Pigeon Mountain Primary School

Readings for Term 3 2008
Year 6

Boyd & Watson (The Process: How the school introduced KCs)

The article made the Key Competencies quite complicated!
A benefit of introducing one KC into a school-wide theme is that chn and staff gain indepth knowledge/understanding of that KC and how it is being used. This could work for us next year with our living and giving (e.g., participating and contributing). The matrix gives a scaffold to the KC (provides specific indicators) which will be helpful to chn, teachers and parents. However, I also think that this might be a little restrictive (there are other ways in which these KCs could be observed/explained—other examples that could be used—there are infinite possibilities). Chn are capable of self-reflection about the KCs and of articulating how they might be using or not using the KCs—once they’ve been given opportunities to learn about them. The chn in my old school were expert at self-reflecting about the KCs because they’d had the opportunity to develop their skills. I think that self-reflection is a better assessment tool for KCs than a matrix or a continuum. Self reflection also recognizes that chn will achieve different levels of success in different situations and that it is not possible to identify someone as having a certain “level” or “achievement” in a KC in all situations.

Tanya Hampton

Treadwell (Establishing Key Competencies)
Again the article seemed unnecessarily complicated. I strongly agree that the KCs should be at the heart of our learning going forward. The KCs are very complex, and therefore I don’t think that they can be easily encapsulated in a matrix (see above article). Our ability to use the KCs will differ with each situation and with prior skills/knowledge (transferred) to the situation. I’m not convinced that re-wording them as “capabilities” will make them any easier to assess. Definitely chn should be reflecting and asking questions about their thinking, learning and behaviour. I also agree with the concept of providing just-in-time learning/opportunities rather than just-in-case learning—and this applies to KCs. I also agree that learners need to be taught to develop an understanding of each competency so that they can understand and transfer their understanding to new situations and so that they can become life-long learners

Tanya Hampton

Year 5

Due to a changing world it is very difficult to predict the future. Emphasis would therefore have to shift from a skills and knowledge approach to a focus on core competencies to ensure effective learning. Schools would therefore need to include core competencies in their curriculum and ensure that learners grasp the new core competencies and are competent enough to engage in active learning.
Because competencies are more complex than skills, people need those capabilities to live, learn and contribute as active members of their communities. Capabilities are linked to competencies and each involve the application of knowledge, cognitive skills, practical skills, attitudes, emotions, values and ethics and motivational qualities that reflect the competencies an individual may display.
To facilitate the development of lifelong learning it is necessary to slowly devolve responsibility for learning to the learner and this would take time. The learning focus would have to be on the needs of the learner and not just to deliver knowledge.
Metacognition is therefore critical to competencies. The learners should be able to think about their own learning, actions, attitudes, values, motivation and thinking to develop into lifelong learners who drive their own learning journey.
By balancing the development of discrete skills with core competencies, learners can concentrate less on achieving specific skills and more on developing appropriate knowledge, attitudes, values and personal qualities that allow generic skill sets to be better identified and employed in real world situations as they are required in a Just In Time (JIT) manner.
The educator needs to balance classroom pedagogy (direct instruction) with andragogy (facilitated learning) to provide the learner with opportunities to practise managing their own learning. When competencies are combined with explicit learning intentions and good learning dispositions, the ability to develop confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners is achievable. Competencies should therefore be central to any 21st century curriculum.

Antonia Nicholas

Term 3 ICTPD Cluster Readings
The process: How the school introduced key competencies: A case study.
Boyd, S and Watson, V (2008)
Relevant Points
o Important that all staff are involved in the process and have ownership of the key competencies.
o Planning to be structured around school wide themes. Need to source authentic learning opportunities
o Having a step by step plan to introduce the key competencies
o The formation of a team to develop the key competencies matrix.
o Teacher Feedback suggested changing teacher practise is a challenge. Many teachers are on different stages of the continuum and that time and support needed to be given to keep them moving ahead.
o Reporting formats need to be changed to fit in with the key competencies.
o Parents need to be consulted and educated about the key competencies.
o Student feedback suggests students were more positively engaged in their learning through key competencies. They found it more exciting and challenging. They can apply skills they have learnt to other areas of their life.
o Children find they spend too much time passively listening and not enough one to one explanation. This could be helped by giving more access to interactive computer programmes.
o Key competencies and integrated learning was an evolving process.

Leigh Steele

Integrated use if ICT in primary schools: A case study of a high-decile school
o ICT is a tool that can enhance learning opportunities
o ICT incorporation in the classroom programme is an effective way to motivate learning – learning activities are based on authentic contexts.
o Children in schools where ICT is successfully integrated in class programmes, regardless of socio-economic status, achieve highly across the curriculum.
o A major barrier stopping ICT being an effective learning tool is the lack of access to technology, such as lack of computers available for students’ use or computers that are too slow.
o The success within the school is dependent upon continual support given to teachers from principal and lead ICT teachers as well as receiving technical support so issues/problems can be dealt with.
o ICT needs to meet the present and future needs of the school (including staff and students).

Leigh Steele

Year 4

Year 3

Year 2
Reading 3—a case study of a high decile school.
Essentially the article concluded that a major barrier to the effective use of ICT in schools is the access to this technology. An average classroom needs at least 6 computers available to students plus the use of a suite of computers for a whole class to use.
It has been found students achieve more highly across the curriculum in ICT rich environments. The principal and lead ICT teachers play a pivotal role in fostering and resourcing ICT rich environments and it often helps to use outside agencies for extra help when moving to an ICT rich learning environment.
Jane Davies