I've been thinking and reading a lot this summer about different learning theories and how they affect pedagogy. My three favorites are constructivism, communal constructivism, and connectivism. Aspects of each of these three theories really inform my teaching and should be the basis for any attempt of innovative teaching in the 21st century context. So, what does that mean for pedagogy and how do we apply it? Certainly, we have all heard of the 3R's (reading, writing and arithmetic). While these should form the basis of any good educational skillset, we know that they are not enough in the context of the needs of 21st century learners and what the theories mentioned above propose. Therefore, I have developed my own framework that I hope to employ this school year in the development of my lessons, my teaching, and assessment of my students.
I call this the "6C's" or the "C-6 Framework." The 6C's are "Choice, Construction, Connection, Collaboration, Creation, and Consideration." Here is what each of these mean:
- Choice - Learners will have the opportunity to choose what, how, and when to learn.
- Construction - Learners will conduct research and inquiry to construct their own understanding of the world around them.
- Connection - Learners will discover and build the connections between ideas, events, and people in different times and places.
- Collaboration - Learners will develop the skills to effectively collaborate with their facilitators and peers.
- Creation - Learners will strive to become producers of new knowledge using their skills and imagination to create new understanding.
- Consideration - Learners will reflect and consider what they have learned, how they learned it, and how they can improve their learning in the future.
I'm not proposing that any of this is particularly new or radical. For we are only "standing on the shoulders of giants" when it comes to learning theory and its practice in the classroom. But, I find this a useful framework to remind myself of where are focus should be. I have developed it with the social studies classroom in mind, but a simple variation in some of the language of each explanation could work in any and all subject matter. I plan on sharing this framework with my students and parents in setting the proper tone in what I hope to develop in my students this school year.