Transcript of General capabilities in practice

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  Well, good afternoon and welcome to Syllabus PLUS K-6 Mathematics, our third session for this term. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. Today's session is on the General Capabilities in practice, so just giving you some practical ideas about how to use the general capabilities in your classroom. Just a reminder as well that today's session is being recorded, both the session and the chat, and that we will be sending out the recording link to you tomorrow, Wednesday - making sure tomorrow's Wednesday - so that you can access it. And they'll always be updated on that website that I send you the link to with the session details as well. The music will turn off in a moment when I go to presentation mode today. So thanks for joining us. So as I mentioned, today's session is on the general capabilities in practice and what they look like in the classroom. And I'm going to ask a question first up. And today I'm doing something a little bit different. I'm going to be using my SMART Board in a moment. So I want you to have a think about, "To live and work successfully in the 21st century, students need to..." So have a think about it. I've got Yvonne Hughes here on the chat with me today and she's going to give me some responses in a minute, so if you can think about what you think our students need to be able to do or some strategies you think they need to work and live successfully in the 21st century.

YVONNE HUGHES  "Cooperate."

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  So I'm just going to share my desktop. And hopefully, you can can see my little picture.

YVONNE HUGHES  "Cooperate."

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT   I'm going to grab a pen. And I can hear Yvonne's already talking. So..."cooperate."

YVONNE HUGHES  "Collaborate."


YVONNE HUGHES  "Think critically. Calculate..."



KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  It's like being at school. Think... What was that one?

YVONNE HUGHES  "Critically."


YVONNE HUGHES  "Problem-solve."


YVONNE HUGHES  "Flexible learner."

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  "Flexible learner."

YVONNE HUGHES  "Communicate."


YVONNE HUGHES  "Make real-world connections."
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  "Real-world connections."

YVONNE HUGHES  "Creative."


YVONNE HUGHES  "Discuss, listen, think."



KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  "Discuss." And "reason". I'm going to stop there. And as you can see, my whiteboard writing is atrocious. I'm a left-hander.

YVONNE HUGHES  "Work till they're 70-plus."

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  That's true. We do need to work a little bit longer these days. But what I want you to really think about is that all of these things are going to be setting up our students for being life-long learners. So we're starting to see this learner in the middle as a whole person. I'm not just thinking about the outcomes I'm teaching them about and assessing them on in mathematics. I want to think about the whole student as a whole learner. And this is where the general capabilities come into it. And all of these wonderful suggestions you have about 21st-century learning, they marry into those general capabilities. And I think, at the moment, what we seem to be doing is trying to bring all these things into the learner. "So how do I teach them all these things?" But that's actually the wrong way to think about it. What we really want to be doing is seeing how all of these things come out of the learner. We want to bring these skills out of the student and see them as a learner, a life-long learner. So it's not about "What can I put into them?" but "What can I get out of them? What am I doing in my classroom that's helping them to become better, flexible learners, to be better problem-solvers or problem-finders?" if you've read anything to do with Ewan McIntosh. How can we bring out their cooperative skills or their real-world connections that they can see so they can collaborate together? So I think that's the big picture of what I'm trying to get at today, is that we're not trying to put things on to people but actually bring them out of the student themselves as a life-long learner. Going to close that down. Come back into my room. Thanks for dealing with me while I did something a little bit different today. So, for me, that's just an image that I keep in my mind now about that learner being at the centre and that I'm trying to extract all of those skills out of them and develop them from what they already have. Something that's really interesting at the moment is the Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills project that's being undertaken by the University of Melbourne. And this video is really important about what they're doing into their research around 21st-century skills and I really wanted to show it to you today. So I'm going to go to my video screen now and, hopefully, if your sound is on and you can hear me, you'll be able to hear this. And just excuse me while I find my video. And so I'm going to be quiet for a moment while you watch the video.

