Some ways to foster good communication with your students include:
- Creating an online community. In this community your students can discuss points of the course with each other and with you. Podia and LearnWorlds are both online course platforms that offer this feature. Both platforms offer the ability for you to create a community for your students. Personal experience has shown that students like being able to interact with others. Particularly if they are learning independently a home.
- Create a Facebook community. If you’re using a platform where you can’t create a community, turn to Facebook. In your group, your students can ask, and you can answer their questions. You can check out my Facebook community which I have created for the students of my online course over at Bloggers Creating Courses .
- Utilise a messaging system. LearnWorlds has a messaging system whereby students can contact each other and their teacher from inside the online school. Such messaging systems enable your students to message you on the platform. This is great for students to send a quick message whilst their issue is on their minds. There is no need for them to go to their email and contact you or other students from a different platform.
What is collaborative teaching.
Whether you have an online course yet or not, collaboration is a useful skill to develop.
Teamwork teaches you how to rely on other people for different skills that you might lack. Demonstrating collaboration has many perks. These include demonstrating to your students that not everyone has all the information needed to teach every aspect of a topic. Such a realisation is important for students and teachers to note. Think about it, you can’t possibly know everything about a single topic!
Collaboration and collaborative working are important skills for everyday life. It allows you to combine ideas together with others. The product? Quite often collaboration leads to innovative solutions which may have never occurred otherwise. Collaboration also allows you to see issues from a different perspective and introduce a creative way of solving them.
Collaborating with experts in other fields
In Stupid Simple SEO , the course author Mike Futia has collaborated with a number of experts to offer bonus lessons in his course. He has identified that there are others who could teach the content of those bonus lessons better than himself. So, his collaborative approach has meant that he can offer more course content to his students.
Collaborating with students
Another way to collaborate when teaching online is to collaborate with your students. Evaluation forms are a vital source of information. They enable you to see how your course is being received. Also, by asking students for feedback, you can put in place changes to your course. This type of collaboration means that you can improve your students for future students, which in turn can lead to more course sales!
You can also collaborate with potential students by putting out a survey to see what students might want from a potential course idea. You could survey previous students, or, if this is your first course, put a survey out on your social media for people to answer. By surveying your potential audience, you will be delivering a course based on students’ needs and not what you think they need.
Why does teaching need to be creative?
Creativity is a mental process that involves combining or transforming existing elements to create something new. These new creations or ideas result from your own imagination or inspiration rather than from direct imitation.
Creativity is, therefore, a key characteristic for anyone who is teaching online. This is because it is vital for students to learn how to think in original ways.
Teaching creatively – ideas for your online classroom
There are many ways for you to encourage creativity in your students. Such methods include teaching them skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork.
When you have an online classroom, teaching creatively is made easier with technology. You can use simple applications to help spur your student’s creativity and brainstorming within group activities.
Here are some ideas:
- Jamboard – an application available through Google. Students can use Jamboard to brainstorm ideas onto the same board.
- YouTube – students can create videos and upload them for other students to view.
What are critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is the ability to think about situations in an analytical manner instead of just having a gut reaction. It involves questioning what we take for granted, especially ideas that seem obvious or normal.
In education, critical thinking is one way to help us analyze what we are being told, and not just take things at face value.
How to integrate critical thinking skills into your online teaching
You might not need to overhaul your entire online classroom management system or curriculum. But, you can add a few simple lessons on how you can promote critical thinking skills.
When you show students a process for completing a task, explain that this is not the only way of doing something. Explain that they may need to adapt the method to best suit their needs.
Equally, if you use examples in your teaching, ask your students about what the example isn’t telling them. A blog article about a blogger who made 5-figures through their blog in the first 2 months of their website going live is a fantastic story to share with students on your course about setting up a blog. But, it’s important to point out that this individual may have had months of planning their blog, plus working with a team of professionals to launch their blog. Applying critical thinking skills will help students have realistic expectations of their learning.
