December 4, 2019

By Lisa Parker

The goal of many educators is to prepare their students for college, career and life in a global society. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) shares that goal and is working to unite those efforts under a common education strategy, helping today’s students:

- Become effective citizens, workers and leaders

- Learn the skills they need to join 21st century communities and workplaces

 - Thrive in learning environments aligned with the real world

However, to compete in the 21st century global society, students will also need to be capable communicators, creators, thinkers, and collaborators. Which is why P21 established learning strategies around the 4Cs: 

1. Critical thinking

2. Creativity

3. Collaboration

4. Communication


Building the 4Cs Into K-12 Education 

All educators want to help their students succeed but many struggle with the best ways to implement the 4Cs into their curriculum.

First, it’s important to remember that the 4Cs are addressed through the process of learning—and not the lesson content. Meaning today’s instructors must look to adapt HOW they teach, rather than WHAT they teach.   

Second, there are educational approaches that can be applied to boost 4C skills, such as small-group learning. When compared to isolated or organized learning environments, small-group learning enables students to put their 4C skills into action, allowing them to work together to achieve a common goal.  


How Small Group Learning Accelerates 4C Skills 

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking in the classroom, particularly in small groups, encourages curiosity. It gives students opportunities to challenge each other, explore new ideas, frame problems and solutions in different ways, practice effective reasoning, use better judgement- and decision-making, and improve problem-solving skills. 


In small groups, creativity can be especially contagious. Learning to express creativity in healthy and productive ways motivates students to share that creativity with others, inspiring fellow students to think in their own unique ways. 


By creating an environment that enables student-centered learning—balanced with teacher facilitation and encouragement—students learn to listen to one another and collaborate to achieve something bigger as a group rather than as individuals.  


In small groups, students can more easily develop key communication skills, including active listening and how to “read the room.” It also helps improve informative, instructive, motivative, and persuasive communication capabilities.  

Promoting engagement, sharing and feedback between learners with different perspectives and backgrounds, small-group learning helps to address gaps in a student’s 4C skills while fostering problem-solving through teamwork.  

Facilitating successful small-group learning is challenging. With the Lightspeed Activate System, teachers can assess where to invest time, provide support at the right moment, and gain insights into the learning process without changing the group dynamic. Find out more at 


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Lisa Parker

Lisa Parker

Lisa's was thrilled to join Lightspeed to align her experience and passion for marketing and technology with the company's amazing mission -  to improve the listening and learning environment for every child and teacher.

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