There are numerous articles and many research papers which argue for the focus of schooling to shift from high stakes testing to a greater development of social skills and enterprise skills for a changing world. One such article written by Bill Lucas in 2016 stated,
“Too often we focus too narrowly on literacy and numeracy when these are only the beginning. We become obsessed with school subjects rather than thinking more broadly about the capabilities which will be valuable in the real world.”
The importance of social skills and enterprise skills are reflected through the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum.The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) requires schools to develop a number of capabilities in young people in addition to literacy and numeracy. These include
- information and communication technology (ICT) capability,
- intercultural understanding,
- ethical understanding,
- personal and social capability, and
- critical and creative thinking.
Those capabilities, as ACARA states, “play a significant role in the Australian Curriculum in equipping young Australians to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.”
We know that the social skill development and the enterprise skill development are foundational to the work of educators across early learning, primary and secondary schools. We also know that students with well developed social skills and enterprise skills are increasingly hopeful, resilient and engaged participants in their local and global communities. Such dispositions are credible leading indicators for life success as compared to the lagging indicators such as HSC, VCE, ATAR and NAPLAN test scores.
As part of establishing any new school, foundation staff are presented with a blank canvas to deeply consider ‘what matters’. Social skills and enterprise skills matter! One of the challenges we have taken on at St Luke’s is to ‘bring to prominence’ the social skills and enterprise skills students need for a changing world.
As such, at St Luke’s Catholic College, staff have engaged with a process which aligns the ACARA General Capabilities with our ‘6 Pillars’ of learning. These pillars are:
- WITNESS by living the Good News as revealed through the Gospel of St Luke
- MANAGE self
- RELATE with others
- COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE with peers and experts
- THINK CREATIVELY and CRITICALLY through deep and rigorous reflection
- Be DIGITALLY LITERATE.
- has a rationale with reference to the Australian Curriculum and explains its importance in our context
- contains a number of elements from various General Capabilities, and
- adopts the continuums from those elements to describe the relevant attitudes, behaviours, skills and dispositions relevant to each stage of learning.
Here is a sample…
Overall, the ‘6 Pillars’ assist teachers to plan for the development of social skills and enterprise skills as students engage with the curriculum. The ‘6 Pillars’ figure prominently when preparing and evaluating student learning and are priorities when we provide feedback to students. Furthermore, there is the commitment for students to increasingly self reflect and peer assess the ‘6 Pillars’, as well as provide real time feedback to parents about each child’s development along the ‘6 Pillar’ continua. This work will not be easy but it will be worthwhile!
As always, comments, feedback and questions are welcome.
Until next time.