ArticlePDF Available

Exploring the Pedagogical Meaning and Implications of the 4Cs " Super Skills " for the 21 st Century through Bruner's 5E Lenses of Knowledge Construction to Improve Pedagogies of the New Learning Paradigm

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

As economies increasingly globalize and digital technologies assume ubiquitous presence and functional utility in peoples' lives outside educational contexts, there is an increasing realization among pedagogues that education designed to equip graduates of the Digital Economy requires the teaching of new skills rather than the traditional core subjects. This realization has led to the emergence of what is called the New Learning Paradigm which postulates that students now need to be taught the skills most in demand in the 21st century. Those skills are epitomized in what The Partnership for 21st Century Skills calls the Framework for 21st Century Skills. Keys among those skills are what The Partnership characterizes as the 4Cs super skills.. What are those skills? Why are they essential for successful learning, teaching, assessment, working and living in today's Digital Economy? How do they align with the full set of 21 st century skills? What are the pedagogical implications of these 4Cs super skills? This paper answers these questions in four steps. Firstly, it articulates the 4Cs super skills. Secondly, it explains the " Rainbow " framework of the full set of essential 21 st century skills as conceptualized by The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills. Thirdly, it outlines Bruner's 5E Instructional Model and explains how it provides an excellent lens through which to approach learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum development for the 4Cs super skills in Kivunja's New Learning Paradigm.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Creative Education, 2015, 6, 224-239
Published Online February 2015 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2015.62021
How to cite this paper: Kivunja, C. (2015). Exploring the Pedagogical Meaning and Implications of the 4Cs “Super Skills” for
the 21st Century through Bruner’s 5E Lenses of Knowledge Construction to Improve Pedagogies of the New Learning Para-
digm. Creative Education, 6, 224-239. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2015.62021
Exploring the Pedagogical Meaning and
Implications of the 4Cs “Super Skillsfor the
21st Century through Bruners 5E Lenses of
Knowledge Construction to Improve
Pedagogies of the New Learning Paradigm
Charles Kivunja
School of Education, The University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Email: ckivunja@une.edu.au
Received 23 January 2015; accepted 12 February 2015; published 17 February 2015
Copyright © 2015 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract
As economies increasingly globalize and digital technologies assume ubiquitous presence and
functional utility in peopleslives outside educational contexts, there is an increasing realization
among pedagogues that education designed to equip graduates of the Digital Economy requires
the teaching of new skills rather than the traditional core subjects. This realization has led to the
emergence of what is called the New Learning Paradigm which postulates that students now need
to be taught the skills most in demand in the 21st century. Those skills are epitomized in what The
Partnership for 21st Century Skills calls the Framework for 21st Century Skills. Keys among those
skills are what The Partnership characterizes as the 4Cs super skills.. What are those skills? Why
are they essential for successful learning, teaching, assessment, working and living in todays Dig-
ital Economy? How do they align with the full set of 21st century skills? What are the pedagogical
implications of these 4Cs super skills? This paper answers these questions in four steps. Firstly, it
articulates the 4Cs super skills. Secondly, it explains the Rainbow” framework of the full set of
essential 21st century skills as conceptualized by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Thirdly, it
outlines Bruner’s 5E Instructional Model and explains how it provides an excellent lens through
which to approach learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum development for the 4Cs super
skills in Kivunja’s New Learning Paradigm.
Keywords
New Learning Paradigm, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 4Cs Super Skills, Bruners 5E
C. Kivunja
225
Instructional Model, Rainbow of 21st Century Skills
1. Which Are the 4Cs Super Skills and Why Are They Essential for Success in the
Digital Economy?
In declaring its commitment to American studentssuccess in Preparing Americas Students for College and
Career, the Consortium for Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC, 2015) in Washington DC reiterates very well
the assertion of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2015a) as to what the 4Cs super skills are:
Todays students are moving beyond the basics and are embracing the 4 Cs—“super skillsfor the 21st
Century: Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration. [These] 21st Century Skills [need to
be] infused in the Common Core Standards which are the end goals of the Career and College Ready Stan-
dards. (SBAC, 2015: p. 5)
Saxena (2015) agrees when she says, “These…4Cs that are the super skills for the 21st century…help develop
the qualities that students need to possess in the 21st century for success in college, careers and citizenship” (p.
1). These 4Cs super skills were identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2015b) as the skills
that American students need to graduate with, in addition to the traditional skills, to effectively contribute to the
progress and prosperity of America. The Partnership articulated this very well in their mission statement when
they said:
Every child in the U.S. needs 21st century knowledge and skills to succeed as effective citizens, workers
and leaders. This can be accomplished by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs.… To successfully face rigorous higher
education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce, U.S. schools must align
classroom environments with real world environments by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs. The 3Rs include: Eng-
lish, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics;
arts; history; and geography. The 4Cs include: critical thinking and problem solving; communication; col-
laboration; and creativity and innovation. As the 3Rs serve as an umbrella for other subjects and core con-
tent, the 4Cs are a shorthand for all the skills needed for success in college, career, and life. (P21, 2015a: pp.
1-2)
Following this strong assertion, the Partnership (P21, 2015c) elevated the status of these skills to “the 4Cs
super skillsfor the 21st century” (p. 1). These are very strong assertions and they need to be taken seriously
because of their sourceThe Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an
organization that was formed in 2002 in the USA out of concern that American education was failing graduates
because they were graduating without the skills needed to be productive citizens in the Digital Economy. In par-
ticular, there was the realization that whereas American society outside education had embraced technology,
educational institutions were lagging behind. For example in a comprehensive study that involved some 7685
young people ranging in age from 13 to 20 years and from twelve countries, Tapscott (2009) concluded that
“students wont be prepared for the world of today unless schools use technology to implement real change to their
model of education” (p. 144). Other leaders in the field also argued that the reliance on the orthodox 3Rs of the
Industrial Age without infusing technology was failing American children and was one of the major reasons why
American teens were leaving college in record numbers. For example, Prensky (2001) argued that schooling or-
ganized on the traditional model was the reason for “a massive dropout problem in many high schools in the
USA” (p. 122). This line of argument was sustained by other leaders in the field such as Kelly, McCain and
Jukes (2009) who proposed that:
Whats wrong is that the world has changed and schools have not. Capitalizing on the astounding power of
new electronic tools, the world outside education has moved beyond the idea of mass production that was
the hallmark of Taylors assembly-line approach to life. The sudden shift to the online digital world has
rendered that experience irrelevant to modern students. (p. 18)
Equally unequivocal was McNierney (2004) who proposed that it was necessary for teacher educators to
“model instructional methods which help future teachers understand that technology-based instruction is no
C. Kivunja
226
longer an option. It is a requirement” (p. 65). Other giants in the field added to an understanding of this need to
infuse technology into pedagogy with assertions such as:
Americas high schools are obsolete.… By obsolete I mean that our high schools, even when theyre working
exactly as designed, cannot teach our kids what they need to know today. Training the workforce of to-
morrow with the high school of today is like trying to teach kids about todays computers on a 50-year-old
mainframe. Its the wrong tool for the times. (Gates, 2005)
These arguments, powerful as they were, were really not new since we know that in the mid 19th century John
Dewey (1859-1952) said “If we teach todays students as we taught yesterdays, we rob them of tomorrow”
(Randall, 1953: p. 9). But these were nevertheless valid and forceful propositions and so, a number of high po-
wered individuals representing powerful public and private organizations such as Apple Computer Inc., Micro-
soft Corporation, USA Department of Education, Dell Computer Corporation, America Online Line Time
Warner Inc., Consortium for School Networking, State Educational Technology Directors Association, the In-
ternational Society for Technology in Education, and the National Education Association, (P21, 2014) joined
hands in an effort to identify how the gap between the knowledge and skills taught at school and the knowledge
and skills in demand in typical 21st century society could be bridged. That joint effort gave birth to The Partnership
for 21st Century Skills. It was set up with the onerous mission to: “Serve as a catalyst to position 21st century
readiness at the center of US K12 education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business,
community and government leaders” (P21, 2008: p. 4). The Chair of The Partnership articulated its mission quite
well when he said that their primary aim was to answer “a question of paramount importance to Americas edu-
cators, employers, parents and the public, how can we best prepare students to succeed in the 21st century? (P21,
2015a: p. 2). The search for answers to this question led The Partnership to develop the set of skills that todays
graduates need to master so as to be able to engage with the demands of the Digital Economy. Kivunja (2014a)
calls the move to these skills the shift to “the new learning paradigm” (p. 85) which he defines as:
The new philosophical approach to pedagogy which posits that for education to truly meet the moral pur-
pose of education and help produce citizens who can live and work productively in increasingly dynami-
cally complex societies (Fullan, 2000: p. 4), learning, teaching, assessment and curricula need to equip
graduates with the skills that will enable them to contribute effectively to productive capacities of the 21st
century economy. (Kivunja, 2015a: p. 5)
He argues that the new learning paradigm is “the vision for studentssuccess in the new global economy”
(Kivunja, 2014b: p. 40).
