Thursday, October 16, 2008

Essential skills have they got it right?

In another reflective practice meeting the unearthing of the obvious about the NZC was stated through another set of eyes. 5 team leaders, barb, mumbleboy and myself were talking 4 minute walkthroughs with Tony Burkin when discussion led to NZC. Tony shared a discussion he has had with colleagues about the "business" model of polarity thinking that has been applied to the Key Competencies. "What"! you say, thats what I said.
Polars are opposites and often polarity decisions are made - yes/no - black/white 
There is often a lot of ground in a decision between yes or no. If you were asked a simple question, "can we go to the all black test". The answer "no" is at the end of one polar and "yes" the other. But there can be a thousand other answers that fit between yes and no. Answers like "if we can get tickets" or "it depends on the weather".
Here was Tony's little gem - 
If we look at the key competencies managing self then its polar opposite is  relating to others.
If we look at Thinking its polar opposite is - doing - participating and contributing.
Does this mean that all other skills that we can think of are jammed somewhere between these opposites? Are we therefore covering the whole range?
If we plot this on a chart does this polarity thinking clarify things and make sence?

It's nothing new but just helps with clarity.
I suppose your question is: Where is languages symbols and texts it's a key competency?
True it is a Key Competency, and its a fancy way of describing Numeracy and Literacy. And Numeracy and Literacy needs to be taught explicitly where as the other 4 essential skills arent as clear cut.

So a simple model to ensure you are on the right path might be: Polars + Numeracy and Literacy = Winning


Pedro said...

I liked Tony's idea, but there are others that work too.

1. Internal(thinking,m/self) Vs External (relating,paticpating) with language as the bridge between.

2. Who says names at the end of lines are polarities? Julia Atkin's Hermann brain model doesn't, and allows inclusion of all combinations as a result. And why not? I can think of plenty of times I'm doing two at 100%.

3. I also challenge Tony's idea that Relating to others is the 'greatest distance' from managing self. What of relating to the environment? Ask anyone who's done an OPC camp solo. There be learnin in them thar hills.
And relating to 'God' ? ( No... let's not go throwing THAT puppy in the curriculum..) but it can be very powerful learning and it doesn't fit the polarity model.

Perhaps the guts is that the curriculum model is smaller than the 'model of all great ways to learn'. That's understandable, and a bit of a concern.

Love Tony's work though, and his idea that we need to put this stuff in action for US is mint.

Podgorani said...

As you point put pedro the discussion is worth ten times the so called answer. And your observations will then kick on to more discussion and clarification. What came through is how we as a school look at our learning contexts and their direct relationship to the key competentcies.
By the way the whole god thing... Can of worms ...