Consise Essential Learnings Detailed Essential Learnings
Essential Learnings are understandings, dispositions and capabilities which are developed through the Learning Areas and form an integral part of children’s and students’ learning from birth to Year 12 and beyond. They are resources which are drawn upon throughout life and enable people to productively engage with changing times as thoughtful, active, responsive and committed local, national and global citizens. Engaging with these concepts is crucial to enhancing the learning culture within and beyond schools/sites.
To understand where Essential Learnings have come from, we need to return to the notion of changing times and consider the implications for children and students.
Social commentators now refer to our youth as the ‘options generation’, by which they mean that their post-school world is not one characterised by the certainty of employment and career-long pathways. Instead they engage with many possibilities and uncertainties in employment, recreation and community activities. There is a rich variety of options open to them, which are constantly changing.
The challenge is to develop the personal resources and flexibility to be able to take advantage of what is on offer, to possess the capabilities to apply knowledge, skills and experiences to new and different contexts and situations, and to be able to act responsibly with regard to others. Amidst diversity and opportunity, the challenge for educators is to facilitate the systematic learning of these capabilities. In the SACSA Framework they have been identified as ‘Essential Learnings’.
These understandings, capabilities and dispositions are personal and intellectual qualities, not bodies of knowledge, and they are developed throughout an individual’s life. They are intended to broaden the options for, and so enrich the lives of, all people in our society.
Within the SACSA Framework, five Essential Learnings have been identified. They are: Futures, Identity, Interdependence, Thinking and Communication. Specifically these Essential Learnings foster the capabilities to:
Each Essential Learning is elaborated as follows and the Essential Learnings are provided as an overview diagram.
What knowledge, skills and dispositions are required to maximise opportunities in creating preferred futures?
Learners develop a sense of optimism about their ability to actively contribute to shaping preferred futures and capabilities to critically reflect on, and take action in, shaping preferred futures.
Curriculum developed from this Framework provides opportunities and skills for learners to critically examine future possibilities and challenge commonly held assumptions about the past, present and future. Through such analysis learners understand that the future has connections with the present and the past, and that social, political, economic and physical environments are constantly changing and can be improved. Thus the major theme of this learning is creating sustainable natural environments, and just and sustainable human environments.
What knowledge, skills and dispositions are required to critically understand self-identity, group-identity and relationships?
Through this Essential Learning children and students develop a sense of personal and group identity and capabilities to contribute to, critically reflect on, and take action to shape, relationships.
Curriculum developed from this Framework provides learnings about the nature of identity, both of the self and groups, and through these understandings the value and nature of diversity and social complexity. Learners gain understandings of, and confidence in, themselves through their capabilities to relate to others in culturally diverse communities; and by establishing relationships based on self-knowledge and respect for, and understandings of, the knowledges of others.
What knowledge, skills and dispositions are required to critically understand the systems to which lives are connected, and to participate positively in shaping them?
Through this Essential Learning children and students develop a sense of being connected with their world and capabilities to contribute to, critically reflect on, and take action to shap,e local and global communities.
Curriculum developed from this Framework provides structures and processes for learners to critically examine the social, political, cultural, economic and environmental systems to which they belong and contribute. They understand the patterns and evolutions that have shaped, and continue to shape, cultures, languages and the structures that connect and divide peoples and societies. In understanding their own interdependence and developing their own world view, they take civic action in supporting sustainable physical environments and just social environments.
What knowledge, skills and dispositions are required to develop particular habits of mind, to create and innovate, and to generate solutions?
Through this Essential Learning children and students develop a sense of the power of creativity, wisdom and enterprise and capabilities to evaluate and generate ideas and solutions.
Curriculum developed from this Framework provides learners with opportunities to think about thinking and to develop enterprising attributes. By developing a range of systematic, logical, innovating and rigorous thinking and action processes, learners are able to solve problems creatively and generate solutions. They draw on thinking from a range of times and cultures and expand their capabilities for living in, and improving, a technologically based knowledge society and being enterprising citizens.
What knowledge, skills and dispositions are required to construct and deconstruct meaning, and to critically understand the power of communication and its technologies?
Learners develop a sense of the power and potential of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technologies and capabilities to critically reflect on, and shape, the present and future through powerful uses of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technologies.
Curriculum developed from this Framework provides a focus on the development of literacy and numeracy skills, and of the technologies through which these are often expressed and through which information is generated and managed. Learners develop a wider understanding of the different modes of communication, and an ability to critically analyse the power of communication and the ways to access that power in order to become strong communicators in a variety of contexts.