In senior cycle, there are five key skills identified as central to teaching and learning across the curriculum. These are information processing, being personally effective, communicating, critical and creative thinking and working with others. As learners engage with each of the key skills, they learn about themselves as learners both in general terms but also in the context of physical education, physical activity and sport. Therefore, as learners develop the five key skills, they also learn how to learn. The key skills are embedded within the learning outcomes of physical education.
Physical education provides learners with a unique opportunity to develop the key skills through learning within the psychomotor domain. For example, skills relating to being personally effective are clearly articulated in the learning outcomes about performance. Critical and creative thinking skills are central to learning outcomes where students respond to, for example, compositional tasks in dance or gymnastics or strategic thinking in games.
The use of different teaching and learning methodologies make it possible not only to meet the different learning needs of students but it also allows the key skills to be developed in physical education. For example:
The explicit and well-planned use of learning outcomes will enable teachers to assess learners’ progress in the key skills. As teachers observe learners engaging in the different learning experiences, they can use these opportunities to provide clear and supportive feedback to learners about their use of key skills. For example, learners may be engaged in evaluating their own performance in dance in relation to a set of agreed criteria. While students learn to identify their strengths and plan to improve their performance, they can also receive feedback about the key skill of personal effectiveness.
In the assessment for certification in Leaving Certificate Physical Education, the learner will be required to show evidence of engagement with the key skills through the assessment of the learning outcomes of the specification.