Giovanni FULANTELLI, Lucian OPREACompetence-based learning in Europe & the Sloop2desc modele-CF defines competence as follows:
is a demonstrated ability to apply
knowledge, skills and attitudes
to achieving observable results”
From this definition three major dimensions or bulding blocks of competences emerged:
Personal, social and/or methodological abilities or attitudes.But a competence is not a simple sum of them: it isthe
to use them
in a context
!What recommendiation can be given to teachers at alllevels and authorities responsible for preparing neweducational programs? Essentially the following twomain concepts:
all three dimensions - knowledge, skills and attitudes(or "personal, social and/or methodological abilities")- must be taken into account when preparingeducational programs or individual teaching lessons;
it’s not enough to ensure the acquisition of knowledgeand skills, or the possession of attitudes; it’s necessaryto promote their application in situations to getobservable results.Let us first consider the three issues separately.
EQF defines Knowledge
“the outcome of theassimilation of information through learning. Knowledgeis constituted by a set of facts, principles, theories and practices related to a field of work or study”.
E-CF defines it as
“the set of know-what (e.g. programming languages, design tools...) and can bedescribed by operational descriptions”.
Very often schools and individual teachers onlytransmit knowledge, the programs are often a list of content that the teacher should explain and that thestudent must study. The necessary criticism of such amodel, however, has resulted, at times, anunderestimation of the importance of acquiringknowledge. As Calvani writes
“Today the school has significantly reduced its attention to the cognitivedimension in favour of "other". It has given space toother dimensions, in itself also important (the socio-affective, or awareness of the great problems of theworld, etc.); the risk is to assume that these other dimensions are in themselves sufficient to form thecompetences that future citizens will need"
Knowledge is one of the bases of competences andtherefore must be acquired. If it is desirable that theschool activity is not limited to a simple transmission of content, and if it is not at all certain that transmission isthe most appropriate methodology for the acquisition of content, should however be noted that it is necessary tocheck carefully that students have acquired the collectionof facts, terminology, principles, theories, procedures, ...that support the competences to be achieved.
“the ability to applyknowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems”.
E-CF defines them as
“the ability tocarry out managerial or technical tasks”.
The “school for everyone” was born to make peopleacquire skills: the famous mastery of literacy andnumeracy. In language and mathematical teaching, aswell as in design and technical subjects, the skills, know-how, has always been the centre of teaching activities.But it is not always so: often the "know how" isconsidered a "result”, almost automatic, of knowledge or something to be put off to the work environment.Knowledge and skills are indeed intertwined, but if skills can generally originate from knowledge, it is alsotrue that “doing” can stimulate the acquisition of knowledge. In addition to this, the acquisition of skills ismore likely to be self-checked by the student with a positive effect on her/his involvement in the achievementof learning goals and on her/his motivation to learn.Even for the skills, like knowledge, should beemphasized the importance of a careful verification of their acquisition by students.
I use the term a
, proposed in e-CF because itis more concise, but I consider it, at least in firstapproximation, as the equivalent capacity of personal,social and/or methodology abilities to which EQF doesnot add specifications.e-CF defines
a “cognitive and relational capacity (e.g. analysis capacity, synthesis capacity, flexibility, pragmatism,...)”.
It specifies: “
It is close tothe concepts of ‘manner’ and “demeanour”, it is the French ‘savoir être’”.
e-CF also contains the followingconcepts:
“If skills and knowledge are the components,attitudes are the
, which keeps them together”.
The discourse on attitudes is certainly more complexthan that of knowledge and skills as this item impliesabilities of very different types. Leaving for another occasion the objective to classify them, we limitourselves here to a list including personal capabilities,methodological and social abilities (according to EQF)and/or cognitive and social capacities (according to e-CF):
storage capacity, interpretation, extrapolation, link analysis, synthesis and evaluation;
autonomy, responsibility, target orientation/results,ability to organize, ability to concentrate and focus;
awareness, flexibility, ability to orient themselves;
ability to pose and solve problems;
ability to listen and communicate;
ability to work in groups, to accept different points of view, to support his own point of view, to coordinateand agree to co-ordination;