What sorts of learning do both students and their teachers need to access if they are to be and become “confident, connected, and actively involved, lifelong learners”?
(NZC vision statement)
The framework provides nine deceptively simple questions that could underpin teachers’ inquiries into how well the key competencies are being embedded into learning. The notes below explain why initiative, connections, and challenge (ICC) were chosen to guide the overall shape of the framework.
The ICC indicator framework
|| Taking the initiative
|| Which KC do I plan to foreground and why? How will students know what my purpose is?
|| What relevant prior experience and knowledge might students have already? How do I plan to check?
|| What specific learning opportunity could this Key competency/Learning area mix create?
| In action
|| How am I modelling and encouraging the capability I want my students to build?
|| Are/how are students identifying relevant connections to other learning and prior experiences?
Have I got the right balance between challenge and capability? How do |
| Future focus
|| How have my students and I identified and documented their learning gains?
How might students |
use their strengthened capabilities in other contexts? What will support them to do so?
| What new insights about the challenges and opportunities in this subject might my students take forward?
Why “initiative” is a key idea
A focus on this aspect of competency development takes into account ideas such as student voice, learning to learn (including a focus on meta-cognition), assessment for learning, two and three way reporting, action competence, and so on. What characterises all of these is that the learner must be active in the learning process and the teacher needs to provide space for them to appropriately and confidently be so. As one teacher expressed, they need to be able to “stand on their own two feet” as learners.
The scope of “initiative” in this framework
- Learners need space to take initiative and directly experience what it feels like to be and become a “person who can” (become a confident learner in the multiple ways specified in the NZC vision statement).
This is about students’ agency as learners. Teachers need to create space for students to take initiative, and the students need to be sufficiently confident that they actually take up these opportunities when they arise. The catchphrase “ready, willing, and able” can be helpful for thinking about the attributes that confer both confidence and the necessary capabilities and inclination to act.
Initiative is not solely a personality trait. The ICC framework refers to the relationship between the student(s), their educational opportunities, and the ways they are able to take up and use these opportunities to advance their learning.
Why “connections” is a key idea
A sense of meaningful connection to the task at hand both invites and enables learning. A focus on this aspect of competency development takes into account ideas such as teaching in context, action learning, experiential learning, curriculum integration, transfer, and so on.
The scope of “connection” in this framework
- The NZC vision statement specifies multiple types of connections that must be established to enable cumulative, ongoing, and lifelong learning.
A focus on connections draws attention to continuity and coherence in the learning that students experience. Potential connections can only be realised by the students themselves (it is not enough that the teacher can see this potential). Therefore this aspect of competency development draws attention to both the incentives and the opportunities that teachers devise to support students to make meaningful connections for themselves.
This strand of the framework is about purposefully building meaningful links within and across learning areas, between types of experiences, and across a range of contexts including families, whānau, and communities. Often the learning will point to possible future connections: seeing a bigger purpose for the learning, in addition to immediate curriculum goals, which can be a powerful form of incentive.
Why “challenge” is a key idea
A focus on this aspect of competency development takes into account ideas such as personalised learning, critical inquiry, subject specific (critical) literacies, working “in the spaces between” participants, drawing on diversity as a learning resource, and so on.
The scope of “challenge” in this framework
- NZC states that “students need to be challenged and supported to develop them (the key competencies) in contexts that are increasingly wide-ranging and complex” (NZC, p. 12). Being busily engaged is not enough: the learning must also stretch students.
Challenge is about using, transforming, critiquing, and generating knowledge for purposes that students recognise as worthy of their effort. Students will be actively involved in using knowledge: the aim is that they will be and become participants and contributors, not just recipients.
Using knowledge appropriately entails learning about the knowledge building processes relevant to a learning area (the ‘nature’ of the subject).
Published on: 08 Apr 2014
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