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Mangere Bridge School – Teaching and learning with key competencies

The Mangere Bridge School digital stories raise many ideas about teaching and learning with key competencies.

Mangere Bridge school students.

The progress teachers are making in their understanding and use of the key competencies is shown by the three themes raised in the stories:

  • using tools to support key competencies
  • being explicit about when key competencies are being used, and using the language with students
  • having a sense of being "on the way...but not there yet".

Using tools to support key competencies

What’s happening?

Many teachers have been developing tools to use in teaching and learning to support the key competencies. These include classroom signage, templates, prompt cards, reflection guides, and the use of symbols.

What did we see at Mangere Bridge School?

At Mangere Bridge School the teacher used "evaluation cards" in a circle routine at the end of the day as a means of focusing students’ reflections on the key competencies.

Teachers discuss modelling and use of key competency language, and how students are using it to describe and reflect on their learning.

The students reflect on their day, using the key competencies:

  • An example of how I related well to others today is...
  • Participation was hard for me today because...
  • I was a successful thinker today when...

Considerations for moving forward

How might combinations of key competencies be used in such tools?

  • For example: linking key competencies by prompting consideration of the thinking that occurred in two different contexts involving relating to others

How might the tools promote deeper, more critical responses?

  • For example: including prompts that seek elaboration, rather than single response

    The card could read, for instance: "Participation was hard for me today because... and that makes me realise I should ..."

How might the tools embed richer understandings?

  • For example: How might the tool support moving students beyond thinking of 'participating and contributing' as involving only the school context, to also include local, national, and global contexts?
  • For example: How might the tool prompt students to consider how their choices in use of language influence others' responses?

Being explicit about key competencies

What’s happening?

A focus for many teachers as they have worked on key competencies in their programmes has been on making the key competencies explicit:

  • Seeking out examples of key competencies in action.
  • Using the key competency terms when giving feedback to students.
  • Encouraging students to use the terms (managing self, relating to others, and so on).

What did we see at Mangere Bridge School?

Several of the teachers talked about how their modelling and use of key competency language has "rubbed off" on students, who are now using the language themselves to describe and reflect on their learning.

Being explicit about KCs at Mangere Bridge.

Considerations for moving forward

Deepening what is made explicit 
How might other terms be given more emphasis alongside the names of the five key competencies to help deepen understandings?

  • For example: having students develop and add to the collection of tools using new language
  • For example: using the terms resourceful, reliable, or resilient alongside "managing self"

Making the complex and underpinning ideas explicit 
How might other aspects, besides the names of the key competencies themselves, also be made explicit to students?

  • For example: the integration of knowledge/skills/attitudes/values, the importance of dispositions, or the way key competencies change in different contexts

Being on the way... but not there yet

What’s happening?

At many schools, teachers have described a process whereby the more they explore the key competencies, the more potential they realise they have – implementing them does not mean an end-point, but an ongoing journey.

The more we learn about key competencies, it seems, the more we realise there is to learn.

Teachers talk about the progress made so far, and discuss the need to focus on students’ recognising and using key competencies with fewer prompts.

What did we see at Mangere Bridge School?

In the Mangere Bridge School example, the teachers talked both about the exciting progress that has been made and also their recognition that there’s more yet to do. They described a need to focus on students’ recognising and using key competencies with less need for prompts from teachers, for instance, and the need to integrate the key competencies rather than treat them as separate entities.

Key competencies at Mangere Bridge school.

Considerations for moving forward

Where to? 
Having a clear sense of where we want students, teachers, and programmes to be in terms of key competencies will be important in continuing the journey. Judy talked about wanting key competencies to be part of what happens everyday at school. What goals would support that happening?

Looking for opportunities to strengthen and improve, as well as acknowledging successes, is important. For example, in the "I was a successful thinker..." quote above, there is an opportunity to notice the learners' use of the key competency language, and her success in the length of writing. There is also an opportunity to notice how the teacher might support a broader understanding of what it is to be 'thinking'.

effective pedagogy
key competencies
teaching and learning

Updated on: 03 Aug 2010