VOICEOVER  How do we create the next generation of problem-solvers? How do we skill students to communicate in the 21st century? How do we build a nation of entrepreneurs? At the Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills program, our mission is to identify and teach the skills students need to succeed now and in the future.

MAN  The kids of today coming in are really technology-savvy.

GIRL  I've had a phone since I was, like, nine.

GIRL  I like to window-shop on eBay.

GIRL  I text my friends on my phone.

ESTHER CARE  The Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills project brought together academics in Australia, Singapore, Finland, the Netherlands, USA and Costa Rica to scope out what the framework of 21st-century skills was and what skills we can teach and measure in primary and secondary education globally.

MATTHEW FINN  No guesswork, no assumptions. We're gathering empirical evidence, and we're using technology to do it.

ESTHER CARE  At the moment, what the project is working on is collaborative problem-solving and ICT literacy for learning. We set up problems that required different students to bring different resources, different skills.

MATTHEW FINN  They weren't given exactly the same problems and information, so they really had to rely on each other to help solve the problems.

BOY  There's activities that you and your partner do and you see different things on the screen.

MATTHEW FINN  One might have a tool. Another a skill. They have to communicate to work out what each one has and then how to use their different resources to solve the problem. Then they learn how to use the chat box to collaborate.

BOY  You've got to type in the chat and tell your partner what you see so they can understand how you do the task.

GIRL  We explain things if we don't get it or we ask each other questions.

MATTHEW FINN  You had some students that were able to progress through the tasks quite easily. And then there were some students that found it really frustrating.

ESTHER CARE  The whole point of collaborative problem-solving is that the problem itself is complex.

MATTHEW FINN  I couldn't help them because that would defeat the purpose of the exercise. It's to actually get them to think for themselves.

ESTHER CARE  And that's a very good thing because what that means is that they're given a stimulus to communicate.

BOY  At first, it was hard to not get frustrated on the chat. But it's getting easier as we do more of it.

MATTHEW FINN  It was great to see their reaction once they solved it. It was like, "Whoo-hoo!" And they were able to move on to the next task.

ESTHER CARE  When we first started looking at the collaborative problem-solving and the ICT digital literacy, what we did was scope out what a developmental progression might look like. the teacher, then, can identify, "What are the strategies, what are the resources that I can use to help them to develop and enhance the skills that they have?"

MATTHEW FINN  The beauty of this program is they actually have to rely on each other and really communicate and collaborate with each other to solve tasks.

ESTHER CARE  Our students need to be able to collaborate. They need to be able to solve problems. They need to be able to work with each other across the globe. They need to be able to communicate. And that's where this project has taken us. It's taking us into the classrooms with a new generation of skills.

KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT  So, to me, I think that video really explains well what a lot of our pedagogy is about... that we're trying to see those learners as 21st-century learners. And we often banter that around, but it's really important that they see the value in collaboration in problem-solving and working together. And those two focuses at the moment of that project around collaborative problem-solving and ICT digital literacy is, I think, really valuable. And I think this is something that you could express to parents as well. It's obviously... we're still trying to change society's view of what education is. And although, in a system that maybe still looks quite similar to what it did, you know, a hundred years ago, we are trying to move on with the way in which we engage our students and the strategies which they're using to work in the classroom together. So go onto the website. It's really interesting. There's some other videos on there you can watch as well. But I found it a really useful video to watch. Now, obviously, we're not looking at assessing those general capabilities and we have them sitting within our content. But I think it's still an interesting project that they're studying. So just to recap the general capabilities... This information is sort of straight from the Australian Curriculum ACARA website. It's about those knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours. And we just had a chat about how it helps them to work successfully and to live successfully now, pretty much. From now on into jobs that are going to rely on these sort of skills, and not just being able to know answers or find information for yourself. It's about working together. And it really supports that Melbourne declaration that we want all young people to be supported to become successful. And that's our educational goal. And it's that idea of seeing us as facilitators and supporters of them in becoming successful learners. I thought it was really interesting the teacher on that video said, Oh, you know, I can't help them." In a sense, he's exactly right - that we want them to have that confidence and build that creativity themselves so that they can continue to be learners past when they're in the classroom. And I think this is something that we need to focus on as well, that quality teaching, those four really main questions. And we focused a lot, I guess, in our past Syllabus PLUS sessions around particularly the "What we want our students to learn" and also how we're going to get them to do it based on assessment and reporting and looking at content. But why does this learning matter? The general capabilities and the learning across the curriculum areas as a whole are about "Why does this learning matter? Why do we teach them this way?" It's so they can be successful learners, so they can live and work successfully in the 21st century. It provides the 'why'. So, for me, the syllabus content provides the 'what' to deal with mathematics. That working mathematically component, they provide the 'how'. We've talked about that in the past. And the general capabilities are providing us with the 'why', because we want them to be creative thinkers. We want them to have social and personal capabilities. We want them to be able to have the capability to use ICT in their life as well as in the classroom. These are things that provide the 'why' for our learning. We want it to be engaging and challenging. It's about positive self-concepts. And these are broader learning outcomes. They're from the BOSTES K-10 Curriculum Framework. So beyond just our own syllabus, this is what we want our students to be in. Again, coming back to that picture of seeing the student as a whole learner. And we want them to have that idea of a fair and just society. So it's building them up as a whole student, not just particular outcomes for subject areas. And I think this is a really important point as well that ACARA picks up on, is that the general capabilities are represented to different degrees in learning areas. So obviously something like numeracy is going to find its natural home in mathematics, whereas it might just be applied or adapted in other areas. Whereas something like work and enterprise or one of the other learning across the curriculum areas might find their home - and something like sustainability - would be more so appropriate in HSIE. But it's still linked to other areas. So it's not going to be to the same degree for each of them. They don't all have equal value across each of our KLAs. They're part of learning across the curriculum areas. We want to see it as like a lens to view our content through. So how can we bring this out of our students as we're teaching the content? It's not something to add on top of. And we're developing the skills. And our syllabus definitely provides the context. So these general capabilities and the learning across the curriculum areas as a whole are context-free. We provide the context within our classroom. Something that ACARA have developed - and it's something that you can look at - they have learning continuums for each of the seven general capabilities. So they have one for numeracy. They have one for personal and social capabilities. They have one for ICT. They have one for literacy. And it just gives you an idea of what they sort of indicate by the end of each sort of stage of learning - the kind of things that students might be experiencing - and they have it broken down into smaller areas as well. So please go and have a look at that. Obviously, we're not looking at that in an aspect of assessment, as I mentioned before. But I think it's a really great resource that they have. And I like to go and have a look at what they're producing as well because they have a little bit more in-depth information around those general capabilities than what we just see within each of our syllabuses because it's specific for each syllabus. As they go into each of those sections, they also have links to the Australian Curriculum descriptors to where they