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The 3Rs and now the 4Cs – Educating Children for the 21st Century

01 June 2017

It is predicted by the US Department of Labor that 65% of the children being educated today will at some stage of their adult life be working in jobs that have yet to be created.  

  • Primary

That is a staggering figure and presents challenges to us as both educators and parents in ensuring that our children are prepared for a world that we can hardly imagine.

In the ‘olden’ days a good education in the UK was traditionally founded on the 3Rs Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.  (I am never completely sure why they were called the 3Rs, although admittedly there are 3Rs in there somewhere!)  However, given this fast changing new world in which we are already living, the 3Rs, although still important, are not going to be enough if we are to best equip our children for the challenge of tomorrow.

Let me introduce you to the 4Cs that will help today’s children:

Collaboration:  To get the best outcomes for any task or challenge in the workplace, one needs to be able to work in teams and share ideas together, building on the contributions of others.  ‘Two heads are better than one’ and employers value good teamwork

Creativity:  The best ideas often start with ‘thinking outside the box’.  That sense of wonder and imagination is the beginning of invention and this is where the process of innovation, improvement and problem solving often begins.

Communication:  There is no point in having a good idea if you can’t share it!  But more than that a skilled communicator can inspire and work well with others. They can often diffuse situations and create win-win resolutions to difficulties; skills that are prized by any employer.

Critical thinking:  Being ‘smart’, thinking deeply, being ‘clever’ are attributes that are found in most successful people.  The ability to analyse, conceptualise and then apply thinking means that one can be innovative in different contexts and so become highly employable.

At BISS we recognise that to give our children the best start for the future they need to have not just the 3Rs but  also importantly the 4Cs.  Next year our new ‘Da Vinci Centre’ will be an exciting space that will allow the children an environment that promotes the 4Cs, further enhancing the opportunities they already get in the classroom.  We have a strong commitment to preparing our children for the future – a future where change is inevitable and skills need to be transferable.   It is estimated that by the age of 38 a person may have already been employed in 10-14 jobs.  It’s a brave new world out there!

Eleanor Jess, Head of Primary