Incorporating the 5Cs into the teaching process

These skills help students face the world more proficiently

These skills help students face the world more proficiently

As we approach the dawn of a new year, we have to consider a form of education where students have to interrogate education instead of being mere consumers. This will help them grow and develop self-worth, interdependence and universal thinking, free of guilt, conflicts and superstitions. Over the past year, much has been said about 21st century skillsets, especially the Five Cs: communication, collaboration, creative thinking, critical thinking, and connectedness. When incorporated into the teaching process, these help students face the world more proficiently. What do we need to do to prepare our students for the future?

New forms of communication

Communication has taken on new dimensions during the pandemic. Impersonal, distant learning through the use of smart gadgets has become the norm. While students learnt basic skills, they need to translate these into meaningful frameworks for the larger world. Teachers have to move from being knowledge providers to ‘knowledge-use coaches’ who, in addition to imparting knowledge, also ‘communicate’ skills and get students to incorporate them.

Collaboration across space and time

Knowledge and ideas are no longer kept in a safe deposit box and left to wither away. Instead, there are diverse opportunities to share and collaborate across time and space. It is no longer about ‘me,’ instead it is ‘us.’ The teacher creates an environment that embraces the notion that collaboration is essential and, by working with their classmates, peers, teachers, community, and digital community, students open up vistas of change.

Thinking outside the box

Creativity involves embracing openness and moving away from confirmation bias (seeing what we expect to see) and desirability bias (seeing what we want to see). It means freedom from the shackles of emotional rigidity to cognitive flexibility, the use of intellectual humility and opening up the rethinking process. Teachers can transfer these qualities to students through open, vulnerable, honest attitudes and interactions.

Problem identifiers

Students learn through modelling and teachers are the best models. Critical thinking involves the openness to a different opinion or belief. It involves questioning existing thought structures and asking relevant questions. Not just “Why, When, Where, How, and What” but also “what if”, “is it really so?”, “what could I have done differently?” It is also about asking oneself “What prompted my decision?”, “Is it reasonable?”, “Are there hidden biases in my decisions?”


Connectedness is the interpersonal, interdependent closeness between people, resulting in a sense of belonging. While Internet connectivity offers an opportunity to interact, the plane of connectivity has to go beyond the impersonal to reach the connectedness of life. This involves Nature, society, community and more. Teachers can encourage interactions with nature and people to develop a sense of belonging and togetherness.

While much can be done to stimulate change by incorporating the 5Cs in the teaching process, the beginning has to be made with the educator, who must apply these in their own lives before they challenge students to come on board with them.

Geetha Gopinath is with the Faculty of Education, University of Hyderabad. Vijayalekshmi N.S. is with the Faculty of Education, Fathima Memorial Training College, Kollam.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 15, 2022 8:28:57 pm |