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Making Meaning (compare ‘Using Tools Interactively’); and, as an addition,

Belonging (comprising ‘Engagement in the Classroom’ and ‘Belonging Beyond the Classroom’).

Actually, prior to debates about the ‘DeSeCo’ competencies, the Stocktake document had already proposed five clusters of skills (Ministry of Education, 2002, page 29).  These, when their order of presentation is tumbled, are broadly similar to the five clusters listed above from Ministry of Education (2004).  The Stocktake categories are:

Creative and innovative thinking

Participation and contribution in communities

Reflecting on learning and developing self-knowledge

Making meaning from information

Relating to other people.

Carr (2004) found that these five categories, applicable to the schools sector, could be quite readily aligned with the strands in the Te Whariki document, which is the basis of early childhood education.

Competencies and Science Education - Eight Guiding Principles

In approaching this task, we generated eight guiding principles:

1. Competencies are broader than skills.

Brewerton (2004, p.2), with ‘DeSeCo’, defines ‘competencies’ as being at a very generic level: “includ(ing) skills, knowledge, attitudes and values needed to meet the demands of a task”, i.e. ‘competencies’ very much subsume ‘skills’.  Because of this, ‘competencies’ may not simply be inserted into the structure of the science curriculum where ‘skills’ were formally located. In the science education literature ‘skills’ have been more frequently discussed and defined (e.g. Watts, 1991; Hudson, 1994) than ‘competencies’, but especially in recent years, large-scale surveys of the science education (e.g. Fraser and Tobin, 1998) have not been inclined to consider science skills in isolation from other elements of learning.

2.Competencies can be very closely related to aims.

We consider that the words “to meet the demands of a task” are highly significant.  We interpret this as saying that the competencies which teachers, learners and society at large need “to meet the demands of a task” can only be determined when these stakeholders have previously defined the task. At the level of science curriculum, the outcomes of this process of “defining the task” become encapsulated in statements like the present General Aims of Science Education in Science in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1993b). Put simply, asking what competencies are needed for science education is only a meaningful question if one is clear what purposes one wishes to achieve in science education. Competencies, then, are seen by us as the human faculties needed to put aims (or

From TKI | NZ Curriculum Marautanga Project | What’s happening | Science ­|  Reframing the essential skills        

http://www.tki.org.nzcurriculum/whats_happening/index_e.phppage 3 of 11

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