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the fifth “C”?

I am been visioning what our middle school will look like in 2019 and during this process, I have been reading about the 4 C’s of 21st Century Learning – Critical Thinking, Communication, Creativity and Collaboration. I believe that these are essential skills for our students to have in their arsenal to be good global citizens when they graduate.

I cannot help but wonder if there is a 5th one – Compassion. More than anything I want our students to be compassionate in the way they contribute to this world. If I was an employer and I was employing people I would most definitely want a person who can display the 4 C’s but I would want them to do it in a compassionate way. As we communicate, don’t we want people to hear the other point of view , process it and then react in a way that is serving and other person centred? It doesn’t mean we need to agree all the time but it should mean we understand that we are all different.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus tells a story about a boy who asks his dad for his inheritance so that he can leave him and live how he wants. His dad gives him all he has and the boy goes and spends it all and inevitably when it runs out, he is forced into begging to survive. The boy decides to return to his home, expecting that his dad will be angry and he will make him work with the slaves. While the boy is a long way off, his dad sees him and runs and hugs him and shows him immense compassion. In this story, the word “compassion” is translated from the Greek  “splagchnizomai” which means “to move inward parts”. The dad didn’t feel sorry for his son, he was so moved by him returning, his insides nearly come out!

I believe that as our kids critically think, communicate, create and collaborate  they need to do it with compassion. Questions like -How is what I do make the world a better place? How does my solution improve our way of life? How can I change what I believe is wrong? -need to be answered in whatever they are doing or saying.

We have seen the effects on a our world of greed and inward looking decisions. Lets raise citizens who break the cycle and believe in the 5 C’s.Senior and young holding hands

About mattwpearce

Head of Secondary at Lighthouse School Mauritius from 2019


One thought on “the fifth “C”?

  1. I like this a lot! Compassion could very well be the most important C to guide students in their learning. Learning the 4 C Skills but always based around Compassion. I’m excited for this year!

    Posted by Rhett | January 6, 2017, 4:47 pm

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