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The Mangere Bridge School digital stories raise many ideas about teaching and learning with key competencies.
The three themes raised in the stories help explain the progress teachers are making:
These themes are highlighted in the following tool, along with considerations for moving forward.
Many teachers have been developing tools to use in teaching and learning to support the key competencies. These include classroom signage, templates, prompt cards, reflection guides, and the use of symbols.
At Mangere Bridge School the teacher used ‘evaluation cards’ in a circle routine at the end of the day as a means of focusing students’ reflections on the key competencies.
How might combinations of key competencies be used in such tools?
For example: linking key competencies by prompting consideration of the thinking that occurred in two different contexts involving relating to others.
How might the tools promote deeper, more critical responses?
For example: including prompts that seek elaboration, rather than single response.
The card could read, for instance: 'Participation was hard for me today because...... and that makes me realise I should ......'
How might the tools embed richer understandings?
For example: how might the tool support moving students beyond thinking of participating and contributing as involving only the school context, to also include local, national and global contexts?
For example: how might the tool prompt students to consider how their choices in use of language influence others' responses?
A focus for many teachers as they have worked on key competencies in their programme has been on making the key competencies explicit:
Several of the teachers talked about how their modeling and use of key competency language has ‘rubbed off’ on students, who are now using the language themselves to describe and reflect on their learning.
Deepening what is made explicit
How might other terms be given more emphasis alongside the names of the five key competencies, to help deepen understandings?
Making the complex and underpinning ideas explicit
How might other aspects, besides the names of the key competencies themselves, also be made explicit to students?
At many schools teachers have described a process whereby the more they explore the key competencies, the more potential they realise they have - implementing them does not mean an end-point, but an ongoing journey.
The more we learn about key competencies, it seems, the more we realise there is to learn.
In the Mangere Bridge School example the teachers talked both about the exciting progress that has been made, and also their recognition that there’s more yet to do. They described a need to focus on students’ recognising and using key competencies with less need for prompts from teachers, for instance, and the need to integrate the key competencies rather than treat them as separate entities.
Having a clear sense of where we want students, teachers and programmes to be in terms of key competencies will be important in continuing the journey. Judy talked about wanting key competencies to be part of what happens everyday at school. What goals would support that happening?
Looking for opportunities to strengthen and improve, as well as acknowledging successes, is important. For example, in the 'I was a successful thinker...' quote above, there is an opportunity to notice the learners' use of the key competency language, and her success in the length of writing. There is also an opportunity to notice how the teacher might support a broader understanding of what it is to be 'thinking'.