Skills with frills!

Teaching skills and feeling fulfilled.

Skills-based Learning

Now you’re here, you might be wondering: what is skills-based learning? With so many government skills initiatives having been and gone; and with that a myriad of different labels and acronyms which already differed according to time and location, you might be confused as to what I’m actually talking about here.

  • Collaboration 
  • Reflection
  • Curiosity
  • Pride
  • Organisation
  • Creativeness
  • Independence
  • Resilience 
  • Empathy
  • Attentiveness
  • Confidence 
  • Critical thinking

In my current role, I teach skills-based units based on various topics (I change them fairly often so that they’re topical and relevant) to KS3 pupils. All of our learning is underpinned explicitly by the learning skills above; we measure progress, report to parents and set targets, all based on these skills.

And I’m not alone here. In the wake of the UK government’s upheaval of National Curriculum levels at both primary and secondary level, many schools are now reconsidering the life skills that they want their children to leave school with, alongside the academic progress needed for success. Even before then, there were pockets throughout the country, perhaps a little more so within pre-secondary education, where ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Building Learning Power’ were already becoming a part of daily discussion for students and staff.

With many teachers feeling rushed to teach a massive amount of content and subject-skills, let alone build effectively on the life skills I’ve mentioned above, we really need to appreciate the gift that this latest bit of government meddling presents. Senior leaders have the power now to elevate these much-needed learning qualities within their school setting, even measuring them along with academic progress.

For those special needs and lower ability pupils, for whom expected progress and ‘good’ exam results may always out of reach no matter how much effort they, or you, put in, this is a chance to let them and their parents know that they have made progress, and they’ve made it in an area that really means something. For other students, those like myself – high achieving but zero confidence – this would hopefully allow for quick intervention. Children shouldn’t be able to leave school without someone at least attempting to challenge and support them in an area of weakness, something that could potentially change the whole course of their lives.

Regardless of how it’s taught, measured or labelled, we have a duty of care to these young people to facilitate their development into happy, rounded and confident individuals: skills-based learning is the way to do it.

If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll find more related blogs to explore under the heading of ‘skills-based learning.’ Suggestions and feedback are very welcome.

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