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.
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 helpothersthink 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 thenextskill, 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 canlearnhow 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 becomemotivatedto share that creativity with others.
Just like with critical thinking, that makes creativity contagious.
One student creates an interesting or innovativesolution 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.
Butthat’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.
Collaborationis the practice of working together to achieve a common goal.
Collaborationis 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.
Practicingcollaboration and teamworkhelps 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 almostnoneof 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.
Communicationis 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.