personal and social capability

Personal and Social Capability ACARA

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How to make hard choices


In  area of social management students have to be able to:


  • communicate effectively
  • work collaboratively
  • make decisions
  • negotiate and resolve conflict
  • develop leadership skills


Making hard decisions is something we can learn . If we are not able to make those sorts of decisions then we can neither further ourselves nor others. A lack of capacity to make hard decisions might also lead to conflict and poor communication. Any leader has to have a real competency in being able to deal with hard decisions and a capacity to find the solutions and work arounds. Making hard decisions means you can further yourself, others, your team or organisation but it also reinforces your own sense of self and your self confidence. Ruth Chang very carefully explains how this all works and even though her talk is more suited to an older audience, the substance of it and the arguments and ideas upon which it is predicated are things which we can pass on to  secondary students. The foundation belief of reasoning and reasons are what will enable someone to make those tougher decisions which always need to be made in order to change their life in a big way.


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Goal setting

I love little videos like this. They are engaging, they are uplifting and they make you feel like you can change and achieve. Goal setting comes up under self-management in the ACARA personal and social capability and I think the one step at a time is a good way to help students manage their approach to changing themselves for the better and getting what they want. They can use graphic organisers and mind maps to help themselves to work out the steps. It would be a good exercise to allow them to discuss their hopes and plans with others too. There would be all sorts of ways they could visually represent these steps so it would be an interesting visual and creative exercise too.

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Focus on solutions

This video is made from a sales team point of view. Obviously schools are not about that but the concept of focussing  on solutions rather than problems is a good way to create team work, collaboration and participation in leadership activities . These are all indicators of the Social Management element of the Personal and Social Capability. The video gives you a clear idea of how you could approach students differently to get better outcomes with these indicators. It is about helping them create a new approach and perspective for themselves. More importantly the video highlights how you need to take the student from how they see themselves through a journey to help them reshape their social management skills.

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My action plan

action plan template -excel

action plan template – excel

Image : how to be organised

We are following Dylan William’s guidelines for building a teacher learning community and so I have to submit an action. At the moment the plan is a bit out of kilter with what we were discussing in our group yesterday because we were looking at exploring an element and seeing how that would play out in real life in our classrooms. I think in the end the two will mesh quite well. I am using my year 8 class to look at self-awareness and self-management. I shall then blog about it and in the mean time look at things which will help fulfill the goals on my plan:

Teacher Learning Community Australian Curriculum foci:

What is one thing that you will find easy to change in relation to the Australian Curriculum capability or cross-curriculum priority that is the focus of your TLC?

I have looked at the P&S capability quite closely. Much of it comes from what we were doing in student wellbeing which is part of our core teaching strategy these days. Much relates to TeFL and I am getting to know that pretty well. It is also something I have had to address in depth as a year level manager and member of school services team.

What difference do you expect it to make to your practice?

I think I will attend to details better and it will encourage me to keep the student teacher feedback loop going. Much of it lends itself to good classroom/individual discussions around social and personal issues and gives you a way of talking about these things more directly because it is there as part of a national expectation. I see it as a very positive approach. It might escalate workload if we have to assess 32 students and a number of classes in these competencies.

What is one thing that you would like to change that will require support?
What help will you need?

I have found with Wellbeing and now with my Personal and Social Capability blog that it is not something which particularly has traction in the blogosphere or on the internet. The world does not want to know about social development and wellbeing as such. It is seen as alternative and a bit silly. Hard to believe, but it is a fact. I need to find ways of giving it traction and that will require support to find out what Netizens respond to. Mark McCrindle will probably be of help. He has a good online image and can make these sorts of things work online.

What other changes would you like to make later on in the year?
What help might you need?

I don’t know. This is a voyage of discovery and will need to be journeyed and journaled. I need to know we are interpreting the indicators in the same way and that we have a sound understanding of what we mean when we talk about the elements. I also want us to know that the indicators for each element really do apply to that element. That kind of clarity and agreement are essential if we are to teach these things across the nation. I am also wondering if there is a difference between if we apply them to individual students and then to whole groups/classes. Every student has to be able to attain these capabilities so I am assuming it is done individually but there is justification in working on them as a class approach.

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Brain rules

brain rules Image: Tag Galaxy Thanks to people like Dan Gilbert and John Medina who are sharing their knowledge on the internet, teachers now have ready access to information about how the brain works. Dr. John Medina is a molecular biologist who has been exploring the practical uses of how the 12 rules can give us some solid insight into how the brain works. This has to have implications for the Personal and Social Capability in all its elements. Male and female brains are different, sleep does affect how we learn. Exercise improves cognition and we don’t pay attention to the boring things in life. The 12 brain rules are listed on Dr John Medina’s site Brain Rules and each one is examined separately if you click on the links in the left sidebar. If you go to the bottom of the right sidebar to FROM THE BOOK and click on the rules (posters) it will download the pdf version for you. I have done that because I plan to work on them. There are also some good YouTube videos of this material.

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Self-awareness – General capabilities – ACARA

self-awareness The ACARA site is spelling things out very clearly for us. I am going to go through the elements for the Personal and Social Capability one by one. Self-awareness is the first and needs to be explored at each level and across all subjects. In high school we are looking at level 5 and Level 6. For self-awareness students have to be able to:

recognise emotions

recognise personal qualities and achievements

understand themselves as learners

develop reflective practice.

When it comes to teaching I have often said to students they need to understand themselves as learners so that they can better ask for what they need. It is important for them to understand their learning style and when they discover that they actually become more confident in their learning. If we don’t tell them that , they will often think they are getting it wrong when in fact, they are not getting the style they need. Sometimes it is about having to adapt a bit which is why the understanding of their learning style is important. They can then fill in some of the gaps themselves. It encourages them to be independent learners.

self-awareness ACARA

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Building a community of learners

Our teacher learning community for the Personal and Social Capability  is being run according to the theories and principles established by Dylan William. The video gives you some insight into this. KLT stands for keeping learning on track. Our own Teacher Learning Community can be abbreviated to TLC and that’s what KLT and Dylan William are about!