personal and social capability

Personal and Social Capability ACARA

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General Capabilities – ACARA

General capabilitiesThere are 7 general capabilities and according to the ACARA site they are addressed explicitly in content and there are icons  to identify them in content descriptions. The ACARA site explains their reason for being in our national curriculum in this way:

General capabilities, a key dimension of the Australian Curriculum, are addressed explicitly in the content of the learning areas. They play a significant role in realising the goals set out in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) – that all young people in Australia should be supported to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

It will take time to redescribe and reformat curriculum in this way but in the end it means we have properly described and identified what we actually teach and within this framework students are also encouraged to develop learning along these lines so that it can be accounted for and assessed. In other words, students have an opportunity to participate as active learners and gain a deeper understanding of what learning actually entails. It is a demanding task to identify the components of a curriculum and as we go along we may find out we have missed something. The Australian Curriculum is comprehensive but perhaps we have overlooked something. Given we have this format of content and capabilities anything which needs to be addressed will be able to be included relatively easily I should think. We also need easy access to those logs because to put visual markers on curriculum and content documents is a good thing. It breaks up the swags of text which people no longer like to see. I’d like to think we could have an electronic way of addressing these general capabilities so we could enter things online and select the logs and then come up with a finished document. That would be an interesting challenge!

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Social Management – General capabilities – ACARA

Social ManagementMy image via BeFunky

The fourth and final element of the Personal and Social Capability for ACARA is social management. At the blunt end it’s about developing workable and productive relationships with adults and peers. At the pointy end it is about learning how to be a good leader, developing mentorship skills and knowing how to strengthen yourself and others socially.  Social management is clearly a continuum where students learn to:

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

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Social Awareness – General capabilities- ACARA

personal and social capability Image : Tagxedo

For Social Awareness students at all the levels have to be able to :

  • appreciate diverse perspectives
  • contribute to civil society
  • understand relationships.

This element is not explained as well as the other two until you read the explanation of the element on the ACARA site. Basically it is about respect and responsibility and developing respectful relationships with others. It takes racism and sexism into account but also looks at advocacy so that students can learn when it is appropriate to advocate for others and the techniques for doing that.

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Self-management – General capabilities – ACARA

self-managementFor self-management students need to be able to :

  • express emotions appropriately
  • develop self-discipline and set goals
  • work independently and show initiative
  • become confident, resilient and adaptable

The first sentence on the ACARA site says if all for me:

“This element involves students in effectively regulating, managing and monitoring their own emotional responses, and persisting in completing tasks and overcoming obstacles.”

Teenagers can often find it quite difficult to regulate their moods and need to understand them and how moods can be created before they have any hope of managing them.  They can be taught steps to monitor and manage their own responses. They also often need a chance to be able to go back over things and put them right.  Persistence is also something which they can learn and because they live in a world where everything is often instant  or easily changed they do not necessarily get the chance of  practising the skills needed to overcome adversity. I imagine there will be considerable discussions about this particular element in all the levels.



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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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ACARA app for iPhone or iPad

acara app I highly recommend this ACARA app for the Australian National Curriculum. A well thought out application for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can do much to alleviate the stress and strain of trying to come to grips with curriculum issues as a teacher. We are preparing and delivering lessons, marking, teaching, assessing.When there are new curriculum requirements and directions it always puts on the strain into an already very busy schedule. So why not use technology to lighten the burden? I downloaded relevant shape papers from the ACARA curriculum site. They are worth having but they take time to go through. The beauty of this app is that it gets the key points across one tablet page at a time. You can get a good overview, you can take in the relevant information and you are just dealing with one small screen. At no stage do you think it’s too much. The ACARA app is put together so you can navigate through the current requirements and since it is presented in tablet form then it cannot be too dense in its approach. I found it helpful. It has made me realise that apps have their place when you want people to learn something and come to terms with it. Instead of giving them 10 or 20 A4 pages to read – give them an application which logically takes them through the key features of what you want them to know. The app makes you more aware of the structure of the national curriculum. It makes you see at a glance what the key features of each area are. In time the app can link us to examples, key papers, key resources. It can reach out for us so we can access what we need to know. I think it’s a good addition to our National Curriculum information – the more so because it is on something I have with me all the time. Currently it is on my iPod Touch but I shall download it onto my iPad too. The fact I have seen this has made me think we need to try to create some applications for our classwork and courses. It really is a straight forward way of learning information and then branching out from that.

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Teacher Learning Communities

TeFL Our South Australian teaching guidelines are actually very practical and helpful. We have some on building teacher learning communities from Dylan William’s Changing Classroom Practice 2007. If you Google building teacher learning communities it will come up as 1 3A13 Teacher Learning Communities and download as a pdf file as soon as you click on it I understand what we are trying to do now that I have read that whole document. It gives the details of the format of the groups and the specific meeting plan. This is the process we are trying for our Teacher Learning Communities for the the national curriculum. The meetings run for 2 hours and there are about 10 of us in each group. The meeting format seemed a bit hard to get used to last time but essentially it is a strong format if you look at it. Part of the process is each teacher has to try and achieve something from one meeting to the next along agreed lines and then report back at the next meeting. Each teacher has to devise an action plan and part of the meeting is given over to teachers having the chance to form their personal action plan. The belief is that this process will help us learn but also become better teachers because we shall understand certain processes better.

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General capabilities

The Australian Curriculum includes seven general capabilities. These are:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

The information relating to these general capabilities is here. The information specifically referring to the personal and social capability is here.