Several bloggers have also endorsed the importance of the 4Cs. For example, Gerald (2015) refers to “the
concept of 4Cs as the core of teaching and learning process in 21st century education…which take center stage in
schools and transform learning opportunities for all kids and is important for enrollment into a good university,
career and success in todays world” (p. 1 & 8). Lin (2014) sets out “to embrace and emphasize the importance
of 4Csin 21st century education” (p. 2). In her blog, Caroline Lippl (2013) introduces the discussion of the 4Cs
of 21st century skills quite well when she says:
Education used to be about the three Rs, but Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic arent the only skills todays
students need to be successful.… Students now need to be able to show that they can be Collaborators,
Communicators, Creators, and Critical Thinkers. These skills make up the four Cs of 21st Century learning.
(p. 1)
She then synthesizes the 4Cs as illustrated in Figure 1. Although the figure depicts each of the 4Cs as a dis-
tinct layer of knowledge construction for descriptive purposes, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21,
2015a) views all the 4Cs as interdependent and interrelated in presenting them as “the 4Cs—‘super skillsfor
the 21st century” (p. 1) and the “shorthand for all the skills needed for success in college, career and life” (P21,
2015a: p. 2). The discussion in the following subsections is presented along Lippl’s (2013) design represented in
Figure 1, taking each of the 4Cs in turn.
1.1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
There is widespread consensus around the importance of critical thinking as an educational objective (See for
example, Deakin, 2014; Facione, 2011; Kompf & Bond, 2001; Kuhn, 2005; MCEETYA, 2008; Miller, 1990;
C. Kivunja
227
Source: Lippl, C. (2013: p. 2).
Figure 1. The 4Cs super skills.
Van-Gelder, 2001). For example when the Council of all Australian Education Ministers met in Melbourne in
December 2008, their meeting produced what is referred to as the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals
for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008), in which the ministers expressed consensus on the common goal for
the Australian curriculum to create opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills among students.
However, in spite of such a high confluence of supporting views, there is little agreement over the meaning of
critical thinking. In recognition of this conundrum Kivunja (2015d) asserts:
Critical thinking has been defined in many different ways, some as simple as thinking which has a purpose
and examining the thinking of others to improve our own (University of Sydney, 2014: p. 1); equally
simple as, a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs (Mulnix, 2010: p. 471). (p. 431)
Generally, critical thinking refers to an individuals ability to use a number of his or her general cognitive
processing skills which fall into Bloom’s (1956) high-order thinking levels of analyzing, evaluating and con-
structing new ideas or creating. This rather general definition aligns well with that of the Californian National
Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking which defines critical thinking as “the intellectually disciplined
process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating informa-
tion gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide
to belief and action” (NCECT, 2014: n.p.).
Critical thinking is a super skill in the 21st century “because it enables students to think deeply and to solve non-
familiar problems in different ways” (Kivunja, 2015d: p. 433). This is very important because we know that the
21st century economy driven by digital technologies is typified by ever changing information which requires
participants to have the capacity to manage and respond well to unfamiliar problems. It helps students to be open-
minded, to question, not to take anything for granted and to think and reason through issues in a rational manner
(Kompf & Bond, 2001). It is a super skill because, as highlighted by Kivunja (2014b), it equips graduates with
“the skills that will enable them to be productive members in the Knowledge Economy, function effectively and
responsibly and solve problems in ways that are sensitive and caring for others, society, the environment and the
world as a whole” (p. 41). Facione (2011) puts it well when he asserts that critical thinking is essential for har-
monious human society. Trilling and Fadel (2009) agree when they propose that training in critical thinking
enables graduates to reason effectively, to engage in system thinking, develops their ability to make rational
judgments and decisions, and enhances their ability to solve problems. These leaders in the field emphasize:
“Critical thinking and problem solving are considered by many to be the new basics of 21st century learning”
(Trilling & Fadel, 2009: p. 50). The Partnership (P21, 2011) says that critical thinking and problem solving are
keys among the sets of skills that “separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work
environments in todays world and those who are not” (p. 2). The Partnership further highlight the importance of
critical thinking when they assert that critical thinking involves “looking at problems in a new way, linking
learning across subjects & disciplines” (P21, 2015b: p. 1).
C. Kivunja
228
1.2. Communication
As illustrated in Lippl’s (2013) Figure 1 presented earlier, communication is about understanding and sharing
ideas. Piascik (2015) agrees and adds it involves “sharing thoughts, questions, ideas and solutions” (p. 1). Effec-
tive communication has always been an essential skill for success in business, family relationships and all walks
of life. However, the instantaneous mix of people of different cultures that has been enabled by 21st century in-
formation, media and digital technologies has made the need for effective communication more apparent and
more vital than in previous generations. Whereas in the Industrial Age emphasis was on correct speech, fluency
in reading, and accuracy in writing, the advent of information and digital technologies of the 21st century has
brought with it new dimensions which call for a deeper and broader set of communication skills for graduates to
be able to be effective participants in the Communication and Information Age, where there is much greater di-
versity of cultures. As The Partnership for 21st Century (P21, 2014) puts it, “Communication skills have always
been valued in the workplace and in public life. But in the 21st century, these skills have been transformed and are
even more important today” (p. 13).
Pedagogy abounds with research-based evidence indicating that interactional and transactional communication
skills are essential for studentssuccess, not only in the classroom but also in life outside school after graduation.
(Coulson, 2006; Cruickshank & Kennedy, 1986; Muijs & Reynolds, 2011; Wragg, 1984). In The World Beyond
the Classroom, Gerald (2015) asserts that communication is a super skill in the world because it is through
communication that:
Thoughts, questions, ideas and solutions are shared. In todays competitive world, communication skills in
careers especially in business oriented careers are the most sought after quality of an educated person. Thus,
being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills. (pp. 10-11)
Trilling and Fadel (2009) explain well what effective communication in the 21st century requires of graduates
and why it is an essential skill. They say that graduates should be able to:
Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills, listen ef-
fectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions, use communication to
inform, instruct, motivate and persuade, utilize multiple media and technologies, communicate effectively
in diverse environments. (Trilling & Fadel, 2009: p. 55)
A close look at these requirements quickly highlights why communication skills are among the 4Cs super
skills because it is hard to imagine how anyone could effectively participate in the workplace or in any mea-
ningful relationship without practising these skills in some form of verbal communication, non-verbal commu-
nication, written communication, audio communication, visual communication, or digital communication. As
shown in the above quote, effective communication is about getting your desired message across effectively to
your target audience; and this requires training so that graduates gain the communication skills they need to utilize
in the workplace after school. It is therefore essential that graduates be taught how to plan their communication
and to make sure that they communicate clearly, concisely, concretely, coherently, correctly, completely, and
courteously (Baird & Stull, 1992: p. 16).
