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Book Group #1: Key Competencies for the Future, with NZCER | from 3rd October

Started by Karen Spencer 14 Sep 2014 12:48pm () Replies (36)

NZCER Key CompetenciesWe are delighted that NZCER will be hosting the first NZ Book Group in Connected Educator Month this year.

The new publication, Key Competencies for the Future, will be spotlighted through webinars and online discussions. This is a wonderful opportunity for educators across New Zealand and beyond to come together online to talk to the authors and explore the themes in the book. Join Sally Boyd, Rose Hipkins, Rachel Bolstad and Sue McDowall as they share their thoughts on this popular new publication.

Recordings from the Book Group


Meanwhile, check out this video in which the authors, Sally Boyd, Rose Hipkins, Rachel Bolstad and Sue McDowall, talk about what some of their values are and how these values helped frame the discussions in their new book:



M logoBrought to you with the support of Microsoft, our National Connector partner.


  • Paul Scott, Mercury Bay Area School (View all users posts) 10 Oct 2014 8:03am ()

    Hello Everyone

    What a mind stretcher! Hats off once agian to the NZCER team, I love the way you write and express your thoughts and ideas.

    Truthfully, adressing the key competancies has been something of a 'tick-box affair' for the science learning area. I think our understanding of the key competancies is still too superficial. We have been doing much in designing a local curriculum (Y9 & 10) and are certainly making honest and genuine attempts at tackling 'wicked problems'. Add to this the fact that we are seeing a change in our content and to a lesser extent pedagogical delivery with the use of BYOD. Nearly all of our Y9 curriculum is now Moodle accessible!

    Our wicked problem solving has involved different inquiry approaches and this is where the key competancies are really surfacing! I can see and feel students grapling with the complexity of the issues and it is tough both cognitively and emotionally. But it is also a lot of fun and there is a real sense that what we are doing is meaningful and counts for 'something'. 

    Example ... Y9 students last year exploring the Antarctic toothfish fishery in the Ross Sea. We began by watching the NZ produced activist movie 'The Last Ocean' firmly against fishing. A hook that got many students suitably riled. But then to delve deeper. Is the harvesting of toothfish having or is going to have a measureable/detrimental impact on the rest of the ecosystem? In come the NIWA team with their expert fishery advice. Lets compare fishing strategies of the toothfish with other commercial fisheries - how do they compare? What is a precautionary approach to fishing? What does a catch limit of 3000t of toothfish look like? And CCAMLR with strangely, both a conservationary and controlled extraction role - a real tension here! A burning question for us: do killer whales rely on toothfish as a major part of their food scource while they are in the S Ocean? NIWA got to back to us with an answer: they don't really know and are talking with US Scientists to explore this question further. Our class thought of some creative ways to investigate this question. 

    In brief ....maths joined us to explore the tag and re-capture element of fisheries work. Social science looked at perspectives and science, ecosystems.

    The upshot ... well there was a lot more that I have not commented on and it all became wonderfully messy. Too 'hard' for Year 9? A massive cognitive challenge certainly. Importantly, I declared from the outset that I did not know the 'answer' so was embarking on the journey too! I was able to model different lines of questioning, confess to not having expert knowledge in areas of my own 'specialist' subject - science. Recognising that science did not have THE answer but could only inform based on best evidence.

    We finished with a debate. One of the intended 'assessment products'! I failed quite miserably in trying to assess this and quite frankly, happily gave up trying. Students 'judged' who had made the best points.

    So we were swimming around in key competancies! I have more of the book to read and I know this is going to help me in developing my own and students capabilities.


  • Paul Scott, Mercury Bay Area School (View all users posts) 13 Oct 2014 5:03pm ()

    How about this for a 'wicked problem'?:


    I have been supporting a beginning teacher who has been working 1:1 with a L2 student on an Education for Sustainability achievement standard. Co-constrcuting the activity and supporting the student has been quite time consuming. [The beginning teacher is Thomas Everth and he has not needed much in the way of 'support', he is totally embracing authentic learning! A name to watch out for now and in the future!]

    Yet again the key competencies emerge but we have not consciously identified or planned for these. 

    It might be worthwhile trying to identify and discuss them with the student at the end of this assessment? The capabilities are probably (but not wanting to assume) clearer to the teacher than the student. How about some sort of a matrix for the capabilities - is there soemthing we could use at this stage?

  • Paul Scott, Mercury Bay Area School (View all users posts) 16 Oct 2014 4:27pm ()

    Hi Rose!

    In my comment I was talking about ‘key competencies’ in general.

    I am mindful the role that the ‘Science Capabilities’ play in exploring wicked problems and this is where I have most confidence. What strikes me is that ‘Key competencies’ are also coming into play alongside the ‘Science Capabilities’- they blur. Seems rather obvious when I actually stop to think!

    The Science Capabilities have been helpful and I have been able to adapt them. For example working with a group of Y8 students only yesterday… we looked at the particle model (video/notes/quiz) and then students were asked “What would happen to the mass of a coke bottle when the top was unscrewed and the gas escapes”. Students were asked to “agree” with one of three hypothesis which involved a gain / loss / or no mass change to the bottle of cola. They were asked to draw a particle model diagram to help articulate their thinking. There was a diversity of ideas amongst the group, each idea being respected, and a willingness to have an open-mind. We will collect evidence by way of an illustrative experiment next week and those who got the wrong answer will be able to change it based on the evidence!

    I read an article of yours some time ago about ‘capabilities’ versus ‘competencies’ and I took from it the travel metaphor – capabilities suggesting a journey as opposed to competencies suggesting a destination or end point.

    The NZASE article is very helpful in “joining up the dots” between science strands and I really need to look at the KC & Effective pedagogy project!

    I would like to focus more consciously on the more personal ‘key competencies’. I think a guided self-assessment is best here and the role of a ‘coach’. That makes me think of Guy Claxton who talks about learning dispositions - I dipped into this 2 or 3 years ago now! I do like the way that ELLI makes some attempt at ‘measuring’ capabilities – a tool to start and carry on conversations. I have not taken the opportunity to use ELLI.

    I do like the backward mapping idea. My Y10 students have just completed the Schoolgen carbon footprint inquiry and it would be useful to have some ‘future focus’ discussions with them. As you point out some tool or framework to help both students and teachers would be useful.

  • Paul Scott, Mercury Bay Area School (View all users posts) 16 Oct 2014 4:38pm ()

    Hi Camilla

    I 'liked' your public spaces inquiy.

    It might interest you to know that in the UK there is a debate about banning smoking in outdoor public spaces.


    There is bound to be some better journalism than the Daily Mail but this is what google picked up first!

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