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The inclusion of key competencies on planning templates is a common strategy used by teachers.
This discussion tool highlights some of the benefits and risks of key competency planning templates, and suggests some possibilities for consideration.
A typical approach is to include a section about key competencies on existing unit/term planning templates. Some look like the example below:
Having sections for each key competency is helpful in reminding teachers to consider all of the key competencies – those they are most likely to focus on as well as those they are less inclined to focus on.
Templates that provide space for each key competency can be used to monitor those given the most, and least, attention across a year or more.
Ensure to focus on deep, not just surface, aspects of key competencies
There is a risk, however, that the individual sections – thinking, relating to others, etc – prompt merely surface attention to the key competencies. They don’t prompt attention to some of the deeper ideas about, for example:
Ensure attention to rich application in authentic contexts, rather than to discrete skills
In this talk, Kellie McRobert explains how she has developed an e-Learning framework she calls 'e-competencies' and how these have been aligned with the key competencies.
The 'planning placemat' introduced by Kellie, for example, supports the benefits outlined above.
It ensures that students are exposed to both ‘e’ and ‘key’ competencies, and prompts teachers to consider both sets of competencies.
When using resources such as the planning placemat, it is important to keep the benefits in mind and avoid the risk of moving away from the rich experiences in which key competencies occur, to the discrete skills that are more characteristic of the old essential skills. The risk is that we begin to think more about coverage of key competencies rather than about the quality of opportunities to develop key competencies.
So how might planners be developed to strengthen approaches to key competencies?
How can we develop planners as tools that support strengthening quality of students’ experience, rather than just monitoring coverage of key competencies?
Include prompts, such as those outlined below, for teachers to consider and plan for. These prompts focus on the deeper ideas that sit across all of the competencies.
In this way, an activity could:
Rearrange the matrix format to allow for rich descriptions of activities or opportunities, rather than individual activities that are tied to one particular cell in a matrix.