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 develop competencies in each of the key skills they will grow in their knowledge about, and skills in, learning in general and their own learning in particular. The key skills are embedded within the learning outcomes of Politics and Society and are assessed in the context of those learning outcomes.
Ideas for developing these skills within the day-to-day teaching and learning of the Politics and Society classroom can be accessed here.
The following aspects of Politics and Society contribute to the development of key skills.
Learning outcomes are statements of the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes which it is expected learners will be able to demonstrate as a result of the learning associated with the topic. Key skills such as information processing and critical and creative thinking are well represented in the learning outcomes through the focus on the use of diverse sources of information, on understanding different positions and on evaluating the evidence that supports or contradicts these positions. Skills related to being personally effective and working with others are also clearly articulated in the learning outcomes in the Active citizenship strand.
The focus on active and participatory learning which is central to Politics and Society means that learners can be engaged in learning activities that most directly match their own needs and ways of learning. Politics and Society involves engaging in democratic deliberation and in debating and interpreting diverse perspectives and positions on sociological and political issues. This requires the active engagement of learners with the material. As such, a wide range of participatory and enquiry-focused teaching and learning activities are appropriate for Politics and Society. These activities facilitate a focus on developing key skills.
The clarity of the learning outcomes will enable teachers to assess the learning of students on an ongoing basis and to provide clear and supportive feedback as to how they can further develop their skills and capacities. The active, discursive approach to learning in the course provides opportunities for formative assessment practices which promote the development of the five key skills. The assessment arrangements envisaged for this course will require learners to present material which has been generated in part as a result of their involvement with key skills. In particular, the report on the citizenship project will draw on the key skills of working with others and of being personally effective. The case study section of the terminal examination will allow a focus on the key skills of information processing and critical and creative thinking. The skills of information processing, and critical and creative thinking as well as effective communication can also be assessed through all other elements of the assessment.