1.3. Collaboration
In the Good Practice Guide for the Bachelor of Laws at Flinders University (in Australia) “commissioned by the
Law Associate Deans Network to support the implementation of the Threshold Learning Outcome 5: Commu-
nication and collaboration” (Handsley, 2011: p. 1) the Guide, following Kift, Israel and Field (2010), defines
collaboration skills as “the skills of teamwork, working in groups, and working cooperatively with others”
(Handsley, 2011: p. 1). Thus collaboration is important whenever teamwork, group work and cooperation are
involved. It is noteworthy, as well articulated by Eggen and Kauchak (2012), that in pedagogical practice these
three elements of collaboration are not identical. However, as explained by Brady (2006) they all involve the
sharing of “social and cultural experiences” (p. 9) among participants. When applied effectively, collaboration
can have significant positive effects on the people involved as was experienced, for instance, at William Clarke
College in New South Wales (Australia), where teachers who taught collaboratively as a pair in one class in
which they organized the students to work collaboratively achieved some very impressive results for both teach-
ers and their students (Raphael, 2015). Impressive results about the power of collaboration to improve pedagog-
C. Kivunja
229
ical practices, student management and professional collaboration were also found by Mary Brownell, Allyson
Adams, Paul Sindelar and Nancy Waldron at the University of Florida and Stephanie Vanhover (2006) at the
University of Virginia in their joint study on learning from collaboration. Many other leaders in this filed, in-
cluding Kagan (1994), Johnson and Johnson (2009), Killen (2013) strongly endorse the power of collaboration
to improve efficiency not only in teaching and learning but also in all walks of life after school. Thus, given the
extent to which digital technologies have accentuated the confluence of social and cultural experiences among
people, not only in one workplace but nationally and internationally, it is easy to appreciate why The Partnership
for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2015a) included collaboration as one of the essential 4Cs super skills for successful
learning and increased productivity in real work environments in the 21st century.
1.4. Creating and Innovating
The terms creativity and innovation are often used to refer to the conscious exploitation of “new ideas, or new
uses of ideas, to add social or economic value” (IBSA, 2009: p.1). The Partnership for 21st Century (P21, 2007)
says that “in todays world of global competition and task automation, innovative capacity and a creative spirit
are fast becoming requirements for personal and professional success” (p. 15). The Partnership (P21, 2014) em-
phasizes that in todays economy fuelled by information and driven by digital technologies “creativity and in-
novation are key drivers in the Global Economy” (p. 24). As a matter of fact, the importance of creativity and
innovation to be a foundation for the essence of survival of humans was well articulated by other leaders in the
field such as De Bono (1995) who saidThere is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of
all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns” (p. 13).
It is this emphasis on the vital role of creativity and innovation in the success of human endeavors that inspired
The Partnership (P21) to characterize creativity and innovation as one of the 4Cs super skills essential for suc-
cess in modern living. And it is important that this super skill be taught well because it is very complex involv-
ing, according Karlyn Adams (2006) the confluence of three components:
Knowledge: All the relevant understanding an individual brings to bear on a creative effort.
Creative Thinking: Relates to how people approach problems and depends on personality and thinking/
working style.
Motivation: Motivation is generally accepted as key to creative production, and the most important motiva-
tors are intrinsic passion and interest in the work itself. (Adams, 2006: p. 4)
The complexity of this super C skill is highlighted further by Teresa Amabile who explains that creativity in-
volves some five complicated processes, namely, being able to disagree with others and yet feel comfortable
about it, trying out solutions that are different from current ones, integrating knowledge gained from different
fields, managing and solving difficult problems, and the ability to recognize a problematic situation, step away
for a while looking for a solution, and return later with a potential solution (Amabile, 1998).
2. How Do the 4Cs Align with the Full Set of 21st Century Skills of the New Learning
Paradigm?
The 4Cs super skills are not the only skills needed for successful study, work and living in the 21st century. As
well explained by Kivunja (2014a) they are part of what he calls “the New Learning Paradigm” (Kivunja, 2014a:
pp. 84-86) explained below.
2.1. The New Learning Paradigm
Kivunja (2014a) postulated that “Whereas pre-21st century learning paradigms catered reasonably well for the
pursuit of the moral purpose of education in turning out school leavers with specialized skills that were applicable
in highly compartmentalized and specialized Industrial Age economies, 21st century skills require a new para-
digm” (p. 81).Teaching our students so that they become well-equipped with the 21st century skills is the new
learning paradigm” (p. 85). To extend an understanding of the meaning of the New Learning Paradigm Kivuja
(2015a) explains that:
The New Learning Paradigm is the new philosophical approach to pedagogy which posits that for educa-
tion to truly meet “the moral purpose of education and help produce citizens who can live and work pro-
ductively in increasingly dynamically complex societies” (Fullan, 2000: p. 4), learning, teaching, assess-
C. Kivunja
230
ment and curricula need to equip graduates with the skills that will enable them to contribute effectively to
productive capacities of the 21st century economy. These are the skills demanded by employers across all
sectors of modern economies. (p. 55, in Press)
The full set of those skills is well articulated by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2008) in what
they call the Rainbowor Framework for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2011) outlined below.
2.2. The Rainbow or Framework for 21st Century Skills
As explained earlier (see Section 1), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an organization that was formed
in 2002 to find ways and make recommendations for how technology could be infused in all aspects of educa-
tion throughout the USA at both primary and secondary levels (P21, 2008). The Partnership comprises leaders
from education, (such as the National Education Association), business, (such as Apple Computer Inc., Dell
Computer and Microsoft Corporations), and community and government institutions, (such as USA Department
of Education), that play key roles in education and in the development and use of modern technologies, particu-
larly digital technologies, in education (P21, 2014). When The Partnership met in Washington DC in 2002 they
came up with a vision for moving USA education system to the digital world and epitomized it in what they
called the Rainbow or Framework for 21st Century Skills. In their words:
The Framework presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus
on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies)
with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in
the 21st century and beyond. (P21, 2015b: p. 1)
Their vision articulated four sets of skills representing 21st student outcomes and four 21st century learning
support systems which The Partnership agreed on as those that would equip graduates from American schools
with the skills essential for their success as productive members of the workforce in the Information Age. They
articulated the four sets of skills as the traditional Core Subjects skills, the Life and Career skills, the Learning
and Innovations skills as well as the Information, Media and Technology skills, supported by four systems, (P21,
2011). The Partnership summarized the four sets of skills and the four support systems in a graphic that they
called the “Rainbowor Framework for 21st Century Skills or Learning (P21, 2015b: p. 1) which is illustrated in
Figure 2.
The Partnership says, and as shown in the Figure 2,The key elements of 21st century learning are
represented in the graphicThe graphic represents both 21st century student outcomes (as represented by the
arches of the rainbow) and 21st century learning support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom). Thus,
in addition to the four sets of 21st century student outcomes for the necessary skills delineated above, there are four
sets of 21st century Support Systems shown in Figure 2 (as the pools at the bottom) categorized by The Part-
nership as Standards and assessments, Curriculum and instruction, Professional development and Learning en-
vironments. Not detailed in the Rainbow (Figure 2) but important to point out are what The Partnership refers to
as the five Interdisciplinary 21st Century Themes, which must be interwoven with the Core Subjects in preparing
students for effective participation in the Knowledge Age economy. They delineated those five themes as,
“Global awareness, Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, Civic literacy, Health literacy,
and Environmental literacy” (P21, 2015d: p. 1). A detailed discussion of what the Core Subjects are, the four
Support Systems and the five Interdisciplinary Themes is given in Kivunja (2015a, in Press). The skills that
comprise the Life and Career set were discussed in detail by Kivunja (2015b), those in the Learning and Innova-
tions skills were unpacked in Kivunja (2014b) and those that comprise the Information, Media and Digital
Technologies skills were elucidated in Kivunja (2015c). Thus, the 4Cs are part of the full cohort of 21st century
skills as illustrated in Figure 2. As said earlier, “Teaching our students so that they become well-equipped with
the 21st century skills is the New Learning Paradigm” (Kivunja, 2014a: p. 85).
3. What Are the Pedagogical Implications of the 4Cs Super Skills?
As illustrated in Figure 2, the 4Cs super skills sit right at the apex of the Rainbow or Framework for 21st Cen-
tury Skills. And as discussed in Section 1 above, they are essential for success of our students on their graduation
into the world of real work and life. In view of their significance to humans in all walks of life it is crucial, for
the achievement of “the moral purpose of education” (Fullan, 2000: p. 4), that we pedagogues review how we
C. Kivunja
231
Figure 2. The rainbow or framework of 21st century skills (source: P21, 2015b).
can shift in our cultural and cognitive modes so as to transition our pedagogical structural, cultural and organiza-
tional dynamics (Kivunja & Power, 2006) to ensure that our graduates will be well equipped in these 4Cs super
skills by the time they graduate to take up productive roles in the 21st century workplace. This section addresses
the question: How can the 4Cs super skills be taught, learnt and assessed effectively, particularly using a well
proven model such as Bruners 5E Instructional Model? Of course there are many excellent instructional models
(e.g. Bloom, 1956; de Bono, 1956; Gardner, 1983; Vygotsky, 1978), but Bruners model is selected here for il-
lustrative purposes because it appears to capture very well the important contributions of these other giants in the
field, particularly when it comes to providing a scaffold that facilitates studentsactive construction of knowledge.
