The Six Essential C’s
Hubbell & Goodwin (2013) say that teaching’s true goal should be to develop deep knowledge and a real understanding. This means to be able to process ideas in a coherent fashion and take in different learning aspects while being to apply them in different situations. Developing this deep knowledge is what really sets what is learned in a student's mind. If a student can't take the knowledge that they've learned and apply it in a different situation besides the classroom then what good is it to them? I feel that one of the larger goals of being a teacher is teaching students how to learn and apply knowledge in different ways. ‘The Six Essential C’s’ that Hubbell & Goodwin mention, curiosity, connection, coherence, concentration, coaching, and context can help teachers to develop that type of deeply connected knowledge in their students.
As for the lesson that I will be teaching in week 7, one can see the curiosity ‘C’ of the ‘Six C's’, which Goodwin says is hard to quantify but is teachable (2014), in the essential guiding questions that were developed in module 2. Those questions deal with real life application of the math in the unit. This application takes the form of the question, “How many of something can I buy with a single bank note?” This question, I hope, will spark the curiosity in the students of wondering exactly how many candies they can buy, or however many funny colored rubber bands, or whatever it is they might want, so that they start feeling tat curiosity of how they can maximize their allowance.
The connection ‘C’ of the ‘Six C’s’ can be seen in my lesson plan in the fact that I have described how to support a connection for the students by having them recall and solve smaller division and multiplication problems. When I talk about showing students the small steps that go into solving long division that means that they have to recall their 1 through 5 times tables and also how to divide by those numbers. This shows connection again in the fact that long division isn't a new concept to them, it's just an application of previous smaller concepts into a larger whole. This type of connection shows them that their math learning is like building blocks, they take small pieces and put them together to form a larger structure of knowledge.
The coherence ‘C’ of the ‘Six C’s’ can be seen in the guiding questions and the connection of small pieces of knowledge being put together to form a larger structure of knowledge. As Hubbell & Goodwin (2013) write “Teachers need to explicitly spell out connections patterns and the larger meaning of what students are learning.” (p. 143). The connections are shown in the small problems being put together to solve the larger multiplication and division problems, the patterns are explicitly shown in that same fashion of putting together the small pieces to create the larger whole, and the larger meaning is shown in the guiding questions. These all come together to form coherence for the students to show them the larger meaning of why the math that they are learning in this unit is important to them.
The concentration ‘C’ of the ‘Six C’s’ states that in order to process information that might be new students need time, which is pretty intuitive. This time that is needed can be with a teacher, with peers, or by themselves (Hubbell & Goodwin, 2013). In my lesson plan concentration is seen in the final phase of the explicit teaching format: the ‘You do’. ‘You do’ is when students take what they have learned in the lesson and use it to accomplish a task, most of the time alone, but sometimes as part of a partner project. They have time during this take to synthesize their recalled, or newly learned information, and complete problems based around that information.
The coaching ‘C’ of the ‘6 C’s’ can been seen throughout my lesson plan. Coaching involves letting students learn through trial and error, letting students use procedural and declarative knowledge, and letting students start to develop the proper procedures of problem solving. The type of instruction that I use in my math lesson is explicit instruction and explicit instruction is pure coaching. Whether it is the meta-cognition in the ‘I do’ phase, the student input with teacher guidance in the ‘We do’ phase, or the guided independent practice of the ‘I do’ phase, every single part of the lesson involves, and indeed needs, coaching.
The last ‘C’ of the ‘Six C’s’ is context. As Hubbell & Goodwin (2013) state on "[If students can] find real world applications for what they're learning, the new knowledge is more apt to find its way into long-term memory." (p. 144). This real-world application can be seen in the guiding questions. The Guiding question of walking into a store and being able to figure out how many pieces of candy can be bought with 500,000 VND is about as real world of an application as you could hope for. Fortunately, with 3rd-grade math I am teaching the students the foundations and building blocks for more advanced math in the later grades. In addition, this type of foundational math is also the type of math that they will be using in their real-world applications of life: paying bills, splitting payments on dinners out, planning vacations, and all the other various applications of multiplication and division that I believe are applied in every person's life every day. If I can relay this type of context to the students, then I believe that the knowledge will find its way into their long-term memory.
Helping students to be curious, to make connections, to have coherence within those connections, to be able to concentrate enough to be curious and have that coherence, all the while coaching them and providing them context is the underpinning framework of teaching. This is not something easily done and takes time to be able to master and to relate to students fully. However, these ‘Six C's’ can provide a framework with which to teach students the best that we can.
Hubbell, E. R., & Goodwin, B. (2013). The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day. ASCD.
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Benjamin Snitker. A master's candidate at Colorado State University-Global Campus.