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Key competencies as capabilities

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NZC defines key competencies as "capabilities for living and lifelong learning" (p.12). The use of the word "capability" cues a focus on what students are capable of doing and becoming. This has implications for how we think about the types of learning experiences that will really stretch students as they encounter purposeful key competency/learning area combinations.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

In this interview, Rosemary Hipkins states that:

"One of the things that really struck us were that (all the teachers) had their sights on two levels. They knew exactly what they wanted to achieve in the learning in the episode that was captured. But all of them were also thinking about their learners in the future, and they had a much longer term aim in mind as well."

Consider this statement in your own school context. As a school, where are you at now? How could you get to a place where your school environment thinks about the key competencies in a future focused way?

Transcript

Thinking about the key competencies as capabilities is a very important way to frame them because if you do that you’re immediately focusing your attention on the child as a whole person. The person they are now, and the person that they’re capable of being and becoming in their future.  

And how you actually integrate that with what you want to achieve in the learning areas is a very important question. One of the things that really struck us (with all the teachers that we worked with on the key competencies indicators project) were that they had their sights on two levels. They knew exactly what they wanted to achieve in the learning in the episode that was captured. But all of them were also thinking about their learners in the future, and they had a much longer term aim in mind as well. That was something that we found really interesting because we didn’t necessarily know that was going to be the case, but as each of those stories came out it was very, very clear. 

When we started the project we were expecting to find quite big differences between what a particular competency might look like in a particular learning area. So we thought that, for example, managing yourself might look quite different when you were in the context of history say compared with managing yourself in the context of science. Although we did find some differences like that, we were quite surprised at the similarities across the learning areas. That in fact, an example is empathy - we found that in all learning areas there were opportunities for students to build the capacity for empathy, just in slightly different ways.


Published on: 23 Apr 2014


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