But, admittedly, other models could also offer excellent material for further illustration with regard to the teaching
of the 4Cs super skills. So, lets start by highlighting what is known in pedagogy as Bruners 5E Instructional
Model (Kivunja, 2015d) (Note the common use of 5E rather than 5Es for this model).
3.1. Bruners 5E Instructional Model
What is popularly referred to as Bruners 5E Instructional Model is a learning cycle with a very interesting his-
tory. The model has its origin in science rather than pedagogy. It is the brainchild of a leader in the biological
sciences community Dr. Rodger W. Bybee (Bybee et al., 2006) who, while executive director at the Colorado
Springs Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) Educational Centre, developed it in collaboration with six
of his colleagues. Bybee and his team argued that if we could get learners to engage, explore, explain, elaborate,
and evaluate as they learn, these processes would enable them to maximize their participation in active learning
and lead to deep (Entwistle, 2000; Flewelling & Higginson, 2002) rather than surface learning (Lublin, 2003).
Because each of these five learning processes starts with the letter [e], the model was accordingly called the 5E
Instructional Model.
The huge success of this model when applied in teaching science attracted scholars outside science of whom
Jerome Seymour Bruner (1966) was the pedagogical vanguard. In The Process of Education Bruner (1960) argued
that the purpose of education was not simply to transmit knowledge but mainly to facilitate the process of active
cognition and the development of problem solving skills among learners, which the learners could then apply in
similar or new situations to gain new knowledge, through active learning. Bruner (1961) further proposed the
concept of discovery learning, which, like Vygotsky (1929) postulated that students learn through constructing
knowledge by themselves and argued that this constructivist approach was maximized if students were scaffolded
Learning and
Innovation Skills 4Cs
Critical thinking · Communication
Collaboration · Creativity
Life and
Career Skills
Information,
Media, and
Technology
Skills
Core Subjects 3Rs
and 21
st
Century Themes
Standards and
Assessments
Curriculum and Instruction
Professional Development
Learning Environments
C. Kivunja
232
and given opportunity to discover meaning by themselves through engagement, exploration, explanation, elabo-
ration and evaluation. Bruner then made this, 5Es based constructivist learning even more popular in pedagogy by
suggesting that with proper “scaffolding” (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976) the learners could use the 5Es to “con-
centrate on the difficult skillsin the process of acquiring knowledge” (Bruner, 1978: p. 19). Thus, the 5E In-
structional Model became very popular in pedagogy because Bruner showed how it could be used to facilitate
learning as conceptualized by several leading scholars in the field (including himself), through active learning
(Piaget, 1954), constructivist learning (Vygotsky, 1929), discovery learning (Bruner, 1961) and scaffolding
(Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976). As a result, while acknowledging the origin of this model in the biological
sciences, it is fair to say that Bruner was at the forefront of its understanding and application in pedagogy. As it is
one of the well-known instructional models in education, and one that reflects the important contributions to
pedagogy by the vast majority of experts in the field, including “aspects of the behaviourist and cognitivism
models” (Jobrack, 2013: p. 5), it makes good sense to use it here to illustrate how we could teach the 4Cs super
skills in todays classrooms and lecture theatres. As said earlier, this does not mean that other models could not be
used.
3.2. Utilizing Bruners 5E Lenses to Teach the 4Cs Super Skills
For brevity, the illustration of how each of Bruners 5Es could be used to teach each of the 4Cs is summarized in
the following five tables, respectively. The examples are listed against the relevant Cs but with imagination,
planning and differences in learning stages the examples could be used for multiple Cs.
3.2.1. Utilizing the Engagement Lens to Teach the 4Cs
The Engage lens of Bruners 5Es model focuses on maximizing students participation in active learning
through actively engaging with the learning tasks, ideas or concepts (Bruner, 1966). Table 1 summarizes exam-
ples that could be used to maximize learnersengagement with each of the 4Cs super skills.
3.2.2. Utilizing the Exploration Lens to Teach the 4Cs
The Explore lens focuses on providing scaffolding to students and then letting them venture into new areas with
you scaffolding and guiding their explorations. Table 2 illustrates some examples of activities which can be
given to students to offer them opportunities to explore what they are learning.
3.2.3. Utilizing the Explanation Lens to Teach the 4Cs
The Explanation lens focuses on information that is new or that students are unlikely to find by themselves. It
focuses on elucidation of ideas and concepts and interpretation that extends studentsunderstanding to new
knowledge frontiers. It zeroes in on “concerns that students might miss or experience cognitive overload or even
develop misconceptions” (Jobrack, 2013: p. 7) if left on their own. Table 3 illustrates studentsactivities in-
volving explanation.
3.2.4. Utilizing the Elaboration Lens to Teach the 4Cs
The Elaboration lens is also called the Extend lens (Jobrack, 2013: p. 8). It is used to give students the opportu-
nity to extend their cognitive experiences into areas of increasing complexity. It allows students to connect cur-
rent schema to new learning and to focus deeper so as to be able to elaborate on what they have already learnt or
on new knowledge discovered. Reigeluth (1999) says that this lens can be used by the teacher to help students
focus on new and more complicated concepts, and asking students to expand and elaborate on them. Students
activities involving elaboration are illustrated in Table 4.
3.2.5. Utilizing the Evaluation Lens to Teach the 4Cs
The Evaluation lens can be use to give students the opportunity to focus on their current performance to deter-
mine how they are achieving the learning outcomes or not, and what they can do to improve their achievement.
So, it can be a very good lens for studentsself-assessment and formative assessment. It can also be an excellent
lens for summative assessment to inform the teacher on strategies and planning needed to improve teaching,
learning and assessment, and to make changes as informed by the Evaluation lens (Anderson, 2003). Examples
of studentsactivities utilizing the evaluation lens are shown in Table 5.
C. Kivunja
233
Table 1. Teaching the 4Cs super skills through Bruners E1: Engagement Lens.
4C super skill Examples of Engagement student activities
Critical thinking and
problem solving
Tell how and why previous learning is relevant to the present topic.
Connect your to new learning
Agree or disagree over an issue and give reasons for their position.
Conduct a debate to defend your position or stance about an environmental issue in the community
Use Internet resources to illustrate and communicate original ideas and stories
Communicating
Discuss why previous knowledge is essential for current learning
Actively/attentively listen to each others point of view
Ask questions on the topic
Illustrate and communicate you original ideas using digital technologies.
Communicate information which helps fellow students to troubleshoot a new software to increase its
efficiency
Collaborating
Work as a team to complete K-W-H-L chart
K: What each one knows
W; What each team member wants to know
H: How each member will find relevant data
L: What each team member will have learnt
Working in teams of 5 search the Web for data and discuss how it relates to the topic
Engage in learning activities with students in overseas countries
Creating and
innovating
Students engage in inquisitive activities
Respond to what iftype of questions
Come up with an answer different to the one given
Design your own questions for the class to answer
Work individually or in a team and use digital tools to compose a digital story
Source: Application of Bruner (1960, 1961, 1966; NETS, 2007) to personal professional practice over 30 years as synthesized in Kivunja (2015d).
Table 2. Teaching the 4Cs super skills through Bruners E2: Exploration Lens.
4C super skill Examples of Exploration student activities
Critical thinking and
problem solving
Students venture into new areas of research
Given time and opportunity for metacognition
Attempt new experiments to discover new reactions and results
Conduct Internet searchers and use the data to explore a particular life cycle
Conduct a study of a nature strip
Go on a virtual excursion
Go on a study field
Communicating
Talk about relationships among ideas, concepts and themes
Discuss misperceptions and correct misconceptions
Probe for deeper understanding
Conduct a whole-class discussion on a controversial topic
Watch a video clip and discuss message it conveys
Discuss the safe use of the Internet
Collaborating
Work in teams to study a new topic
Given opportunity to monitor and scaffold each other
Use the Internet to form peer learning networks with classmates.
Use the Internet to form virtual learning communities using Google Circles tools
Complete assessment tasks with learners in different countries, connected by the Internet
Work as a team to conduct a science experiment
Creating and
innovating
Take time to reflect and come up with a new idea.
