Competencies for Teaching and Learning

A major option has arose around the concept of competencies for both teachers and students. For decades, the greatest underlying debate over the direction of education has been subject matter mastery versus competencies for life. For example, it is argued that mastery of social studies, math, science and language arts will produce a successful adult. The national Common Core Standards supports this approach. The competency approach says to spell out competencies of a successful person and then teach those competencies through various learning experiences. Of course, there would be considerable overlap in what these two school approaches would do but the underlying philosophies and purpose are quite different. A considerable body of research, such as the Eight Year Study, supports the competency approach.

We now see interest in spelling out the specific competencies of effective teachers with training programs established to accomplish that result. Public Impact’s report Using Competency-Based Evaluation to Drive Teacher Education and School Turnaround Leaders: Competencies for Success describes the  thorough and successful training of teachers in Singapore and elsewhere. Similarly, the concept of badging  or badges and here is finding greater acceptance as a way of indicating successive accumulation of skills and knowledge, not unlike merit badges of Scouts. The competency approach applies to children and youth as well.

One well-developed plan describes the teacher competencies for a progressive school and how to assess competence. This is a document on our website and available for all to use.