The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes capabilities, which are a set of discrete knowledge and skills that can and should be taught explicitly in and through the learning areas, but are not fully defined by any of the learning areas or disciplines.
The four capabilities in the Victorian Curriculum F–10 are:
1. Critical and Creative Thinking
Responding effectively to environmental, social and economic challenges requires young people to be creative, innovative, enterprising and adaptable, with the motivation, confidence and skills to use critical and creative thinking purposefully. Explicit attention to and application of thinking skills enables students to develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the processes they can employ whenever they encounter both the familiar and unfamiliar, to break ineffective habits and build on successful ones, building a capacity to manage their thinking.
Thinking that is productive, purposeful and intentional is at the centre of effective learning and the creation of new knowledge, with the progressive development of knowledge about thinking and the practice of using thinking strategies fostering students’ motivation for, and management of, their own learning.
Critical and creative thinking are strongly linked. Students require explicit support to develop the breadth and depth of their thinking and to take intellectual risks. This attention to thinking helps students to build self-awareness and their capacities for reflection. Developing critical and creative thinking capability is an essential element of developing successful, confident and innovative members of the community.
2. Ethical Capability
The Ethical Capability curriculum explores what it means for both an individual and society to live well. Students examine what we ought to do, how we ought to live, what kind of society we should have and what kind of person one should be. These questions concern individuals alone and relationships between people, and between people and environmental, social and economic systems. They involve contested and complex concepts.
This exploration strengthens students’ capacity to make decisions informed by an understanding of the values, principles, concepts and ideas that underpin different assumptions, and an ability to analyse and evaluate these.
Building capability in ethical understanding supports the development of informed citizenship at local, regional and global levels.
3. Intercultural Capability
Intercultural interactions have become a part of everyday life in our increasingly multicultural and globalised world. Developing intercultural knowledge, skills and understandings is an essential part of living with others in the diverse world of the twenty-first century. The Intercultural capability curriculum assists young people to become responsible local and global citizens, equipped for living and working together in an interconnected world.
Intercultural capability enables students to learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. Students learn about diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect.
The Intercultural capabilty curriculum aims to develop students who are active and informed citizens with an appreciation of Australia’s social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, and the ability to relate to and communicate across cultures at local, regional and global levels.
4. Personal and Social
The Personal and Social Capability is essential in enabling students to understand themselves and others, and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. The capability involves students learning to recognise and regulate emotions, develop empathy for others and understand relationships, establish and build a framework for positive relationships, work effectively in teams and develop leadership skills, and handle challenging situations constructively.
The Personal and Social Capability supports students in becoming creative and confident individuals with a sense of self-worth, self-awareness and personal identity that enables them to manage their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, with a sense of hope and optimism about their lives and the future. On a social level, it helps students to form and maintain healthy relationships and prepares them for their potential life roles as family, community and workforce members.
The Personal and Social Capability encompasses students’ personal/emotional and social/relational dispositions, intelligences, and sensibilities. Although it is named ‘Personal and Social Capability’, the words ‘personal/emotional’ and ‘social/relational’ are used interchangeably throughout the literature and within educational organisations. The term ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ is also often used, as is the SEL acronym.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) evidence-based approach and definitions of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are the best known and most highly respected in the world today, and provide an excellent framework for integrating the academic, emotional and social dimensions of learning.
The Social and Emotional Learning programs adopted at St Louis are “You Can Do It Program Achieve” in Prep – Year 2; Bounce Back in Years 3 & 4; and “Make Jesus Real” in Years 5 & 6.