Come up with a different opinion about what has been covered previously.
Use new Urls to find new learning resources and use them in class activities
Download useful resources from YouTube and use them to design something new
Create a curriculum-specific simulation that will encourage your peers to practise critical thinking
Source: Application of Bruner (1960, 1961, 1966; NETS, 2007) to personal professional practice over 30 years as synthesized in Kivunja (2015d).
C. Kivunja
234
Table 3. Teaching the 4Cs super skills through Bruners E3: Explanation Lens.
4C super skill Examples of Explanation student activities
Critical thinking
and problem
solving
Demonstrate how something works
Set up an experiment and explain to the class how it works
Explain how past learning links to new knowledge
Look for and explain patterns in data
Use a Venn graphic organizer to explain the differences and commonalities in data
Apply previous knowledge to resolve a current software problem
Communicating
Explain to the teacher personal understanding of an idea, concept, or issue
Reinforce, support or challenge what has been said
Conduct an interview and report the outcome to the class or topic
Describe the results of an experiment
Present a report to the class of a field trip.
Explain the meaning of a plot in the story they have just read
Describe and illustrate a concept using a model
Collaborating
Conduct a Round-Robin of Four-Ways-Interviews and then discuss among your team the ideas generated by the interviews
Question each other and probe each others
contribution to develop a deeper and fuller explanation and understanding
Challenge each others contribution to the team by asking them to explain further
Use the Think-Pair-Square cooperative learning structure to explain a topic to your team-members
Encourage equal participation in explaining something new
Creating and
innovating
Link past event to new learning occurrences
Develop a hypothesis to be tested
Come up with a new theory to replace an existing one
Create a glossary of terms from the topic learnt and explain them to the class
Compose a narrative and explain it
Use digital-imaging technology to create a graphic to be used in a digital presentation.
Source: Application of Bruner (1960, 1961, 1966; NETS, 2007) to personal professional practice over 30 years as synthesized in Kivunja (2015d).
Table 4. Teaching the 4Cs super skills through Bruners E4: Elaboration Lens.
4C super skill
Critical thinking
and problem
solving
Look for deeper meaning of concepts they are introduced to
Search the Internet for further points connected to or are relevant to what is being learnt
Challenge current understanding
Questioning and correct misperceptions
Apply what is taught to solve new problems
Apply theory to real-life experiences
Communicating
Talk more about a topic that has been discussed previously
Practise using formal language correctly
Discuss extension of a concept
Describe and demonstrate a process
Share your understanding of how a digital learning game helps learning
Create a media-rich presentation and share it with other students
Collaborating
Challenge pears in a team to tell more
Work in a team to broaden what is being learnt
Share understandings of what has been learnt
Work together to solve a problem.
Publish to all members of your virtual community a problem you have encountered when learning and seek their assistance
Creating and
innovating
Raise new issues for discussion
Apply skills learn to new contexts
Extend current learning to new areas
Apply knowledge learnt in one Key Learning Area (KLA) to several other KLAs
Design and complete a rich learning task
Telegraph new ideas
Develop and use new terminology
Try new skills
Practice injury prevention in the playground at your school by drawing up a few simple rules
Create a video documenting a community event in which your class or school participated
Source: Application of Bruner (1960, 1961, 1966; NETS, 2007) to personal professional practice over 30 years as synthesized in Kivunja (2015d).
C. Kivunja
235
Table 5. Teaching the 4Cs super skills through Bruners E5: Evaluation Lens.
4C super skill Examples of Evaluation student activities
Critical thinking and
problem solving
Reflect on what they have learnt and discuss its value in real life
Complete a Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) model of an topic they have learnt
Debate a current controversial issue at the school or in the community
Link or show connections between current class work and solving problems in the world beyond school
Complete a Cost-Benefit Analysis of an issue
Complete a self-assessment exercise following the completion of a major task or project
Review how you have achieved the learning outcomes
Recognize bias in resources available on the internet
Communicating
Demonstrate masterly of certain learning in an oral presentation
Discuss the evaluation of a particular task
Evaluate digital resources for use in a named topic and discuss your findings with the class
Publish online your artwork with commentary that demonstrates your understanding
Select a set of digital tools and justify their value in completing a task
Collaborating
Complete peer assessment for members in your team
Mentor each other in a team and provide feedback
Use the Kagan’s (1994) Jig-Saw structure to evaluate a story
Work in teams to complete the Kivunja (2015) Star Graphic Organizer
(What-Who-Where-When-Why-How) to evaluate a given topic
Use collaborative electronic tools to evaluate the topic or unit completed
Creating and
innovating
Complete a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of a new proposal for changes
to a unit they are about to start
Use formative assessment to improve performance
Create a personal portfolio and assess each othersportfolio
Show links between unit completed and the next one
Complete open-ended assessment tasks.
Use digital tools to analyze data and to evaluate a theory learnt
Design a model of legal and ethical behaviors when using the Internet
Source: Application of Bruner (1960, 1961, 1966; NETS, 2007) to personal professional practice extending over 30 years as synthesized in Kivunja
(2015d).
4. Conclusions
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills presented the 4Cs of critical thinking and problem solving, communica-
tion, collaboration, and creativity plus innovation, as the super skills in the 21st century because they are founda-
tional essentials for success in college, university, career, and life outside educational institutions. On graduation,
students will enter a highly competitive world of commerce, business and life that demands more skills than
those evident in graduates of the Industrial Age. As rightly pointed out by Grovo (2015), 21st century industry
requires “graduates with skills that will allow them to be immediately productive in the workforce” (p. 3). The
4Cs are super skills because they provide a core of skills which, when combined with the traditional Core Sub-
jects skills, help students to develop and demonstrate a sound understanding and greater effectiveness and effi-
ciencies in the Career and Life skills and the Information, Media and Technology skills all of which comprise
the New Learning Paradigm.
But, the New Learning Paradigm is not just about the 4Cs, nor is it about just learning. It is about making a
switch in learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum development to utilize all the elements of the Rainbow
or Framework for 21st Century Skills. As discussed in this paper, this includes the four sets of skills representing
students outcomes, the four supporting systems and the five interdisciplinary themes, all of which are needed to
equip graduates with the skills that will enable them to contribute effectively to productive capacities in the 21st
Digital Economy. Along this journey, the 4Cs are posited by the Partnership for 21st Century as the fuel that not
only accelerates the achievement of the different elements of the Rainbow, but energizes participants in the pur-
suit of these elements. The 4Cs add value to human endeavor in the development of the different elements of the
Rainbow and are therefore super skills, because as can be inferred from Michael Woolcock (1998, 2001), of
what value is human enterprise if it does not add to social capital?
In their wisdom, The Partnership (P21) chose the metaphor of the Rainbow to represent the elements of the
C. Kivunja
236
Framework for 21st Century Skills. This appears to be a very prudent choice because it serves to emphasize the
integrative and holistic nature of all the elements that together comprise the Framework for 21st Century Skills.
Just like no Rainbow would be complete without some of the essential colors, the Framework for 21st Century
Skills would not be complete unless the four sets of studentsoutcomes, the four supporting systems and the five
interdisciplinary themes are all considered together. By way of reiteration as this paper concludes, the philo-
sophical approach which posits that learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum development all need to in-
clude these 21st century skills of the Rainbow is what Kivunja (2014a) calls the New Learning Paradigm.
The Rainbow is a well-conceptualized model representing the Partnerships vision for success in 21st century
studying, the professions, trades, industry and living. The location of the 4Cs at the summit of the Rainbow
(please refer to Figure 2) is not accidental. It serves to highlight the position of the 4Cs super skills within the
entire structure. These skills are super skills because they are essential to help students develop skills for in-
creased productivity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration, not only
while still at college but even more importantly, later in their daily lives after graduation. These skills have al-
ways been essential for success but as Gardner (2000) says, now “technology brings them to our fingertips…the
new technologies can really come into their own… With new software and the World Wide Web, it is possible
to receive and to manipulate all kinds of (hopefully accurate) data, captured in a wide range of symbol systems,
and evaluate respective claims and counterclaims” (p. 34) to enhance the power of the 4Cs super skills to influ-
ence the other elements of the Rainbow. The teaching of these 4Cs super skills within the New Learning Para-
digm will help to educate graduates who will succeed in the real world of work. This is vital if education is to
achieve it moral purposefor, as can be inferred from Fullan (2000), of what value is education if it does not
lead to the achievement of the moral purpose of education?
