Making the most of Key Competencies

From surface level use of KCs To deep level use of KCs Getting there (examples from the field)
Localising Curriculum Teachers use written and visual prompts to remind students and parents about KCs and how they fit with other aspects of learning/wellbeing.

Students use KCs, independent of teacher prompts, to show their capabilities in their learning. The KCs reveal what students can do and how they go about it.

Teachers are deliberate in the way they support students to use the KCs in the breadth of their learning experiences – both in and outside school.

Teachers encourage students to ask one another for information, evaluate one another’s ideas and monitor each other’s work. This teaching approach strengthens students’ capabilities as learners.

"In our learning it’s all about trust. We show how we can manage ourselves and our learning." – student

Localising Curriculum Schools develop student-centred curricula by including KCs in documentation and expectations for teaching. Students have opportunities to engage and contribute to new ways of thinking about learning. They actively use and build knowledge.

Teachers actively support students to use a variety of thinking tools to decide how they go about their learning. For example, students ask themselves:

  • what am I going to do with this information?
  • how are we going to use information to help our learning?

Findings from a school-administered survey helped leaders to modify the original, unmanageable set of school dispositions. The dispositions now better represent the KCs and are in ‘child-speak.’ Because of this work, the KCs are more relevant to students and they use them in their learning/wellbeing.

"You show key competencies by actually doing them, and knowing you are doing them." – student

Setting Conditions Teachers and leaders reward students with certificates for exhibiting behaviours that demonstrate some of the KCs (extrinsic). Students independently and intuitively use KCs as part of their everyday learning (intrinsic).

Teachers negotiate with their students’ learning/wellbeing goals informed by the KCs. They have learnt ‘to take a step back’ to provide opportunities for students to determine how they go about their learning. Students contribute reflections to their personal reports by referring to how well these goals are met.

"They (KCs) are just woven through everything. They are easy to figure out and use." – student

Setting Conditions Teachers support students to use some KCs to cooperate with others by completing tasks in a helpful manner.

Students use all KCs to collaborate* with others to develop new understandings and ways of learning.

* Working together on an intellectual endeavour – more than just being helpful.

School leaders and teachers have authored a picture book to help students understand the importance of working with others to enhance their learning/wellbeing.

Students are inspired by two bird characters. The tūī learns lessons from the wise kōtuku about how it can learn ‘to fly high by being a problem solver, confident communicator, self manager, team player, and connected learner.’

"They (KCs) are for us and the teachers. When we learn about things, we choose which KCs we are working on." – student

Setting Conditions

‘Managing self’, ‘relating to others’, and ‘participating and contributing’ are likely to be framed as social skills.

‘Using language, symbols and texts’ is seen as the literacy and numeracy competency.

KCs are viewed as overlapping and supporting each other and applicable to all learning. To separate them is seen as diluting their overall, positive impact.

KCs strongly underpin the school’s vision and contribute to positive interactions. Students demonstrate them in meaningful ways, and in a variety of settings. They direct their learning by using KCs in a holistic way.

Students learn in an environment that promotes whanaungatanga and collaboration. Concepts referred to in waiata support students to understand how the KCs interrelate and help us to achieve, through our lives.

Setting Conditions

KCs are taught as part of integrated inquiry topics that include aspects of science, social sciences, health, technology and the arts.

Students are supported by teachers to bring their diverse life experiences, ideas, and insights to all aspects of their learning/wellbeing, including the KCs.

Personalised, deliberate teaching supports students to regulate their learning. Teachers notice, recognise and respond to students’ strengths and emerging requirements. They select KCs to help each student engage with the learning they are involved in. Students use and practise these competencies in a variety of learning contexts.

"Our school has a picture on the wall – a wave and a beach. You get to decide where to put yourself in the picture. You could be still on the beach, or paddling, or out riding the wave." – student

Evaluating Effectiveness

KCs are seen as an important dimension of the curriculum, sometimes referred to as soft skills.

Their influence on children’s learning and wellbeing is often viewed by teachers as being too difficult to evaluate.

KCs are considered as essential to ensuring student success as confident, connected, lifelong learners.

Evaluation actively involves students gauging the quality of their learning, and for identifying next steps.

In the process of strengthening the school’s evaluation processes, students are asked by teachers to notice when their learning gets harder and talk about what they did when this happens:

  • How did you do that?
  • How could you help someone else to do that?
  • How did you feel when you got stuck?
  • How did you manage yourself when you felt like giving up?
  • What strategies did you use?
  • What did you say to yourself?

The board receives regular reports about how well students use the school’s learner attributes (including KCs) in their learning/wellbeing.

Students ask one another for information, evaluate one another’s ideas and monitor each other’s work. This aspect of the school’s curriculum initiative supports students to think of ways to improve how they think, establish effective relationships, and give direction to their learning.

The language associated with KCs is used by students at the three-way conferences with parents and whānau. Children share their progressions in relation to the KCs, using evidence they have gathered.

"We talk about the KCs in relation to our learning before, during and after our work." – student