In conclusion, the 4 C’s of education are all transferable to the online classroom. When creating your online course, ensuring that you keep these skills in mind will only enhance what you offer your students. You will enhance your students’ learning by integrating these four areas of teaching. This in turn can lead to your students recommending your course to others.
You might not be able to integrate all the 4 C’s into your online course, and that’s ok. If you can’t focus on all 4, I would recommend focussing on communication and creativity as a minimum. Students like to feel listened to and are reassured when they are able to connect with you as the course teacher. The online course market is becoming more and more competitive and so being creative in your content delivery will help your course stand out from the crowd.
This post was proofread using Grammarly .
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NAEA Position Statement on the 4C’s (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity)
[Adopted March 2022]
June 1, 2022
NAEA recognizes that the 4C’s – Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity - are fundamental to visual arts education. NAEA believes that it is important that all learners leave school prepared with the skills and knowledge to address the challenges that await them. The 4C’s are frequently included in local and national educational policies as important skills to develop for post-secondary education, future employability, and active citizenship. NAEA believes that participating in a visual arts education provides opportunities for all learners to build their skills and capacity for the 4C’s as part of a complete 21st century education and to shape their human potential.
NAEA believes that a comprehensive visual arts education is integral for success in college, the workforce, and beyond, as stated within the NAEA Position Statements on the Impact of Visual Arts Workforce Development:
- Visual arts education develops skills of deeper understanding and divergent thinking while also playing a vital role in cultivating collaboration, communication, critical thinking, curiosity, innovation, and problem solving, additional key competencies desired by employers. Visual arts education also develops emotional intelligence, the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
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Apa Itu 4C dalam Pembelajaran Abad ke-21?
Pahami lebih jauh mengenai skill 4C, pembelajaran abad 21 yang melibatkan kemampuan personal dan sosial peserta didik.
Sejatinya, pendidikan dan pembelajaran akan berkembang seiring dengan perubahan zaman. Di abad ke-21 ini, pembelajaran tidak hanya berpusat pada kemampuan kognitif, tetapi juga mencakup sejumlah keterampilan personal dan sosial. Keterampilan tersebut dikenal dengan istilah 4C Pembelajaran Abad 21 : critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, dan communication .
Critical Thinking (Keterampilan Berpikir Kritis)
Tujuan utama dari kemampuan berpikir kritis atau critical thinking adalah mengarahkan anak untuk dapat menyelesaikan masalah ( problem solving ). Pola pikir yang kritis juga perlu diterapkan agar anak dapat melatih diri untuk mencari kebenaran dari setiap informasi yang didapatkannya. Keterampilan ini sangat diperlukan untuk mengatasi dampak negatif dari akses informasi tak terbatas di abad ke-21.
Critical thinking dapat dikembangkan melalui beragam aktivitas pembelajaran, mulai dari menyusun puzzle hingga berdiskusi. Misalnya Anak dapat bermain game puzzle dari Primaindisoft seperti contoh berikut.
Creativity (Keterampilan Berpikir Kreatif)
Creativity tidak selalu identik dengan anak yang pintar menggambar atau merangkai kata dalam tulisan. Namun, kreativitas juga dapat dimaknai sebagai kemampuan berpikir outside the box tanpa dibatasi aturan yang cenderung mengikat. Anak-anak yang memiliki kreativitas tinggi mampu berpikir dan melihat suatu masalah dari berbagai sisi atau perspektif. Hasilnya, mereka akan berpikiran lebih terbuka dalam menyelesaikan masalah.
Terdapat salah satu dari beberapa Konten belajar primaindisoft yang mengajarkan anak tentang kreativitas, misalnya lewat game membuat motif-motif baju sesuai dengan kreasinya. Selain mendesain anak di ajak mengenal bentuk-bentuk geometri pada motif baju.
Collaboration (Keterampilan Bekerja Sama atau Berkolaborasi)
Collaboration adalah aktivitas bekerja sama dengan seseorang atau beberapa orang dalam satu kelompok untuk mencapai tujuan yang ditetapkan bersama. Aktivitas ini penting diterapkan dalam proses pembelajaran agar anak mampu dan siap untuk bekerja sama dengan siapa saja dalam kehidupannya mendatang. Saat berkolaborasi bersama orang lain, anak akan terlatih untuk mengembangkan solusi terbaik yang bisa diterima oleh semua orang dalam kelompoknya.