References
Adams, K. (2006). The Sources of Innovation and Creativity. A Paper Commissioned by the National Center on Education
and the Economy for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Washington DC: National Center on
Education and the Economy.
Amabile, T. M. (1998). How to Kill Creativity. Harvard Business Review, September-October 1998.
Anderson, L. W. (2003). Classroom Assessment: Enhancing the Quality of Teacher Decision Making. Mahwah, NJ: Law-
rence Erlbaum Associates.
Baird, J., & Stull, J. (1992). The Seven Cs of Communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bloom, B. H. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: David Mackay Co.
Brady, L. (2006). Collaborative Learning in Action. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia.
Brownell, M., Adams, A., Sinclair, P., Waldron, N., & Vanhover, S. (2006). Learning from Collaboration: The Role of
Teacher Qualities. Exceptional Children, 72, 169-185. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/001440290607200203
Bruner, J. (1960). The Process of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bruner, J. S. (1961). The Act of Discovery. Harvard Educational Review, 31, 21-32.
Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Bruner, J. S. (1978). The Role of Dialogue in Language Acquisition. In A. Sinclair, R. J. Jarvelle, & W. J. M. Levelt (Eds.),
The Childs Concept of Language. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Bybee, R. W., Taylor, J. A., Gardner, A., Van Scotter, P., Powell, J. C., Westbrook, A., & Landes, N. (2006). The BSCS 5E
Instructional Model: Origins, Effectiveness, and Applications. Colorado Springs BSCS.
http://science.education.nih.gov/houseofreps.nsf/b82d55fa138783c2852572c9004f5566/$FILE/Appendix%20D.pdf
Coulson, M. (2006). Developing Teachers’ Cognitive Clarity and Communication Style through an Inservice Training Pro-
gram. Doctoral Dissertation, Newcastle, New South Wales: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle.
Cruickshank, D. R., & Kennedy, J. J. (1986). Teacher Clarity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 2, 43-67.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0742-051X(86)90004-1
De Bono, E. (1956). Six Thinking Hats. Cambridge: Little, Brown and Company.
De Bono, E. (1995). Serious Creativity. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 18, 12-18.
Deakin (2014). Critical Thinking. Deakin University, Vic.
http://www.deakin.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/51222/critical-thinking.pdf
Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (2012). Strategies and Models for Teachers: Teaching Content and Thinking Skills (6th ed.). Bos-
C. Kivunja
237
ton: Pearson.
Entwistle, N. J. (2000). Promoting Deep Learning through Teaching and Assessment: Conceptual Frameworks and Educa-
tional Contexts. Proceedings of the Teaching and Learning Research Programm (TLRP) Conference, Leicester, 9-10 No-
vember 2000. http://www.tlrp.org/acadpub/Entwistle2000.pdf
Facione, P. A. (2011). Measured Reasons and Critical Thinking. Millbrae, CA: The California Academic Press.
Flewelling, G., & Higginson, W. (2002). A Handbook on Rich Learning Tasks: Realising a Vision of Tomorrow’s Classroom.
Ontario: Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queen’s University.
Fullan, M. (2000). Change Forces: Probing the Depths of Educational Reform. London: The Falmer Press.
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basics Books.
Gardner, H. (2000). Can Technology Exploit Our Many Ways of Knowing? In D. T. Gordon (Ed.), The Digital Classroom:
How Technology Is Changing the Way We Teach and Learn (pp. 32-35). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Letter.
http://www.msmc.la.edu/Include/learning_resources/online_course_environment/blended_hybrid_teaching/exploit.pdf
Gates, B. (2005). What’s Wrong with US High SchoolsAnd How We Can Make Them Better. Talk Presented at the Nation-
al Summit on High Schools, Washington DC, February 26.
Gerald, R. (2015). The World beyond the Classroom: 21st Century Education, Technology and 4Cs.
https://storify.com/RebeccaG27/4cs-in-education
Grovo, H. Q. (2015). Bite Size Is the Right Size: How Microlearning Shrinks the Skills Gap in Higher Education. New York:
Grovo.
www.trainingindustry.com/content-development/articles/bite-size-is-the-right-size-how-microlearning-shrinks-the-skills-g
ap.aspx
Handsley, E. (2011). Good Practice Guide: Collaboration Skills-Threshold Learning Outcome 5Promoting Excellence in
Higher Education. Surry Hills, NSW: Australian Learning & Teaching Council.
IBSA (2009). The Innovation and Business Industry Skills Council of Australia; Developing Innovation Skills: A Guide for
Trainers and Assessors to Foster the Innovation Skills of Learners through Professional Practice. East Melbourne, Victo-
ria: Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Education.
Jobrack, B. (2013). The 5E Instructional Model: Engage Explore Explain Evaluate Extend. From Science, Technology, En-
gineering and Mathematics. https://www.mnheonline.com/secondaryscience.pdf
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. (2009). Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and
Bacon.
Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Resources for Teachers, Inc.
Kelly, F. S., McCain, T., & Jukes, I. (2009). Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High Schools. Mel-
bourne: Hawker Brownlow Education.
Kift, S., Israel, M., & Field, R. (2010). Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project: Bachelor of Laws Learning &
Teaching Academic Standards Statement December 2010, Australian Learning & Teaching Council.
http://www.olt.gov.au/resources/good-practice?text=threshold%20learning%20outcomes%20law
Killen, R. (2013). Effective Teaching Strategies: Lessons from Research and Practice (6th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage Learn-
ing.
Kivunja, C. (2014a). Do You Want Your Students to Be Job-Ready with 21st Century Skills? Change Pedagogies: A Para-
digm Shift from Vygotskyian Social Constructivism to Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and SiemensDigital Connec-
tivism. International Journal of Higher Education, 3, 81-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v3n3p81
Kivunja, C. (2014b). Innovative Pedagogies in Higher Education to Become Effective Teachers of 21st Century Skills: Un-
packing the Learning and Innovations Skills Domain of the New Learning Paradigm. International Journal of Higher
Education, 3, 37-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v3n4p37
Kivunja, C. (2015a). Redesigning the 3R’s and Core Academic Subjects to Improve Learning, Teaching and Assessment in
the New Learning Paradigm. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, in Press.
Kivunja, C. (2015b). Teaching Students to Learn and to Work Well with 21st Century Skills: Unpacking the Career and Life
Skills Domain of the New Learning Paradigm. International Journal of Higher Education, 4, 1-11.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v4n1p1
Kivunja, C. (2015c). Unpacking the Information, Media and Technology Skills Domain of the New Learning Paradigm. In-
ternational Journal of Higher Education, 4, 166-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v4n1p166
Kivunja, C. (2015d). Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Steps towards Creative Practice. Melbourne: Oxford University
Press. (In Press)
Kivunja, C., & Power, A. (2006). A New Dynamics Paradigm for Analyzing Structural and Cultural Dynamics in an Educa-
C. Kivunja
238
tional Organization. Proceedings of the AARE 2006 International Education Research Conference: Engaging Pedagogies,
Adelaide, 26-30 November 2006. http://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2006/kiv06144.pdf
Kompf, M., & Bond, R. (2001). Critical Reflection in Adult Education. In T. Barer-Stein, & M. Kompf (Eds.), The Craft of
Teaching Adults (pp. 21-38). Toronto, ON: Irwin.
Kuhn, D. (2005). Education for Thinking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Lin, K. C. (2014). Embracing 4Cs“Super Skills” for the 21st Century.
https://storify.com/clkoh/embracing-4c-s-super-skills-for-the-21st-century
Lippl, C. (2013). The Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. Zuluma Education Trends.
http://zuluma.com/education-trends/four-cs-21st-century-skills/#.VLEHY2SUdew
Lublin, J. (2003). Deep, Surface and Strategic Approaches to Learning. Belfield: Centre for Teaching and Learning, Univer-
sity College Dublin.
MCEETYA (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Melbourne: Curriculum Corpora-
tion, Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.
McNierney, D. (2004). Case Study: One Teacher’s Odyssey through Resistance and Fear. TechTrends, 48, 64-69.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02763533
Miller, S. (1990). Critical Thinking in Classroom Discussion of Texts: An Ethnographic Perspective. Paper Presented at the
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service
No. ED320886.
