personal and social capability

Personal and Social Capability ACARA

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Generation Z

Generation ZMark McCrindle has a brilliant infographic of generation Z. These are the students we are teaching now and if we want to get the best out of them in terms of personal and social capability then we need to understand them and we need to have a clear idea of their experiences and preferences. If we want to enable them both personally and socially we need ways of understanding how they think and operate and what means something to them. This infographic puts it all in a nutshell . Ex English teacher Adam Renfro also has an excellent and detailed look at Generation Z on his GettingSmart site. If we are looking to improve areas of personal and social capability then it is important to look at the wealth of information which helps us to understand these students better. Both Mark McCrindle and Adam Renfro have offered teachers a great service by providing us with quality information.

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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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Safer Internet Day


Safer Internet Day is a European initiative which has gone world wide. Next Year it will be February 10th. This year it was February 11th. Internet safety fits in perfectly with the social capability. In a connected world , students need to know how to become leaders on the internet and how to manage internet relationships positively.

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

appreciate diverse perspectives

contribute to civil society

understand relationships.

For Social Management students have to look at being able to:

communicate effectively

work collaboratively

make decisions

negotiate and resolve conflict

develop leadership skills.

Safe internet day is a good way to look at those indicators and certainly everyday should be safe internet day. We ought to be able to create a learning environment which enables good digital citizenship skills. The welcome page for the safer internet day is here where they will be compiling the results of this year’s safer internet day. iinet features safer internet day and gives a run down of the sorts of social sites and dangers students may or may not be involving themselves in. As teachers we need to be aware of the sorts of sites students access so we can offer independent advice about internet safety.


What great teachers do differently

In less than two minutes Todd Whitaker spells out some very effective ploys and characteristics of successful teachers. They care and they want to make a difference. This is where I have found the Personal and Social Capability in our new curriculum to be effective. I have unpacked and used the personal capability with my year 8 class and all I can say is it has made a real difference. My relationships with those students are easy and positive because of it and I have a positive framework to refer to. On Monday I am all set to unpack the social capability with them and my belief is it will be easier and more straight forward than the personal capability. I know next year I shall be using this with all my classes. It just makes the conversations easier , more direct and then very productive. You don’t get caught up in a game. You can see your way through the reactive responses and steer everything quickly onto firmer ground.

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Use the same language


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I have worked with the indicators of the personal capability since I introduced them to my Year 8s. I now consider the time I spent to explain what they meant and for us to have a common understanding of the indicators to have been time well spent. When you are in a group or organisation , it is really good to know you are all marching to the same beat and interpreting things in the same way. The common ground established through agreed understanding is important to self-regulation and for helping others to be team players.  My belief is I need to do this at the beginning of the school year with all of my classes. It would be good for all students to have the same explanations at the beginning of a school year so that we are all using the same language for the personal and social capability. Once you have that understanding and common ground the conversations seem to flow very easily. So, my  belief at this stage , about teaching the Personal and Social capability   is that it creates some real advantages because the common language across a school means:

1.Personal capability is connected to social capability is connected to ethical behaviour is connected to achieving or not achieving as an individual or group

2.There is a common language and understanding which a group can use for self- regulation

3.There is a common language which an individual can use to get help and support

4.Individuals can understand how relationships are formed

5.There is a logical and agreed way for managing self and others

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I am ready this time! Last time it would have been really helpful to watch the video on self-awareness  by Roger Reece before I tackled self-awareness with my year 8s last week. It is not that I am on unfamiliar ground, but Roger Reece has such a clarity of expression that it would have been helpful to see it first. This time I have watched the video on self-management and his capacity to create context and continuity is really very good. I know he has an adult audience, but nevertheless, I am strengthened in my approach by seeing someone who is an expert in the field with some good quality classroom skills. My Year 8s will need different examples and I shall need to couch it all in terms which suit them. Now I can see how you build from one to the other, it has made my life easier . The quote by Tony Robbins is very apt:

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

I am pretty confident my year 8s will be able to relate to that. Once we have done the self-management self assessment, we shall go on next week to create goals for ourselves for the personal capabilities.

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One of the great things about this clip by Roger Reece is we have a practising classroom teacher teaching and explaining what self-awareness is. I wish I had seen this clip before I had tackled my self assessment sheets with my year 8s. In the end I got through to them but had I seen Roger Reece teaching this, I would have been able to explain it all more efficiently and effectively to my year 8s. Teachers do need to get on the Net. They do need to share their knowledge and skills. We can support and underpin each other professionally as we do this. Roger Reece  is calm, clear and very good at making sense – meaning. Instantly you know what he means. His focus is well defined and , admittedly, he is teaching adults and not younger children , he sustains this focus.

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Self – Awareness – Year 8

self awareness

examine influences on and consequences of their emotional responses in learning, social and work related context
make a realistic assessment of their abilities and achievements, and prioritise areas for improvement
predict the outcomes of personal and academic achievement by drawing on previous problem solving and decision making strategies and feedback form peers and teachers
identify and choose a range of learning strategies appropriate to specific tasks and describe work practices that assist their learning

I am unsure as to whether this is what I want to work on with my year 8s. The first part of emotional responses doesn’t seem to match the rest of the element.  From the self review they have done the year 8s are ready to look at better learning strategies because they have a better understanding of what is expected and that they have a need to address things like time management and reading the whole of a task sheet first before they proceed.  I am going to look at self-management because that might be more what I want to work on with the year 8s. Looking at how they could improve themselves is definitely an option but I am still being thrown by this emotional response  descriptor for self-awareness. It is more of a behavioral thing.  There are certainly some students I could work on with that.  By tomorrow we need to know what we are working on with a class. This is a really interesting post on self-awareness. It’s where I got the post image.

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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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What makes us happy?

Three out of four ain’t bad! Dan Gilbert’s talk on happiness covers three of the four elements for the Personal and Social Capability: self-awareness, self-management and social management. His 20 minute talk which you can find on TED as well under the What makes us happy? playlist is both information packed and thought-provoking. He is an engaging speaker and so it is not difficult to absorb what he has to say . Dan Gilbert is the Professor of Psychology at Harvard and so what he has to say offers plenty of examples of experiments, physiological information about the brain and then the highlights well the problems we have in synthesising happiness and how our belief that choice is the answer – is not the answer at all. That we do not understand happiness very well is made clear and so all of what he offers in this talk has classroom implications for teachers and how they manage their students. It will also influence the tasks we design for the Personal and Social Capability. Well worth the listen and what ought to bring some good exchanges of ideas afterwards.