CA’s Six Cs still as relevant as ever

Anya Kamenetz has been a three-time lecturer as part of Colorado Academy’s SPEAK lecture program. Author of five books in a little over ten years, she has tackled everything from college debt to screen time. While we are not always in the same camp, there were several of us at CA who happened upon her latest writing, in which she interviews Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, professor of psychology at Temple University and co-author of the 2016 book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children.

The NPR interview by Kamenetz and editor Cory Turner is all about the Six Cs and creating interesting and joyful student-centered teaching as a key to raising brilliant kids and lifelong learners. Though CA’s “Six Cs” version is slightly different than the authors’, this is work that CA has been engaged in for a long time.

In 2011, we created a faculty group that, based on the research of author Tony Wagner (The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators), identified the 21st century skills that we knew students would need well beyond their academic knowledge: communication, creativity and critical thinking, collaboration, character, and cultural competence. We then divided our faculty into teams who focused their research and curriculum design around each skill. We created definitions, rationale, and rubrics for how we would successfully teach and measure each of those skills. Still today, that teaching is embedded in nearly every course we offer.

As I look back on those original documents, it is some of the most thoughtful and distilled statements about education done at any school—created by many people who still teach and work at CA: Katy Hills, John Vogels, Bill Wolf-Tinsman, Catherine Laskey, Mary Singer, Donna Farrell, Dawn Robinson, and others. And, in the interview, you’ll find how doing things—including things like doing laundry and running to the grocery store—provide some of the richest learning experiences around.