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End of week video

The course educators discuss some of the highlights from Week 1 of the course.

This week, you’ve looked at what the core skills are, and how they link to the Skills Builder framework. Hopefully, you feel more confident with the concept of how each skill can be broken down into smaller components – or steps.

Next week we’ll be looking at the Skills Builder framework in more detail. You’ll learn more about what the Skills Builder framework is, where it comes from and how it can be practically applied to teach smaller steps of the core skills.

In the video on this step, Freddie discusses the highlights from this week. He says:

First, I’d like to say how pleased the educators are with the high levels of engagement we have seen in the discussions this week. There are teachers taking this course from all over the world and from many different subject backgrounds. It’s been wonderful hearing about your experiences of teaching core skills and seeing you share some excellent ideas with each other.
This week we’ve been focused on reviewing the core skills and discussing their importance to students’ education. We started off by asking an important question about the justification for teaching skills in addition to knowledge. There was unanimous agreement that skills and knowledge should be taught together. Multiple reasons were put forward as to why education systems need to focus on skills too. A repeated theme was that they can help to prepare young people for the challenges they will face in today’s globalized and digital world. On Step 1.1 Andrew Morrisey pointed out the uncertainty caused by a shift towards increasing automation and artificial intelligence. As machines become increasingly able to carry out jobs traditionally done by people, the acquisition of a range of core skills has become essential for adapting to new challenges posed by a rapidly changing world. Another post on this step that caught my attention was Nora Hamdy’s, who highlighted the importance knowledge plays in enabling the application of skills that require higher-order thinking. When engaging in higher-order thinking, learners apply knowledge in ways which are critical and creative, so knowledge can be seen as a starting point for developing learner’s core skills. I have shared links to Andrew and Nora’s comments below this video in case you would like to read and respond to them.
The article in Step 1.3 outlined pressing reasons for teaching core skills. It stated that many education systems were failing to develop learners’ core skills citing a report from 2014. It was fascinating to read the responses to consider whether there are signs of progress having been made. There are a number of comments that suggest more attention is being paid towards core skills, and nearly everyone recognizes them to be essential. But quite a lot of course participants stated that their teaching context is still focused on qualifications and knowledge over skills. There were reports of rote-teaching approaches being made necessary by the need to prepare learners for exams. For teachers in this situation, I think it is important to emphasise that we can still teach knowledge needed for succeeding in exams through a skills-based approach. This goes back to the point earlier about knowledge and skills going hand in hand. Learners use knowledge when they apply skills, so a skills-based approach to teaching can simultaneously teach and reinforce knowledge needed for an exam. Although it can be challenging to adapt a syllabus to give it a core skills focus, we hope that the Skills Builder framework will give you some ideas for making this easier to achieve. I would also like to draw attention to Laura Stancu’s comment on this step, as she shared some excellent ideas for activities that help to develop learner’s core skills. I have shared a link to this below this video.
This week we have also introduced you to the Skills Builder framework and explained how it links to British Council core skills. It is fantastic to read so much positive feedback. Many people have commented that they like the fact that it is broken down into small manageable steps. On Step 1.12 Reneena Namnam points out that the core skills are broad areas and breaking them down into smaller components helps us to measure progression. This is important as it allows us to more easily assess how capable our students are within a particular skill area. I personally like the fact that the description of the steps is written in plain English, as this makes the skills more understandable to students and parents. As pointed out by Joshua Underwood on Step 1.9, this can facilitate better student understanding of the skill areas as well as make it easier to raise parents’ awareness of core skills and their children’s development in working towards mastering them.
I do hope you have enjoyed the course content this week. In Week 2, we’ll be looking in more detail at the Skills Builder framework and considering how we can use it to teach some steps of different skill areas. We’ll also consider some important principles underlying the teaching and assessment of core skills. Please do join us and keep up the wonderful interaction in the comment sections.

Comments mentioned in the video

Andrew Morrissey

Nora Hamdy

Laura Stancu

Reneena Namnam

Joshua Underwood

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Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

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