Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How are schools approaching the key competencies?

I have been privileged over the last few months to visit four schools which have been identified as doing some interesting things with the key competencies. All of these schools have approached things in very different ways with one important thing in common, it is a shared journey between staff, students, and school community.

One school noticed how the Habits of Mind can be aligned with the key competencies, so they began their journey by enhancing what they were already doing with HOM with the KCs. They broke the HOM into groups that could sit under each key competencies which would help the students to understand the depth of the KCs by each HOM which supported it.

Another school also saw the benefits of linking the HOM and KCs however they also noted that different HOM might look different within each KC and they weren't a perfect fit. This school started looking at different words, for example 'Responsibility'. What does that word look like when viewed through a 'managing self' lens? or through a 'thinking' lens? or through a participating and contributing lens? for example. This school was looking at the complexity of the KCs, their connections and how they looked different in different learning areas.

The UNESCO four pillars of education formed a third school's entry point into the KCs. This school looked at how the KCs sat within learning to do, to be, to know, and to live together.

And the last school looked at how KCs contributed to their school culture, and how creating an inclusive caring culture with KCs at the heart can support students to not only learn to their full capacity but to become the people the KCs exemplify.

These four schools have many things in common:
  • Leadership is leading - The passion is evident in these leaders, they know what is happening in their schools as they are leading the charge.
  • Leadership is distributed - In all of these schools the passion is shared among the staff who feel the freedom to run with their ideas and contribute to the direction.
  • Voices are evident - Students, staff and parents are knowledgeable about what is happening in these schools and have a vested interest. Students can articulate the shared vision and demonstrate partnership in their learning.
  • Building on what is already happening - These schools did not start from scratch. They took a step back to look at what was happening in their schools, what was contributing to student outcomes and then looked at how to enhance that with the new curriculum.
I'm reminded of the reflection strategy of the traffic light.

What is not working? Stop doing it!
What is working well? Continue with that!
What new ideas can move you forward? Get going!