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Children’s School Lives Study: Report 7

Children’s School Lives Study: Report 7

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Key Skills

Key Skills of Senior Cycle

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:

  • Information processing skills are developed where learners are required to access and process information using different sources as part of a research task. For example, in the assessment task, learners are required to produce a digital storyboard based on information they have collected and to analyse their own and others’ performance in physical activity.
  • Communication skills are developed as learners use the information gathered in discussions, debates, presentations and/or in group problem-solving tasks. Many of the topics in this specification are suitable as the basis of presentations and group discussions. For example, in strand 2, students learn about contemporary issues such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles and the influence of gender on participation in physical activity. These are all appropriate topics for discussion and debate.
  • Critical and creative thinking skills are developed in the planning for optimum performance, for example, in identifying performance goals and planning for improvement in a selected physical activity. In LCPE learners are involved in setting achievable performance targets and planning to address any potential setbacks.
  • The ability to develop and maintain good relationships is central to the key skill of working with others. Learners develop this skill as they work to achieve common performance goals, for example, in team games. Such opportunities arise frequently in physical activity settings.
  • Being personally effective includes the ability to reflect on their own performance and/or provide feedback to another about their performance in an effective way. In Topic 4, learners are required to reflect on their performance, practice and training experiences.

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.

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