Muijs, D., & Reynolds, D. (2011). Effective Teaching: Evidence and Practice (3rd ed.). Los Angels, CA: Sage.
Mulnix, J. W. (2010). Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44, 464-479.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00673.x
NCECT (2014). Defining Critical Thinking.
http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/the-national-council-for-excellence-in-critical-thinking/406
NETS (2007). Profiles for Technology (ICT) Literate Students, National Educational Technology Standards for Students.
Excerpted from NETS for Students Booklet.
http://www.schenectady.k12.ny.us/techresources/EETTLitCon/NETS-s_2007_student_Profiles.pdf
P21 (2007). The Intellectual and Policy Foundations of the 21st Century Skills Framework. Partnership for 21st Century
Skills. http://www.youngspirit.org/docs/21stcentury.pdf
P21 (2008). Moving Education Forward. Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).
http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/documents/p21_brochure_-final14.pdf
P21 (2009). P21 Framework Definitions. Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).
P21 (2011). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). http://www.P21.org
P21 (2014). Learning for the 21st Century: A Report and MILE Guide for 21st Century Skills. Partnership for 21st Century
Skills. http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/P21_Report.pdf
P21 (2015a). Our Mission. Washington, DC: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
http://www.p21.org/about-us/our-mission
P21 (2015b). Framework for 21st Century Learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-framework
P21 (2015c). We Are Taking Teaching and Learning Above & Beyond. Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
www.p21.org/storage/documents/4csposter.pdf
P21 (2015d). Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-framework/57
Piaget, J. (1954). The Construction of Reality in the Child. New York: Basic Books. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/11168-000
Piascik, D. (2015). Preparing America’s Students for College and Career: Common Core Learning Standards.
http://www.mspiascik.weebly.com/common-core-learning-standards.html
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On The Horizon, 9, 3-6.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816
Randall, J. H. (1953). John Dewey, 1859-1952. The Journal of Philosophy, 50, 5-13.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2021535
Raphael, D. (2015). Collaborative Teaching Model. Baulkham Hills, NSW: William Clarke College.
Reigeluth, C. M. (1999). The Elaboration Theory: Guidance for Scope and Sequence Decisions. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.),
Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory, Volume II. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
C. Kivunja
239
Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Saxena, S. (2015). How Do You Teach the 4Cs to Students (Part-1): Creativity and Innovation? Nioda Delhi NCR: Amity
University.
http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/914-how-do-you-teach-the-4Cs-to-students-part-1-creativity-and-innovation.
SBAC (2015). Preparing America’s Students for College & Career: The Common Core State StandardsA Commitment to
Student Success. Washington, DC: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
http://www.svsd410.org/cms/lib05/WA01919490/Centricity/Domain/31/Parent%20CCSS%20Presentation.pdf
Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2009). 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
University of Sydney (2014). Learning to Learn: Developing Critical Thinking Skills. Orientation Lecture Series, Sydney:
University of Sydney. http://sydney.edu.au/stuserv/documents/learning_centre/critical.pdf
Van-Gelder, T. (2001). How to Improve Critical Thinking Using Educational Technology. Melbourne: The University Mel-
bourne, Department of Philosophy, 539-548.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1929). The Problem of the Cultural Development of the Child. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 36, 415-434.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Wood, D. J., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The Role of Tutoring in Problem Solving. Journal of Child Psychiatry and
Psychology, 17, 89-100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1976.tb00381.x
Woolcock, M. (1998). Social Capital and Economic Development: Towards a Theoretical Synthesis and Policy Framework.
Theory and Society, 27, 151-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1006884930135
Woolcock, M. (2001). The Place of Social Capital in Understanding Social and Economic Outcomes. Paper Presented at the
Contribution of Human and Social Capital to Sustained Economic Growth and Well-Being, Ottawa.
Wragg, E. C. (Ed). (1984). Classroom Teaching Skills. London: Croom Helm. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203325445
... Six years later, the Partnership for 21st-century Skills, which came up with the Framework for 21st-century Skills (Partnership for 21st-century Skills, 2010), decided to stress the importance of the skills which are essential for successful learning, teaching, assessment, working and living in today's digital economy (Kivunja, 2015). Accordingly, experts agreed that the list which had already included critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, deserved to be called "the 4Cs -'super skills' for the 21st century". ...
... Thus, school is the place that could and should help students develop critical thinking. Kivunja (2015) defines effective communication as getting your desired message across effectively to your target audience. Wagner (2009) points to the fact that quite often college teachers and employers complain about the inability of school graduates to communicate effectively. ...
... Wagner (2009) points to the fact that quite often college teachers and employers complain about the inability of school graduates to communicate effectively. Communication skills have always been important, but the instantaneous mix of people of different cultures that has been enabled by 21st-century information, media and digital technologies has made the need for effective communication more apparent and more vital than in previous generations (Kivunja, 2015). Therefore, it is crucial that schools focus on developing communication skills that would help students not only during their education, but also after graduation and upon entering the job market. ...
Book
Full-text available
the Guidelines were constructed based on a desk research and literature review on flexible and innovative learning environments, and on teachers’ and students’ practices from the classroom that support both active learning and innovative teaching. As Partner Organisations, running the Novigado Project, we believe learning spaces can play a crucial role in stimulating not only active learning of students, but also innovative forms of pedagogy in the classroom or school spaces. Therefore, this publication will focus on both aspects: the theoretical background of what, according to scientific research results, should be a modern and pro-learning school environment today, and the practical approach from classrooms – how to organise and use the school space to achieve best results in learning or teaching. This document supports the subsequent phases of the Novigado Project: creating the Capacity-Building Programme for pilot schools, organising the Pilot Evaluation Scheme for the school pilot implementation, designing the Active Learning Scaleup Instrument and the Online Scenario Tool as well as having strong connections to the Active Learning Reference Framework.
... Critical thinking skill is a person's ability to use self-reflective, logical, and reasonable reasoning to collect, interpret, and evaluate facts to draw a conclusion (University of Sydney, 2014). Additionally, the ability to apply a number of broad cognitive processing skills that fall under high-order thinking levels of analyzing, evaluating, and developing new ideas or things is what Kivunja (2015) characterized as critical thinking. This capacity allows students to think deeply to approach problems that are unfamiliar to them in novel ways. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims at analyzing the integration of higher-order thinking skills, specifically the level of analysis (C4), the level of evaluation (C5), and the level of creation (C6), in reading comprehension questions found in senior high school textbook ‘Bahasa Inggris SMA/MA/SMK/MAK for Grade 12’. This study employed critical content analysis to analyze and interpret textual material to draw valid inferences. The researchers examined the reading comprehension questions to find out how the integration of HOTS in the questions. Using a checklist table, the researchers collected, listed, and analyzed the questions according to the cognitive domain of the revised Bloom’s taxonomy. After examining and determining the cognitive level of each question, the researchers categorized them into two groups, namely higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) and lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) questions. The result showed that the distribution of HOTS-level questions was lower than that of LOTS questions. The data show that the number of HOTS questions got 13 out of 67 questions or 19.4%, while LOTS questions reached 54 out of 67 questions or 80.6%. These results imply that this textbook needed to provide an adequate number of higher-level thinking questions that could enhance students’ HOTS. To sum up, HOTS questions were not sufficiently integrated into the reading comprehension questions of the textbook. Thus, it is expected that the findings of this study motivate education stakeholders, including teachers, textbook authors, and publishing houses to make more effort to foster and develop HOTS in textbooks.
... The ability to solve problems is one of the basic skills everyone needs in order to face the increased demands in a complex life. Generally, problem-solving skills developments one of the focuses on the 21 st -century educational goals (Gongden, 2016;Kivunja, 2015;Wang, et al., 2018), especially in physics education (Shishigu et al. 2009;Taasoobshirazi & Farley, 2013). Apart from understanding concepts (Docktor et al.,2016;Yuliati et al. 2018), physics aim at improving the problem-solving skills of individuals (Harjono, 2012;Soetopo, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
The study focused on the construction and validation of a problem-solving ability test. The test consists of 36 multiple choice items regarding numerical and reasoning ability tested on 810 students. The preliminary instrument consists of 46 multiple choice items was tested on 352 secondary school students. After the refinement of items using different procedures, 36 items were selected. The construction and development of the test was done by expert review, preliminary draft, item analysis, selection of items, preparation of final test, norms, validity, and reliability of the test. The Cranach's (α) and split-half reliability of the test as found 0.909and 0.890 respectively with the intrinsic and criterion validity of the test was found to be 0.953and 0.781.
