The four “C”: Critical thinking, communication/comprehension, collaboration and creativity

We already have some signposted paths. Let’s remember some that are already known. Edgar Morin, a French philosopher, currently 98 years old, following a request by UNESCO, indicated the “Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future” as proposed to be taken to schools and all the educational processes. It highlights the importance of teaching about the blindness of knowledge, the mistakes and the illusions, the complexity of the phenomena, and the confrontation of the uncertainties. It also highlights the urgent need to teach comprehension, about the human condition, the earthly identity, and the ethics of the human race. The teachings of Edgar Morin should be prioritized in education and bedtime reading for every educator.

Another also consistent path, which is worth highlighting, is presented by renowned pedagogues. This concerns the importance of prioritizing the teaching of the “Four Cs”:

Critical thinking

With respect to critical thinking, it is worth remembering that information is doing very well, both in volume and in speed. We are instantly informed of everything that is happening in the world. We do not lack information; what we lack is the critical thinking associated with an open rationality that allows a greater approximation to the reality of the facts. We must remember that the same intelligence that develops high technology is the same intelligence that is used to manipulate the information.

It has never been so difficult to know the reality of the facts; information has never been so manipulated starting from ideological, doctrinal, political, and even scientific interests. From the dense government programs, to the simple everyday information that circulates on the social networks, fake news prevails. It is so difficult to appropriate the correct information that, as Edgar Morin correctly says, we need a pickax to dig deep into the information catacombs, in order to have a reasonable approximation of the truth of the facts. Stepping back from the illusions created by the biased information, and freeing oneself from the blindness and the errors imposed by the misleading information, is the challenge of critical thinking that waits for an effective pedagogy.

Communication/comprehension

Teaching communication is profoundly linked to the teaching of comprehension so that today, in a reduced form, it is only anchored in its objective, cold, and pragmatic dimension. The challenge is to understand not only with the cold logic of reason that explains, but also to advance to the “inter-subjective comprehension,” which considers the interiority of people, their feelings and emotions, which are the basis of their motivations. In this regard, we already have the pedagogical contributions contained in the work of Edgar Morin, “Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future,” where the author theorizes and guides educators to take the fundamentals to teach comprehension to children, young persons and adults. In the context of communication and comprehension it is necessary to highlight the subject of Teaching communication is profoundly linked to the teaching of comprehension so that today, in a reduced form, it is only anchored in its objective, cold, and pragmatic
dimension. The challenge is to understand not only with the cold logic of reason that explains, but also to advance to the “inter-subjective comprehension,” which considers the interiority of people, their feelings and emotions, which are the basis of their motivations. In this regard, we already have the pedagogical contributions contained in the work of Edgar Morin, “Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future,” where the author theorizes and guides educators to take the fundamentals to teach comprehension to children, young persons and adults. In the context of communication and comprehension it is necessary to highlight the subject of dialogue, which is very well treated in the theoretical perspective of David Bohn, in his book called “About Dialogue.” It is one more priority of education. The competence for dialogue is today what society needs most. It is a way of circulating feelings and meanings. It responds to the need of a joint reflection that observes cooperatively the lived experiences and improves the communication between people. In the dialogic process nobody wants to take advantage of the other person: it is a game where everybody wins. The dialogue questions and learns; it does not exist to persuade and to teach. By dialoguing, we value and enable the plurality of ideas, not only seeking agreements and convictions. One who dialogues temporarily suspends judgment and keeps an open mind for a new comprehension. The dialogue is the cement of society and is waiting to enter into classrooms worldwide with educators prepared for this mission.

Collaboration

Individualism and egocentrism, added to the several forms of sociocentrism and ethnocentrism, prevail in the culture. Developing the spirit of collaboration is a fundamental need. The capability to work well with others is vital for humans. Collaboration releases a creative force that provides far greater benefits than one person could achieve on his own. A major obstacle to collaboration is linked to the tendency of thinking that our own feelings and attributes are more important than those of others. We need to realize, through education, that this egocentric view harms both us and other people. In collaboration we find the expression of interest
and of care for another person. Collaboration increases the quality of what we do.

Creativity

It is desirable to expect that the large and fundamental universal dynamics that naturally include the phenomenon of life are not forgotten or neglected by education. Among them, particularly, is the dynamic of impermanence. We know that everything transforms all the time and that nothing remains stagnant, that everything is in a constant movement of change. We know that everything begins and ends, that times are born and times die. As Heraclitus asserted, no man ever steps in the same river twice. The second time the water will not be the same and the person will not be the same. We are educated to resist or deny impermanence.

We have difficulty with change and this contradicts the nature of life. There is no life without death. We need to die for an idea so that another, which is more appropriate, wider and deeper, occupies its place. What we are in the past does not guarantee success based on the demands of the present and of the future. We need to be reborn every day, personally and professionally. Learning to die in order to live for the new is the challenge of the creativity that should be encouraged in education.


JOÃO ROBERTO DE ARAUJO is the founder and Creator of Opportunities of 50-50 SEL Solutions. He is 74 years old and was a pioneer in the development processes of social emotional skills in Brazil, where he worked for thirty years.

He has created educational materials used by approximately 700,000 students and 20,000 teachers. Living today in Paris, France, he is developing his work of social emotional learning in French schools.

He is working towards making the proposal of 50-50 SEL Solutions known worldwide.

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