sit. These documents, by the way - I am reading the chat at the same time - they're in the file pod today so these documents are there for you to access if you can't find your way to the Australian Curriculum ACARA website. So they're in the pod. But I think it's great how it shows you the cross KLA links so you can see where some of those numeracy skills might be relevant in other subject areas as well, sort of that integrated approach. So one of the big ones, I guess, for us in mathematics is that link to critical and creative thinking. And when you look at the... what the syllabus says about what critical and creative thinking is, it talks about understanding, it talks about reasoning and logical thought, and it talks about problem-solving. And already, for me, that rings true with our focus on working mathematically and teaching the content through. That's how I teach the content, is through some of these aspects. So I think it fits really nicely into mathematics - one of those ideas that finds its home in mathematics really nicely. And it probably comes up a lot more often than many of the other general capabilities. Something that critical and creative thinkers do - there's lots of different things they do. You mentioned some of those things as part of that discussion around what a 21st-century learner is. And it's about analysing and reflecting and transferring knowledge. And you're not going to have all of those things to begin with, but it's to do with the content you're presented with. So the way that you organise your information will be different for a young learner than what it is for a student that's possibly into high school. So they have all these wonderful skills and things they can do, and it's about that flexibility. So critical and creative thinking - an example is in the 'Talking about Patterns & Algebra' resource. There's a couple of activities in there that, to me, focus on that questioning. So generating number sequences - this is about creating them with the blocks and looking at the connection between the patterns. And it matches in with our new syllabus as well. There I've just snapshotted a piece of the syllabus out. And you can see where it talks about investigating and problem-solving with patterns. And also where it talks about describing how number patterns are made. It has that little symbol for critical and creative thinking. So already it's happening. And if you're expecting your students to reason, communicate and problem-solve, then you're already addressing critical and creative thinking. It's not that you now have to add something new in. It's just bringing it to light and bringing it out of your students. So if I was doing a task like this where we're asking our students to build a sequence - in this case, it's a staircase number - and they need to look at the pattern and be able to describe it, what questions would you ask to develop the students' critical and creative-thinking skills? That is not rhetorical. In the chat pod, please. What questions would you be asking your students that you plan out as part of your lesson to enhance that in the lesson that you're teaching around patterns and number sequences. Everyone's gone quiet. How many's added each time?" Excellent. "What will the next number be?" Yes. "What would the eighth picture look like?" Excellent. Remembering this is Stage 1. But you could definitely differentiate it up to Stages 2 and 3. "What is it counting by?" Excellent. "What if...?" Yes. "Explain the pattern." OK, describing it. "How does it work? How did you make it?" All of these questions are really good. "How would you describe it?" These questions need to be part of your programming and planning. You can't just make them up on the spot. You might get to a point where you start to become really... and have the ability to do that. But in the beginning, it's really important to write this questioning into your programs so that you know where you're taking your students to make sure that you're keeping them on that concept. OK, where would you find the pattern and what can it be used for? These are really great questions. So down the bottom here, I've just got a few questions that I would ask during this lesson. And, to me, they all link to working mathematically and they also all link to critical and creative thinking. Ooh, Jill. "Does the pattern change if you tip it upside down?" I love where you're going with that. So you can really think outside the box. And students compose their own questions for the problem as well. So I did create a little lesson plan to go with this activity from the 'Talking about Patterns & Algebra' book. It's in the pod today. Look, it's nothing brilliant. It's just a starting point to show you how I outline those questions as I go so I know where I'm leading my students in the lesson. And there's also a couple of other investigations based on these activities from the 'Talking about Patterns & Algebra' pod... I'm sorry, CD or book. And they're in the file pod today. And they're two that Diane McPhail developed when I was in the south-western Sydney region. And I still use them today. One of them's the calendar patterns one. And there's some great investigative questions that link to critical and creative thinking. Something like using Group Solutions... I think, you can still buy the Group Solutions books. I couldn't even find my copies currently. But that idea of group members having different roles. These are just sort of a little stick-figure activity. You might have seen these kind of cooperative activities before. They're in the file pod today, as are the answers for the problems to help you out. But this not only links critical and creative thinking, because each student just gets one of those little sections and they've got to try and build the model together. But it links to personal and social competence, which I'm going to talk about in a moment as well. And this is actually using the general capability as a teaching strategy. So we're actually getting them to work with each other and see the relationships