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Reconsidering the key competencies

This page outlines three thought provoking ideas to help you explore thinking as a key competency:

  • embodied thinking
  • assessment
  • deepening understandings

Embodied thinking

Thinking doesn’t only involve the brain, but is a dynamic connection between the brain and the body.

“This is body imagination at work, when the feel of muscle movement or physical tension or touch is enacted in order to think and create.”

(Bernstein, R. Sparks of Genius, p. 162)

Embodied thinking comprises kinaesthetic thinking and empathising – both a physical and emotional response.

  • How have you considered thinking as a physical and emotional response?
  • How can you create an environment where students can use their bodies to help them to think?

Assessing the key competencies

“Students need to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to question information, ideas, and experiences so that they learn about these competencies as tools that they can appropriate for their further learning and for their understanding of how they learn best.” 

(Hipkins, R. 2007, Assessing the key competencies: Why would we? How could we?

Key competencies integrate knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to help you do something that you couldn’t do before. This challenges us to think, therefore, about what we then assess.

  • Explore the question posed by Rosemary in the video: "If we say that fostering capabilities helps students to do something they couldn’t do before – isn’t it that “something” that we then want to assess?"

Deepening our understandings of the key competencies

Exploring the key competencies is an iterative process. It is not something that you master and tick off. The more you work with them, the more you will find out about the possibilities of the key competencies.

  • Discuss with your colleagues your exploration of the key competencies, your new learning, and your next steps.

Updated on: 26 Aug 2013