In September 2018, the learning skills for the Ontario Report Cards will be changing towards 6 transferable skills:

  • Critical Thinking,
  • Innovation and Creativity,
  • Self Directed Learning (Character),
  • Collaboration,
  • Communication, and
  • Citizenship.

I first saw these “6Cs” of education in the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning movement. Quite frankly, I really like them. I think these learning skills provides a really good framework for us to look at student development.

After all, the factual information I teach students can often be quickly found in a google search.

But these 6 transferable skills on the new report card? They help us to deal with life.

And, sometimes, life is tough.

Life doesn’t come with a manual. Often times, there are no simple answers. It takes work and effort to succeed in anything meaningful.

I remember exploring NPDL themes in my classroom, and one of the biggest comments I heard from colleagues was that the 6C’s (and NPDL) weren’t directly connected to the report card. So, even though they might be great skills, it was hard to connect it to the curriculum.

But now, in the 2018-2019 school year, it looks like the 6C’s will be directly part of our jobs to assess and evaluate.

So, this is a great time for us to reflect on our teaching practices.

Are we helping our students become resilient, adaptive, responsive citizens who are ready to overcome obstacles in their personal lives, and their professional careers?

It’s funny. As a Grade 8 teacher, I only heard about this change in learning skills in the middle of the school year at a staff meeting. Now, teachers are gearing up for a major change in the classroom.

I missed the article that The Star published on September 6, 2017. They even have a pretty graphic with draft descriptions of “transferable skills” that teachers will be assessing and evaluating for learning skills:

And change, while good, can be tricky. Right now, teachers are googling up

  • Lesson plans for new learning skills Ontario report card
  • Lesson plans: 6Cs
  • Rubrics for creativity, critical thinking, character, innovation, collaboration, citizenship

Teachers are gearing up for summer, and then eventually, we’ll be chatting with friends, and figuring out what the first few weeks of school will look like.

After all, we have to introduce these new learning skills to our students and parents in September.

Personally, I love the direction we’re taking.

This fits right into my teaching style. Even though it’s summer, some friends and I are developing teaching resources to introduce the 6C’s and the new Ontario Learning Skills to our classes in September.

As a teacher, I used to give feedback about learning skills and work habits.

In 2017, I was focused on figuring out if the student was:

  • Responsible
  • Organized
  • An independent worker
  • Able to collaborate
  • Show Initiative
  • Self-Regulate

Although it’s easier, as a teacher, to make comments about how organized a student is, or how responsible they are for owning their behaviour, or their homework completion, I’m not sure these questions really helped us prepare our students for the “real world,” whatever that is.

Now, teachers have to give feedback about learning skills focused on life skills and transferable skills.

Here are the draft descriptions of the 6C’s in the new Learning Skills for the Ontario Report Card:

Is your child able to think critically?

  • Can they analyze and resolve real-world problems?
  • Do they use many sources of information and tell the difference between fact and opinion?
  • Can they plan and manage a project to solve a real-world problem.

Is your child innovative and creative?

  • Can they enhance and explore ideas in creative ways and bring these ideas to action to meet the needs of a community?
  • Do they use imagination when creating a plan to develop an entrepreneurial project?
  • Do they improve ideas and experiment with them to try to solve a real-world problem in their community?

Does your child demonstrate self-directed learning? (Do they have strong character traits like grit / tenacity / perseverance?)

  • Do they develop attitudes, strategies, and skills to support their own motivation and confidence to learn?
  • Do they know the many ways that they learn best and can they manage their own learning and well-being?
  • Can they find and develop strategies to meet their learning goals?
  • Does your child show persistence in the face of difficulty?
  • Do they use empathy to understand themselves, and others?

Does your child collaborate well?

  • Can your child work in teams by building knowledge together in physical and virtual environments?
  • Can they think with others to create new knowledge?
  • Can they interact and work positively with others, in-person, and virtually?
  • Do they value the perspectives of others?

Does your child communicate well?

  • Can your child express meaning in multiple ways, in a variety of contexts, including virtual spaces.
  • Does your child ask questions and listen actively to understand what is being communicated?
  • Does your child clearly express themselves, verbally in writing, and using different kinds of technology?
  • Can they understand and respect many different local, national, and global perspectives?

Does your child demonstrate citizenship?

  • Do they understand local and global perspectives and address environmental, social, and economic problems through engaged citizenship
  • Do they take action to make a positive difference in the community and the world?
  • Does your child participate in physical and virtual communities in a socially responsible and sustainable manner?

I love this new learning skills curriculum.

I get giddy just thinking about it. These are the skills we need to survive the uncertainties in life, let alone the workforce.

I like it because the bullet points in each category gives teachers a specific direction to evaluate and comment on in the report card.

Why is this change in the Ontario Learning Skills important?

Well, because quite frankly, as a society, our students aren’t surviving and thriving in the “real world.”

Just because you are responsible and organized, and take initiative to get work done, doesn’t guarantee you success up the corporate ladder or workplace.

Just because you can communicate and self-regulate your behaviour and choices, doesn’t mean you will be excellent in life.

Simon Sinek has some important observations about why millennials in the workforce don’t succeed:

Reporting on the 6C’s on the new Ontario Learning Skills report card is going to be hard for a lot of teachers, students, and people

(Most of the time,) I love learning. I love tinkering with a puzzle and figuring out different ways to do things, and when the first way doesn’t work, I’m confident I can find a bunch of different things to try, and eventually succeed, or at least learn something from my efforts.

Sure, there are lots of areas in my life where I don’t have a growth mindset, but when it comes to education, I tend to be a life long learner.

But not everyone is like that – I’m speaking about students… and teachers… and parents… and I guess society, in general.

I guess it’s easy to think of the world as smart people and not smart people. Or athletic people, and non-athletic people. You’re either artistic, or you’re not. You either have it, or you don’t.

But, apparently, research on growth mindsets says it doesn’t have to be like that.

Teaching Resources for the New Learning Skills (6Cs) on the Ontario Report Card

Here is our unit to introduce the 6C’s.

  • The introduction overview lesson that we’re going to do is provided for free.
  • The rest of the lessons are available on the TpT marketplace.

First Weeks of School – UNIT: Welcome to the new you!

Lesson 1: 6Cs Learning Skills Introduction and Overview

  • Lesson Plans introducing the 6 C’s / big ideas.
  • Active lesson providing an overview of the 6C’s

Lesson 2: Character

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Lesson 3: Citizenship

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Lesson 4: Collaboration

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Lesson 5: Communication

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Lesson 6: Creativity

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Lesson 7: Critical Thinking

  • Lesson Plan (with teacher prompts and possible student responses)
  • Activity (group activity)
  • Video clip (3 options for you to choose to prompt classroom discussions)
  • Vocabulary builder worksheet and PowerPoint (with teacher prompts and possible student responses.)
  • Classroom Posters (PDFs to print)

Click here to download the 6Cs introduction overview

Click here to download the individual lesson packages

Click here to download the classroom posters

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