even socially to help them understand the content and to work together. So those kind of building tasks and tasks where group members have different roles is a perfect way to show how you're embedding some of these general capabilities in your classroom. A couple of things I found online... And, look, there's, you know, if you're a Pinterest fan, you'll find millions of different things to help in your classroom. But I always like it when I see models that are really simple. So this one was about critical thinking. And it really resonated with me about determining the learning objectives, teaching through questioning because that's where I think the key is, practising, getting the students to have some experience before you assess, review and refine and improve, allow the students to have ownership of that. And then provide feedback with the students before you go through the process again. The website this came from is there and there's a link as well. So I think that's a really nice way of looking at it so you're bringing that questioning as part of your teaching and learning cycle as well. There's also this little picture I found. Great little poster you can have up in your classroom about questions that critical thinkers ask. So it's about exposing our students to the types of things that mathematicians do or that scientists do in their everyday life and in their working life that means that they're critical and creative thinkers. So we want to bring that out for our students. The other one I'm gonna mention today is that personal and social capability. And remember, they're represented to different degrees in each learning area. So this is something that isn't in every aspect of mathematics. But it's more probably the way in which you teach that would bring it out. As I mentioned, that Group Solutions idea is a strategy of how you would use it in the classroom as a teaching strategy, not just for the students to develop as well. So when students are developing this personal and social competence, they're doing things like working effectively in teams. But they're also making responsible decisions. And I see this developing much more in those older grades as well. They might do it to a certain degree in the younger grades, but once you start looking at money, finances, looking after their own finances, evaluating and starting to interpret data, and conducting statistical investigations, they're bringing in this wealth of background knowledge and we need to build their field knowledge, and they're starting to actually be members of society. So it's like that civics and citizenship. So are they aware of the media? Are they aware of what's happening around them? Do they have those discussions in their families at home? Possibly not. So we need to bring that into the classroom to help build that whole student. So something, for example, in Data 2, in Stage 3, it really has a strong focus there on personal and social competence, where the students are critically evaluating data that's presented in the media, particularly when it's with a bias and it's for a particular purpose that they normally do that. So a couple of examples of that. If you've not been to AAMT - it's the Australian Association of Maths Teachers - be careful. If you just type 'AAMT' and you'll also get the Australian Association of Massage Therapists, so make sure you check it before you go onto the site. But their top-drawer teacher ideas are fantastic. Thanks, Jen York. So, and they have some really good resources in here about misleading scales in graphs and on data. And this one, if you can read that - it might not be big enough on your screen to have a look at - but it's about house prices, and just the way they use a scale can make the data look different to convey a certain message that the people using the data want to make you believe. So if they want you to make...see that there's a greater difference, they'll use a wider scale. So things like that. But that picture, that image, links you to there. And I've also put the link on the right there in case it doesn't work for you today. But great ideas around looking at data that might be misleading to people that are looking at the information. Something like this one that I found online. So it's got some cars, it's got some trucks on there, and it's definitely some misleading data. How is this graph misleading? Again, not a rhetorical question. Tell me why I think or why maybe you think this graph is misleading? I know it's hard to type that fast because you're going to... "The cars are different sizes." Yes, the size of the images. The number of pics. So it's actually what is the message they're trying to convey? So they're almost trying to see that it's all similar. It's all about the same. But if I look at the scale, it's supposed to be one image to 10 vehicles. And they shouldn't all end in the same spot. So that little yellow car, the blue car, should be the same size, and so should the truck. Now, this is something you could do with Kindergarten students when they're looking at picture graphs. Very simple way, even though I'm looking at how misleading data is represented in the media in Stage 3, you could talk about this when you're looking at picture graphs in Kindergarten and in Year 1. So it depends on what they're trying to make you believe and why they're misconstruing it to get you to believe something different. But it's really important to have these discussions with kids and it really brings in some things that affect them from outside the classroom. So this one I thought was really interesting as well. It's not about a graph, but it's still misleading data in the media. So you can see there it's got pictures of McDonald's, Burger King burgers, what they look like in the advertisement, in the actual paper, and then what they actually look like when you purchase them and pull them out of the bag. And I think this is a really nice thing to look at for students because it's a real-world problem and it's something that probably affects them. It's definitely helping