Tony Gurr

Will the REAL 4C’s Please Stand Up…

In Classroom Teaching, Curriculum on 21/10/2011 at 10:20 am

4Cs (logo 4 hands) Ver 02

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I had come across the 4C’s – I had to own up and said the only ones I knew of were from “sales & marketing” (giving away my background in “economics and banking” – did not go down well with my “trainee teachers”, especially ones who love the idea of Wall Street being taken over by the “people”)!

Had to have a “gander”…


Shock, horror….the web is awash with talk of the 4C’s – but not always the 4C’s of allthingslearning. For example, did you know that the 4C’s are also used in – Marketing (knew these ones), Healthcare, the Retail Business and (even) the Diamond Business?

The first set of 4C’s I stumbled on was because of a friend’s blog – and I was “directed” to a website called simply 4C. This site is run by Tyson Seburn, an educator in Toronto, and he has a lot to say about professional development for teachers – especially ELTers interested in tech and design. His 4C’s are:

Community Collaborate Connectivism Consulting

But, I guessed that last one of his meant I was barking up the wrong tree! That having been said – it’s a great site!




Then I got a bit “lost” – some surfing on the waves of the “21st Century Teacher” took me to the ACTFL site (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). And…blow me down if I didn’t find the 5C’s (of foreign language education):



That looked promising – but then I noticed “comparisons” and thought “Mmmmmmm….“!



Spoilt for choice, I decided that procrastination was my best option

– and so decided to “delay” my research (and this post).


Twitter….to the rescue. Out of the blue, a few days later, a tweet led me to come across what I thunk I was looking for – the 4C’s I had originally been told about:

4Cs (logo 4 components) Ver 02


Ahhhh – that’s better, I thought…


I liked the way this set covered the priorities we need to have for kids (and teachers) as we walk down the road towards the Brave New World that is unfolding before us – and this one also included “creativity“!

But, there’s one final twist to this story!


I once heard it said that “coincidence” is what we call something when we can’t see the “levels or pulleys”…So, yesterday morning I was pulling all my stuff together to finally do this post – I get another tweet, from Stephen Covey this time, (not a personal one, mind) saying – “…rid yourself of the five Emotional Cancers“:


Bloody hell…all this digital stuff is getting a bit much – need to “unplug” a little!


Of course, Covey’s 5C’s were not what I had in mind – but they do “contrast” nicely with the new “kids” on the block. Afterall, isn’t it easy (in “uncertain times”) to get all wrapped up in negativity?

The 4C’s do not do this – they represent a constructive, positive and optimistic “way ahead” for those of us that have lost faith in the “McCurricular” we are so-often asked to serve up our LEARNers.


Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, has been running a great “series” on his Edutopia-based blog the past few weeks. In this series, he has been outlining how schools and districts can implement the P21 Framework for Learning (developed to assist teachers get their heads around the LEARNing outcomes that students need to become effective citizens, parents and employees in the 21st Century).


There are THREE reasons (I tried to come up with FOUR – but these worked fine) why I like this work:

  1. The P21 guys have taken the care and time to prepare a cool video that neatly shows the “challenge” – helping kids take it “above and bejond”.
  2. They have established solid links with Project-Based Learning – a favourite at Edutopia – that aims to encourage learners to explore real-world problems and challenges with a view to creating more active and engaged LEARNing.
  3. They have also paid attention to the practical steps that schools can take to “breathe life” into the 4C’s (often a “missing” ingredient with models like this).


Ken hasn’t quite finished all of his “steps” – but the final two (6 and 7) are on the way very soon. Why not take a look at the first few (and keep yours eyes open for the others):

My LAST word on this…a “big”
…to all the steps!
P.S: Since I first published this post, Ken had finished his wonderful series (and the book that goes with it). Check it out!
  1. Yes, I’m now acutely aware of the 4C concept in several industries (although I thought Marketing’s were 4Ps). Most incarnations are positive and that’s what’s important. I like, however, how my site was the first you were directed to. Thanks for the mention. =)

    • T – great to hear from you (sorry for the delay – was travelling). Yes, I love your blog (good fresh approach) – almost entered the competition but thought it was best to let others have a shot at the books (yes, I’m a nice guy) LOL…. Yep – you are right about the 4Ps in marketing. I think the shift to the C’s was to help someone publish a paper or two 🙂 But, I was shocked to see how widespread the C’s are. I had a chat with Ken and he told me that he was working with the guys who “coined” the phrase in education (I’ll let you know as soon as I hear from them) – they did not include “consulting” – so you have to tell me why you included this 🙂 Take care – keep up the great work. T..

      • Thanks for the blog compliment. =) When I was choosing a new name for my business (it used to be Coursetree), I thought of the words that mean the most to me in our industry, those three came first to me and then since I also need to make money, I added on the fourth, ‘consulting’. I looked around for the domain name and every combination of 4C that existed had nothing to do with ELT. Funny how now I see it all over the place. 😉

        Love your blog too. Cheers!

      • Thx Ty – Ahhhhh, that makes sense 😉

        BTW it was Dave (Dodgson) who put me onto your blog 😉 Take care..


  2. Reblogged this on allthingslearning and commented:
    A few weeks back I did a post that tracked my own search to uncover what exactly the 4Cs were….you see, I’d been seeing a lot of the 4Cs around (no pun intended) – and a couple of people asked me what I thought about them (esp. those people who also liked the 5Es

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