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21st Century Skills - Competencies without a Classroom Podcast - Episode 19 Recap

S2 E19: Gabriel Carillo - @EdTechBites
Griffin Jaeger
April 28, 2021

In our 19th #21for21 episode of Competencies without a Classroom, we interview the host of the EdTechBites Podcast - Gabriel Carillo. Gabriel has worn many hats in education over the years. He currently works as an instructional technology specialist in San Antonio, Texas. He dedicates his life to helping the individuals who help our students and is passionate about making the necessary culture shifts within classrooms, one classroom at a time.

Less is More With Gabriel Carillo

Gabriel is a big believer in the phrase - less is more.

What does that look like in the classroom? It means less work, but more thinking involved. Let's break this down.

When Gabriel was a fifth-grade teacher, he ran his classroom using the station model. He found planning for 3-4 different groups to be daunting. He set a goal to make his life easier, keeping his students in mind. By employing the less is more tactic, he stopped assigning 10-15 problems for his students in 3-4 groups to take home/work through and instead, assigned them three.

He realized that it is far more important for educators to see and hear students talk through and show the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they employed to work through a problem, rather than just giving the answer.

He instructed his students to take these few problems, dissect them/explain their thinking, and explain how they got the answer. At times, he even gave a problem with an incorrect answer and asked his students to explain their thought process in determining why the answer is incorrect.

Today’s employers are not worried about whether or not you can do something. Rather, they are more concerned with how you work with a group, think critically and problem solve.

By thinking around less is more, and scaling back what he asked his students to take home, more emphasis was placed on the thinking involved, than the answer itself.

In doing so, Gabriel’s students were able to showcase their thought process and understanding, while practicing skills like communication, collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Reflection Prompts for Your Students

Use the prompts below to have your students reflect on what they heard in the episode and consider how Gabriel’s advice can be applied to them.

  1. In this episode, Gabriel speaks on the value of showcasing your thought process in determining an answer to a problem. In your own words, how do skills like communication, collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking play a role in the process?
  2. If Gabriel was Superintendent and had to decide on one skill his students had to show evidence of in order to graduate, he would choose problem-solving. Describe a situation in which you were confronted with a roadblock in the way of completing a goal. How were you able to work around this roadblock and finish the task at hand? What 21st-century skills came into play?
  3. Gabriel’s favourite high school class was his communication elective, where he learned skills like public speaking and speech crafting. Why is communication such an important skill to learn and how does it play a role in our everyday lives? Identify 1-3 ways you practice communication and critical thinking in or out of the classroom.


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