The 6 C’s of Education and Their Classroom Importance

In order to engage students across all levels of education, many school districts use the four C’s of education. These values have existed throughout 21st-century education plans and help progress students’ emotional, physical, and social intelligence. Recently, there have been two crucial additions to the four C’s, and in this article, we will outline the 6 C’s of education and their importance to the modern classroom.

Why Are the 6 C’s Important?

When creating an education plan, you need to consider building a comprehensive experience for students to succeed. The original four C’s are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. These create a solid base for interaction and mental exploration that can foster a positive learning environment for any age group. 

The final two C’s add perspective to this process: citizenship/culture and character/compassion. With the addition of these two, the 6 C’s create a mix of holistic educational values that can be applied to the classroom to help students learn through many different touchpoints. Each school district should have an individual approach to the 6 C’s, but overall, they are important to emphasize a well-rounded and socially adept learning environment.

6 C’s of Education

With the two newest additions, the 6 C’s create a holistic and well-informed list of values that every classroom should seek to emphasize. Not only do they help stimulate classroom learning, but they can help promote emotional intelligence and overall well-being. Here are the 6 C’s of education.


Communication is a skill that everyone needs to develop for educational, professional, and social purposes. It is a core value for the 6 C’s and requires deliberate effort to strengthen. Communication is important because, throughout any stage in life, creating mutual understanding with people will require strong communication skills, and education is the foundation of much of this capability. In order to emphasize communication, consider adding active listening exercises into the classroom to improve students’ ability to articulate their thoughts clearly.


Collaboration is important because, on top of facilitating critical interpersonal skills, it is a medium where students can learn how to communicate appropriately within a group. Regular collaboration can benefit students in many ways, one essential being that the outcome of teamwork is greater than an individual effort. Through collaboration, students can learn how to communicate correctly and work with different personalities to find the best outcome.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an analytical process, asking students to question the assumptions given to them and search for an answer not immediately apparent. This is a vital skill to emphasize because it promotes deep thinking and learning in a way that other thought patterns struggle to address. Critical thinking is also super applicable to everyday life in an infinite number of scenarios, so these skills will follow them throughout their life when developed correctly.


Creativity is a skill that needs to be nurtured because it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Understanding how to mix critical thinking and creativity can provide students with increased mental freedom to solve problems, create solutions, and express themselves in ways that would be difficult without those skills. It doesn’t have to apply to art, but artistic outlets are one of the best ways to train these mental muscles.


Citizenship/culture signifies the first of the newer C’s and emphasizes the importance of the surrounding world. Given how much information cycles around the world in the modern age, it’s increasingly important for students to understand their surroundings and develop a sense of identity in the global context.

This doesn’t have to be as intense as it sounds and can be as simple as changing the names and environment where learning happens. Small but intentional changes help inform students of what’s happening around them and how their future could be shaped through a global & cultural context.


The final C is character/compassion, and this is another recent addition to the fold. This point emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion towards others, which is an essential skill in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. Rather than being focused on the material education of a student, this point focuses on building strong, empathetic humans that will go through the world caring about what’s around them.

Creating compassion helps increase the personal effectiveness of a student and is key to improving their emotional intelligence. Certain activities can help foster these skills and, similar to communication, can become a gateway to creating positive relationships in the future.

Creating character/compassion can be a subtle skill and might come mainly from the teachers and leaders in a student’s life, and hopefully, it can build leadership qualities in a growing student as well. Being able to act as a leader and show deep emotional intelligence is increasingly important both academically and professionally, so integrating these skills will only help students throughout their lives.

How to Integrate the 6 C’s In the Classroom

Understanding the 6 C’s is one thing, but implementing them into a curriculum is another thing entirely. Below we’ve outlined a few methods you can use to help inspire the value of the 6 C’s while directly targeting them through specific exercises.

Integrate Unique Learning Scenarios

In order for students to learn and utilize knowledge effectively, it’s important that they are exposed to a variety of unique learning scenarios. Instead of using worksheets every day, or just running through slide decks, try to integrate unique learning scenarios regularly, so students have the opportunity to learn through different mediums. 

Creating unique learning scenarios can help improve their communication skills when they run into unique challenges and can target key critical thinking and creativity exercises for solving new problems. Some examples of unique learning environments could be lab work, research projects, collaborative presentations, or debate teams.

Emphasize Projects

When creating a curriculum, it can be helpful for students to focus on long-term projects rather than brief, immediate assignments. Allowing students to work on the same project for an extended period of time creates an engaging environment where they can tackle the issue critically and create a unique and valuable solution.

Moving through multiple stages of a project can help students create valuable problem-solving skills, especially when these projects involve collaboration. Utilizing projects allows students to be creative in how they navigate the problem and find valuable solutions through critical thinking and collaboration.

Using Real-World Problems

An interesting tactic to address the newest C’s (citizenship/culture and character/compassion) is to use real-world problems in the classroom. This technique integrates outside knowledge into the classroom and allows students to interact with real issues to learn about problem-solving in the real world.

Allowing students to explore scenarios they feel involved in means they are more likely to take ownership over their project, fueling their involvement and learning potential. This also helps expose students to relationships, culture, and dynamic issues they will face later in life. This interaction style can be paired with project learning to create an engaging, long-form learning process that helps target all of the 6 C’s.

Mix Things Up

Collaboration is vital to the classroom, and engaging in regular collaborative activity is a strong pillar of the 6 C’s. When left unbalanced, however, collaboration can stagnate, with familiar groups communicating in similar ways and falling into a regular pattern. 

Within your collaboration, it’s important to mix things up regularly. This means changing groups, problems, and layouts to facilitate new communication channels. Mixing groups is one of the most important pieces of effective collaboration because it ensures a healthy mix of perspectives, learning styles, and communication abilities. Facilitating regular balancing between background, gender, and relationships ensures that everyone is communicating with unique groups, expanding their collaboration toolbox.


Creating an effective curriculum isn’t easy, but when using the 6 C’s as your backbone, you can ensure that whatever you create will help facilitate important growth for your students. If you’re looking for a tool to help facilitate classroom collaboration, try Fresco’s online whiteboard.


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