... Support the previous opinion, said that the 3Rs are known to be the core of any subject, and 4Cs have a role as a skill needed by the students to gain success in the future (Kivunja, 2015). The implementation of that thing in Indonesia was already been included in the Main Competencies in the 2013 curriculum, such as mathematics subjects that not only give knowledge and counting skill but are also expected to train the student's reasoning and analytical skills for solving problems. ...
Article
Full-text available
Technology and information development give significant changes to the required human skills in the current era. Educational development is also needed so it is able to prepare the peoples to fulfill nowadays standards, one of it was through the development of learning media that is able to set up students so they have the opportunity to develop the abilities needed. The goals of this study is to develop a mathematics learning video based on problem-based learning approach on the Pythagorean Theorem topic. This is a Research and Development (R&D) study with ADDIE development method. This study’s subjects were 17 eighth-grade students at Junior High School 2 Pandaan. The results show that the problem-based mathematics learning video on the Pythagorean Theorem topic had been successfully developed. Product validation by media expert got a score of 3.71 and product validation by material expert got a score of 3.70 which means that the product is valid. Then for the product practically tests got a score of 3,34 which means that the product is practical. The result of the effectiveness test from the student’s score on the evaluation test after learning using the media shows that 82.4% of all subjects have reached the Minimum Mastery Criteria (KKM) so that the product can be said to be effective. The results indicate that problem-based learning videos can be used as learning media on the Pythagorean Theorem topic.
... Συνακόλουθα μεταλλάσσεται το εκπαιδευτικό μοντέλο από τη μετωπική μάθηση στην ανακαλυπτική-διερευνητική διαδικασία. Ως προς την ανάπτυξη των δεξιοτήτων των μαθητών-τριών η διεθνής εκπαιδευτική κοινότητα προσανατολίζεται στις «Δεξιότητες Μάθησης του 21ου αιώνα» (4cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity/ κριτική σκέψη, επικοινωνία, συνεργασία, δημιουργικότητα (Kivunja, 2015). Επιπρόσθετα, η διδασκαλία της Ιστορίας αποσκοπεί στην καλλιέργεια της ιστορικής σκέψης και της ιστορικής συνείδησης. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Η διδασκαλία της τοπικής Ιστορίας διαπνέεται και χαρακτηρίζεται από την εισαγωγή καινοτόμων δράσεων και καλών πρακτικών, που αίρουν την παραδοσιακή διδασκαλία και μάθηση στα σχολεία διαμέσου της βιωματικής μάθησης και της ενεργού συμμετοχής όλων των εκπαιδευομένων. Ήδη τα τελευταία χρόνια καθίσταται έντονη η παρότρυνση μέσω του θεσμικού πλαισίου για την ενσωμάτωση της τοπικής ιστορίας στη διδασκαλία της σχολικής ιστορίας. Άγνωστες εν πολλοίς σελίδες της ιστορίας της ελληνικής επανάστασης του 1821 σκιαγραφούνται με σκοπό την ανάδειξη της σημασίας τους στον αγώνα της ελευθερίας, με επίκεντρο την πόλη της Καλαμάτας και τη Μεσσηνία.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Αντικείμενο της παρούσας μελέτης είναι η ποσοτική διερεύνηση των αντιλήψεων εκπαιδευτικών της δημόσιας δημοτικής εκπαίδευσης για τη στοχοθεσία της παρεχόμενης ενδοϋπηρεσιακής επιμόρφωσης στον 21ο αιώνα υπό το πρίσμα των σύγχρονων τάσεων και προκλήσεων βάσει της διεθνούς βιβλιογραφίας και των επίσημων εκθέσεων υπερεθνικών οργανισμών. Τα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας καταδεικνύουν την ανάγκη αναθεώρησης και διαρκούς επικαιροποίησης της στοχοθεσίας της επιμόρφωσης όσον αφορά τη συστηματική διερεύνηση των επιμορφωτικών αναγκών των εκπαιδευτικών, την άμεση σύνδεση με τη νέα σχολική πραγματικότητα, την ενίσχυση της διαλεκτικής σχέσης σχολείου-κοινωνίας, την ανάπτυξη σύγχρονων δεξιοτήτων των εκπαιδευτικών καθώς επίσης την αποτελεσματική διαχείριση των αναδυόμενων προβλημάτων του σύγχρονου δημόσιου σχολείου.
Chapter
Full-text available
Twenty-first century demands students with critical thinking, digital and other soft skills, and capable of self-directed and self-determined learning. This chapter presents an educational design project, which focused on the development of a history online course for children of pre-primary level and the first grades of primary school, based on the constructivist paradigm of learning. Educational design research was carried out to explore how young children can respond to the demands of a contemporary online course, pursue the online course with growing confidence and independence, and earn history in a meaningful way, while developing twenty-first century skills at the same time. Data were collected by quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis showed that both pre-primary and primary school children responded remarkably well and managed to complete the online course with minimum parental support. They improved their knowledge and displayed critical thinking skills. Children showed no major difficulties in using the digital environment and expressed positive attitudes toward e-learning. The role of parents was also monitored and analyzed since it emerged as a critical factor in the successful completion of the course.
Article
Full-text available
Pedagogies that made teaching, learning, assessment and curricula of the 20 th century the great success that it was were designed and implemented with an emphasis on what are generally referred to as the 3R's of basic education, namely reading,-riting, –rithmetic and related subjects. Those pedagogies produced graduates that were well skilled for the Industrial Age economy. However, mainly due to the ubiquitous penetration of microelectronics and digital technologies into every day living, trades, businesses and occupations, a New Learning Paradigm is needed to equip graduates with the skills they need to succeed in the Knowledge Age economy. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) (P21, 2009) conceptualises those skills as consisting of not just the traditional core subjects, but also what they characterize as the Learning and Innovations skills, the Career and Life skills, as well as the Digital Literacies skills. They argue that the traditional core skills need to be redesigned as explained in this paper to form part of the New Learning Paradigm.
Article
Full-text available
Put simply, “Teaching our students so that they become well-equipped with the 21st century skills is the new learning paradigm” (Kivunja, 2014b, p. 85). These skills fall into four domains which the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) identify as the Traditional Core Skills, the Learning and Innovation Skills, the Career and Life Skills, and the Digital Literacy Skills; also known as the Information, Media, and Technology Skills (P21, 2009). Arguing that the traditional core skills, such as reading, -riting, and –rithmetic are well known, and might need no elaboration, Kivunja (2014b) discussed the Learning and Innovations Skills domain, and Kivunja (2015a) unpacked the Career and Life Skills domain. This paper unpacks the Digital Literacy Skills domain to extend an understanding of this domain in three ways. First, what is it and what skills does it involve? Second, how can students be taught the skills of this domain so they will be job ready to use these skills on graduation? Third, what is the significance of this domain to each of the other domains; and therefore to the success of studying, working, living and being a productive citizen in the realities of the Digital Economy?
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A plethora of organisational behaviour literature leads to the deduction that structure as the under girding framework of the definition and arrangement of roles and responsibilities in any organisation is important in designing a school, but it is not the only consideration. For school reform to be effective it is essential, not simply to re-structure, but to consciously re-culture the values, beliefs, norms and practices of participants in the school community. Unfortunately, whereas restructuring of schools became a buzz-word in the 1980s, the development of collateral theoretical constructs to help analyse the nature of the structural-cultural dynamics in the organisational life of an educational institution undergoing change appears to have lagged behind. This paper presents a new Dynamics Paradigm designed in a doctoral thesis (Kivunja, 2006) to specifically provide a cognitive lens for examining deeply into the structural and cultural dynamics in an educational institution undergoing major reforms. Starting from a well documented corporate organisational dynamics model (Pace, 2002) the paper details how 16 dynamics core variables derived from 14 secondary schools newly restructured into multi-campus colleges in New South Wales were incorporated in the new Paradigm to provide a versatile mental map which was then used to extend an understanding of the structural-cultural dynamics in the schools.