them to develop an understanding of others and other opinions and why sometimes people in advertising want to push us to believe a certain thing. They definitely look tastier on the left than what they do on the right. But what kind of questions would you plan to ask as part of this lesson to help students have that understanding of statistics in everyday context or to relate the learning to their own lives to build that personal and social capabilities. Yeah. "Why do they portray them nicer?" "What is the intent of the seller?" Perfect question. "Which hamburger would be best value for money?" So you could even compare images that are there as well. You could get kids to do their own research on this. Get them to take the pictures. Don't even use the image that I've provided. It can be a really nice investigation. And so do they understand that, you know, there's a lot of social and real-world debate around not only value for money of food but about takeaway food and about the health related to that and, you know, that they offer things like cut-up apple, but they also offer fries, and the information they give you around the health of the burger and what the calories are and what that's trying to convey as well, and how is that sometimes misleading for the buyer? So... Sorry I'm just reading the chat at the same time. Yeah, absolutely - "What words make you think you're getting a decent serve for your money? Do they taste the same?" Absolutely. All these wonderful questions that you can have in your classroom. And, look, it doesn't take long and we've probably got about four or five lessons we could turn into a unit of learning right here just from our chat room today. Just for a laugh, a couple of things I've seen recently. The big one is from a while ago. It is American. And, you know, this is just for you. You might not want to use it in the classroom, but it's amazing how many people don't understand about pie graphs needing to equal 100%. I do get upset when people say they gave 110% of their effort. But this one's quite blatant that it's not actually using a pie chart the way it should be used. But it's still... people would still just look at it and take the information as it is without questioning. So it's always important to critically evaluate data. The other one is a Twitter feed that my husband sent me about why we hate math. Four out of 10 Americans, a majority of Americans," say they hate math. So that's interesting in itself. That picture is a hyperlink too if you want to read some of the people's comments about that picture and that article in particular. And that was quite recently. Like, this month 'recently'. So it's really interesting, and I think we need to make sure our students are ready for this and ready to critically evaluate data. And that's part of that social and personal competence. Just another quick one. I think I've mentioned this before in a couple of other Adobes, the Making Cents website. It's based on our current syllabus, but they have some great little activities in there around budgeting and mobile phone plans and things like that. They have it for years 2, 4 and 6. And next term in one of my Adobe sessions, I'm actually having someone from in here that also wrote a financial money project - Maths Matters or Money Matters - is coming in to do my presentation as well because I think this is something that really is very strong with that personal, social capability and about us encouraging our students to be wise with their finances. And just helping them to learn how mathematics is really useful when it comes to money. So I think that's a really good example as well. So just some final comments from me. We really don't want to use them as a checklist at the beginning of our programs at all. It's not what they're there for. It goes beyond just meeting the syllabus outcomes. We're developing the learner themselves. And it's that making connections. It's why this learning is important for students. That's what those general capabilities are doing. It's helping us develop the 'why' for our students. And they sit within the content, OK? The syllabus content provides the teaching context. It's not separate, and we don't assess them separately. Once you're assessing the content and the outcomes, you're going to be assessing these skills. But you definitely might want to do some activities that work out what type of these skills do your students already have when they come into the classroom? Maybe they don't have all the skills you'd like them to have. Thanks for today. Our next session's in two weeks' time on Tuesday, 24 June. Just a reminder - there are my contact details. I'll go to the conclusion slide in a moment. The 'Mathematical Bridge' - we're starting...working on that. It's coming soon in June. I know it's June already, but it will be out in June. And it'll be about measurement this time. We're moving into the measurement and geometry strand. So moving on to my conclusion slide. Thanks for participating today and having a go. But remember just to go online and complete your evaluation, if it was even scheduled at your school, because I can still access those reports on what people thought of the sessions and any suggestions you have for new sessions. All the files are there in the pod. You can still access those if you're watching. This is a recording. It's interactive. Just note that if you click on one and save it to your computer it might open a file up, a window, behind this meeting room. So you might need to reduce the size of that. But hopefully that just gave you a little bit more insight into those general capabilities. I know I didn't go through all of them. If there's one that you would really love me to look at with mathematics, please put it in the pod or share it in the evaluations or via email. But thank you again for tuning in. And I'll stop the recording. I will stay online if people have any other further questions. But thanks for coming, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

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