Communication (Keterampilan Berkomunikasi)
Communication dimaknai sebagai kemampuan anak dalam menyampaikan ide dan pikirannya secara cepat, jelas, dan efektif. Keterampilan ini terdiri dari sejumlah sub-skill , seperti kemampuan berbahasa yang tepat sasaran, kemampuan memahami konteks, serta kemampuan membaca pendengar ( audience ) untuk memastikan pesannya tersampaikan.
Keterampilan 4C Pembelajaran Abad 21 di atas harus dimiliki peserta didik dari seluruh jenjang pendidikan, termasuk anak-anak usia Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK) yang baru memasuki dunia belajar. Selain diterapkan oleh guru atau pendidik di sekolah, keterampilan tersebut sebenarnya dapat juga dikembangkan oleh orang tua di rumah. Salah satunya dengan cara stimulasi strategi belajar anak melalui media digital seperti Primaindisoft .
Primaindisoft.com adalah media belajar online yang menyediakan konten belajar penunjang sekolah dalam bentuk media digital seperti game edukasi, video pembelajaran, bacaan interaktif, kamus si kecil untuk anak usia dini, dan latihan soal.
Konten belajarnya pun di desain mengandung keterampilan 4C Pembelajaran Abad 21 : critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, dan communication .
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Peningkatan 4C (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication) pada Materi Suggestion Melalui PBL (Problem Based Learning)
Ruang lingkup mata pelajaran Bahasa Inggris pada satuan pendidikan meliputi aspek kemampuan memahami dan menciptakan berbagai teks fungsional pendek dan monolog serta esei, dan kompetensi linguistik. Pelajaran bahasa membantu peserta didik mampu mengemukakan gagasan dan perasaan, berpartisipasi aktif dalam masyarakat, bahkan menemukan serta menggunakan kemampuan analitis, imaginative , dan memotivasi semangat belajar yang ada pada dirinya, sesuai dengan pembelajaran abad 21 yang popular disebut 4C. Pada pembelajaran ini melalui PBL pada materi suggestion diharapkan dapat meningkatkan kemampuan 4C peserta didik.
Dalam meningkatkan 4C pada materi suggestion ini melalui PBL, penulis menggunakan berbagai media seperti lingkungan sekolah, WhatsApp, LINE, Google Classroom, dan media lain. Penulis berharap dengan media tersebut dapat menarik peserta didik untuk melakukan berbagai ragam suggestion dalam bentuk latihan dan praktik dikirimkan ke guru dari kalimat yang sederhana sampai dengan kalimat yang kompleks. Penulis memberikan kesempatan peserta didik untuk membuat rencana dengan mengambil beberapa sampel foto tempat yang kurang nyaman dan menjelaskan secara detail dengan menyebutkan benda-benda dan situasi yang ditemukan dalam gambar setelah itu peserta didik berkomentar hal-hal yang kurang nyaman berdasarkan gambar tersebut, kemudian merancang solusi untuk mengatasi. Hal tersebut dapat dilakukan dengan berbagai cara, misalnya menggunakan daftar rencana, caption yang dituliskan dalam bentuk paragraf sehingga peserta didik mampu menuliskan komentar saran dan solusinya sesuai yang diinginkan.
Aktivitas dalam pembelajaran menggunakan Model PBL dan Kegiatan Pembelajaran sbb
Berdasarkan hasil kegiatan pembelajaran yang sudah dilakukan, dapat disimpulkan bahwa pembelajaran bahasa inggris menggunakan model PBL pada materi suggestion dengan mengangkat tema linkungan akan meningkatkan pencapaian 4C sekaligus untuk memperbaiki pencapaian materi suggestion .
Kontributor: Noer Indahyati, S.Pd., M.Pd.B.I
Editor: Viera Budyariesqa, M.Pd.
