"Do you ever find that young people, when they have left school, not only forget most of what they have learnt (that is only to be expected), but forget also, or betray that they have never really known, how to tackle a new subject for themselves? 1
- Dorothy Sayers 1947
LEARNING TO LEARN
One of the key elements of personalised learning is teaching students HOW to learn. 'Learning to learn' is a key component of the New Zealand Curriculum, with "complex problem solving, communication, team skills, creativity and innovation recognised as necessary skills for success." 2
The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:
Similar key competencies are outlined in countless articles and research documents, with the focus of key competencies more recently centred on digital literacy. Eric de Corte, as quoted in The 21st Century Learning Group report (2014) identifies a number of areas in which education needs to develop in order to sufficiently prepare students for the future:
“One dimension is the need to instil creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and entrepreneurial approaches. A second is to build digital literacy and media literacy. A third is to develop ‘adaptive competence’ — the ability to apply meaningfully learned knowledge and skills flexibly and creatively in different situations.” 3
EXAMPLES OF KEY COMPETENCIES
The Four R's
In Guy Claxton's book 'Building Learning Power', he outlines four key habits of the mind that are evident in successful learners:
The Six C's
Michael Fullan and Geoff Scott (2014) propose that learning goes beyond the development of fundamental skills and knowledge, to include the development of 'personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities that allow one to diagnose what is going on in the complex, constantly shifting human and technical conteext of real world practice and then match an appropriate response.' 4
Their model includes 'the Six C's':
What does this mean for us?
The consensus is that we need to equip students to be able to adapt to their uncertain and everchanging future environment. Therefore, changing our emphasis in education from teaching content to teaching skills is vital. Students will need to develop skills in:
King Solomon's statement "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9) is true for education today as we reflect on Dorothy Sayer's observations over 70 years ago:
"For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain." 5
1 Sayers, D. (1947). The Lost Tools of Learning. Presented at Oxford. Retrieved from https://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html
2 NZ Ministry of Education. (2015). New Zealand Education in 2025: Lifelong Learners in a Connected World [Discussion Document]. New Zealand: Author.
3 NZ Ministry of Education. (2014, May). Future-focused Learning in Connected Communities. New Zealand: 21st Century Learning Reference Group., p. 33.
4 Fullan, M. & Scott, G. (2014). Education Plus. Seattle, WA: Collaborative Impact SPC. pp.6-7
5 Sayers, D. Ibid.