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Integrating skill development into curriculum

Discussion in 'Education news' started by mijatovic75, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. mijatovic75

    mijatovic75 New commenter

    Dear Community,

    We are a group of dedicated students that set out to make education more holistic.
    Apart from things like calculus and essay writing, we want to integrate skill development ito the curriculum of elementary schools and high schools.
    When we talk about skills, we mean things like: leadership, compassion, teamwork, social skills, time management, etc...

    We want to develop solutions that speak to the people involved, so mainly teachers, students, and parents.

    We are really eager to hear your opinion on this!
    What do you think about the idea?
    What are important points for us to consider in our quest?
    Whom should we talk to?
    Any remark, hint, or criticism is welcome.


  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It sounds as if you want to introduce group work and group challenges to the curriculum. This can be good.
    Firstly you need to think about why you want to do this. Then you need to consider in what way the curriculum is lacking these skills. Only then do you start to change things.
    In the UK, groupwork is common in schools and children already should be developing these skills as part of the curriculum that already exists. I'm guessing that you're from North America - things are probably different, but I'm not sure how.

    Developing leadership is a tricky one; before someone can lead, they need to know how to be part of a group. They need to have built the skills and knowledge to be able to complete tasks.
    You possibly need to consider a more achievable remit. Integrating something into the whole of elementary and high school education only happens if you're director of education.
    I'd go for planning a terms work for one subject for year group.
    mijatovic75 likes this.
  3. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I would start by looking at the good practice that is already out there. You'll find lots of examples in the academic literature from across the world and you could look for specific examples such as the iSTEM+ approach. There are also numerous good examples of PBL where skills are taught alongside the academic content in the country you are currently in.

    As said above narrow your focus to a particular country/age range to start with. And if you're thinking of eventually monetising it, make sure you give it a nice two word catchy name (e.g. "Skilled Mindsets"). Managements teams in schools love that,
    mijatovic75 likes this.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I am a UK teacher, currently working at a British curriculum school in China. It is normal for individual teachers in the UK to incorporate a range of activities into our lessons in order to develop the skills you mention above, and additionally English teachers such as myself may choose texts intending to develop understanding, compassion or even morals - I recently taught 'Anne Frank', for example, which produced a compassionate response from our students when we delved into the historical context. I don't know how lessons are taught in the Netherlands, do your teachers not do as we do? If not, maybe they could arrange exchanges with nearby countries?

    As well as this, my school dictates that all subjects must incorporate a range of skills into our lessons on a regular basis - teamwork skills, IT skills, research skills and so on. So every 5 weeks or so we will give over one lesson to focus on one of these skills - for example, when we got to the end of Anne Frank my students used their research skills to find out some of the finer details about the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and then produced newspaper articles using that information. Each subject will interpret this in their own way - I don't know what the maths teachers do :) We give students awards for their contributions in these lessons/tasks.

    Alternatively, if you're looking for something student-led, you could ask your school to provide a 'maker space' (look on Google), or produce your own Ted Talks on topics that interest you.
    mijatovic75 likes this.
  5. mijatovic75

    mijatovic75 New commenter

    I agree.
    Much about group work is already out there. Maybe it changed since I attended school, but skills and the like were always seen as additional or nice to have. If there are time constraints, hammering in factual knowledge was always given priority.
    We are still in the early stages of our endeavors so we need to find our focus.
    But your suggestions definitely help!
  6. mijatovic75

    mijatovic75 New commenter

    This is something we are looking for.
    We know that there are good practices and people out there. However, we feel that this is still more a peripheral phenomenon. Private schools promote initiatives like this for years. The public schools I went to, were based on factual knowledge almost exclusively though.
    This is a good start I think.
    Thank you !
  7. mijatovic75

    mijatovic75 New commenter

    This sounds great!
    We are well aware that good people and practices are out there. I myself had the pleasure to meet dedicated teachers.
    What we think is less common is a systematic approach. Because for now mich is dependent on the teachers initiative and motivation. We want to leverage that and provide those teachers with a platform to do this more systematically.
    Including skills into the curriculum and grading would be one way to go, we think.

    What do you think ?

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