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What's Working in Education
4Cs of 21st Century Learning
Key competencies can be identified on the basis that they make a measurable contribution to educational attainment, relationships, employment, and health and well-being outcomes Learning and innovation skills are increasingly recognized as those that distinguish students who are prepared for more complex life and work environments in the 21st century from those who are not. A focus on the 4C’s of 21st Century Learning: Critical Thinking , Communication , Collaboration , and Creativity and Innovation are essential to prepare students for the future.
Critical thinking in the 21st century is described as the ability to design and manage projects, solve problems, and make effective decisions using a variety of tools and resources. It highlights the challenge of designing educational experiences that address local issues and real-world problems for which there may be no clear answer. Thinking critically requires students to acquire, process, interpret, rationalize, and critically analyze large volumes of often conflicting information to the point of making an informed decision and taking action in a timely fashion.
Digital tools and resources can support the process of critical thinking, particularly when used to create authentic and relevant learning experiences that allow students to discover, create, and use new knowledge. The knowledge and digital era is demanding people with higher order thinking skills: the ability to think logically, and to solve ill-defined problems by identifying and describing the problem, critically analyzing the information available or creating the knowledge required, framing and testing various hypotheses, formulating creative solutions, and taking action.
Communication in a 21st century context refers not only to the ability to communicate effectively, orally, in writing, and with a variety of digital tools but also to listening skills. Many international frameworks include information and digital literacy in the concept of communication (e.g., the British Columbia Ministry of Education’s Cross-Curricular Competencies ). Other frameworks, such as P21 , have distinct information, media, and technology skills. Some jurisdictions (e.g., England, Norway) include information and communications technology (ICT) skills with literacy and numeracy as foundational curriculum. Digital tools and resources represent a new realm of communications interaction in which the ability to navigate successfully is essential for success in the 21st century. Each tool has its own rhetoric (e.g., an effective blog post is different from an effective tweet or persuasive essay). The issue is not just learning to use new communication tools but mastering many forms of rhetoric – a more challenging task.
Collaboration in a 21st century context requires the ability to work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, use social networking skills, and demonstrate empathy in working with diverse others. Collaboration also requires students to develop collective intelligence and to co-construct meaning, becoming creators of content as well as consumers. New skills and knowledge are necessary to enable team members to collaborate digitally and contribute to the collective knowledge base, whether working remotely or in a shared physical space.
Creativity and Innovation
Many studies demonstrate the importance of creativity for social development, the ability to compete in business, and the ability to generate economic growth. PISA 2012 results note the connection between high academic achievement, problem solving, and creativity. Creativity is often described as the pursuit of new ideas, concepts, or products that meet a need in the world. Innovation contains elements of creativity and is often described as the realization of a new idea to make a useful contribution to a particular field.
Creativity includes concepts of economic and social entrepreneurialism and leadership for action. Creativity in schools gives students experiences with situations in which there is no known answer, where there are multiple solutions, where the tension of ambiguity is appreciated as fertile ground, and where imagination is honoured over rote knowledge.
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Critical thinking; Creativity; Collaboration; Communication. These four skills are essential for modern students to succeed in school and
In 21st century learning, students have almost unlimited access to information. On the other hand, many students lack the skills to benefit.
The goals are based on 4C skills namely, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative (Kembara et al., 2018; Maryani &
The 4 C's of Education are Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. These four pillars are not only important in the workplace but
the teachers still had challenges in teaching critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills. There was no challenge in teaching creativity skill
A. Tujuan Pembelajaran. Setelah mengikuti serangkaian kegiatan pembelajaran, peserta didik dapat: 1) Mendengarkan atau membaca ungkapan atau tutur kata dari
NAEA recognizes that the 4C's – Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity - are fundamental to visual arts education.
Keterampilan tersebut dikenal dengan istilah 4C Pembelajaran Abad 21: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, dan communication.
Peningkatan 4C (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication) pada Materi Suggestion Melalui PBL (Problem Based Learning).
A focus on the 4C's of 21st Century Learning: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and Innovation are essential to prepare