General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science
This report was originally published 26 June 2019.
General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science, uses insights from cognitive science to explore the most effective ways of supporting students to develop key capabilities such as critical and creative thinking.
- This paper contributes to the conversation about how school systems can best support their students to develop the capabilities they will need to thrive in the future.
- The debate to date has been hampered by a lack of clarity about key terms and concepts, and a range of assumptions that are not supported by evidence.
- Cognitive science research shows that developing capabilities such as critical thinking is dependent on having content knowledge.
- As such, general capabilities need to be developed through a deep and rich knowledge of content in each of the curriculum learning areas.
The publication is accompanied by a professional learning protocol to support educators to consider the implications of this research for practice in their schools.
The publication complements the findings from the department's Education for a changing world report: How to teach critical thinking by Professor Daniel T Willingham.
For more information on cognitive science and the insights it offers for education, see CESE's Cognitive load theory: Research that teachers really need to understand, and Cognitive load theory in practice.