Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Key Competencies for the Future

Key Competencies for the Future was release mid 2014 and explores the history, idealogy and understandings of New Zealand's Key Competencies.  The authors; Rosemary Hipkins, Rachel Bolstad, Sally Boyd and Sue McDowall look at the Key Competencies from many angles and examine the important place that they have within our curriculum.

Right from the start of this book there were key elements and statements that stood out to me that really highlighted the importance of the Competencies for teachers.  Particularly of interest was the concept of how even though the Competencies stand alone, they have to stand together.  You cannot also look at them in isolation and piecing the picture together of how they fit and work together in the wider world is key to us as educators supporting our students with them.

"Key Competencies are actually cross-cutting of each other.  We pull them apart to understand their individual character, but it's also important to stitch them back together when we put them to work in real contexts" - KCFTF (Key Competencies for the Future) Pg 16

I've really enjoyed following the VLN thread and webinar that happened as part of the Connected Educator Month - you can watch the webinar with 3 of the authors here.  It's worth the watch and listen, even if you aren't currently reading the book.

There are such a wide range of concepts that stood out to me personally and for my practice and I particularly enjoyed the thinking around 'wicked problems'.

Wicked Problems: the idea of students being involved in real future focused problems that have relevancy and impact for their world.  Concepts such as food security, sustainability, pollution and more.  These are large scale problems that are difficult or impossible for people to solve due to a number of reasons, such as perspectives, scale etc.  Read more on Wicked Problems here.  Through this I was questioning how really future focussed our practice and selection of negotiated learning avenues have really been?  Are they big enough with far reaching consequences that surpass the students' time in school.  At uLearn I have had the opportunity to attend workshops run by Tom Barrett of NoTosh - in these workshops I have begun to explore Design Thinking further.  Many comments and conversations with my colleagues during this workshop filtered back to themes and ideas from the Key Competencies for the Future book.  Particularly around Wicked Problems, provocations and the design thinking journey.

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