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Personal learning goals: overcoming challenges and shaping capabilities

With a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, we know that our learners will face challenging circumstances. For this reason, if learners are to flourish and overcome challenges, their dispositional qualities must be a key area of focus for teachers and school leaders.

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"Learning from our shortcomings through reflecting on what prevented us from making the best choice is essential"

Whether consciously or not, personal learning cultivates within us, a mindset to approaching challenges, and they strongly shape our attitudes and capabilities as thinkers and learners.

The eight Personal Learning Goals that run through all three of our International Curriculums are: Adaptable, Collaborator, Communicator, Empathetic, Ethical, Resilient, Respectful and Thinker.

As our International Curriculum is used in over 90 countries developing a common understanding of what the Personal Learning Goals look like, sound like and feel like is a crucial aspect. We have developed a matrix of indicators which describe each personal goal in relation to increasing maturity and breadth of experience. These provide learners and teachers with detailed illustrations of what is hoped for from each Personal Learning Goal.

Personal learning cannot be confined to curriculum specific activities or moments. To be successful this learning needs to pervade across all aspects of the curriculum and the school community. Opportunities for learning about these attitudes and the behaviours that result from them should be capitalised on as they provide models and exemplars that help children to develop their understanding of what is expected of them when they are learning to be thinkers, respectful, empathetic etc.

Learning about these qualities and dispositions should be embedded throughout their school experiences and the children need to understand that for most of us, constantly exhibiting these high standards is not realistic. Learning from our shortcomings through reflecting on what prevented us from making the best choice is essential and will contribute to our self-awareness and personal development.

Unplanned opportunities to learn about these dispositions require tuning into and discussing current affairs, thinking locally and globally, who is doing this now or even who should be for example, showing more empathy, respect, or resilience to help improve our world.

“Personal learning is not confined to a specific time, place or subject”

For younger children fiction provides a wealth of characters to discuss where children can identify which Personal Goals they demonstrated as well as evaluating which might have been useful in the context of the story. Through personal learning children should also be developing an understanding and appreciation of the impact these qualities have on the world around them and how they as an individual benefit from being surrounded by people demonstrating these.

Personal learning is not confined to a specific time, place or subject. All eight learning goals are applicable within all aspects of the International Early Years, Primary and Middle Years curriculum, school, and life experience. In all three of the International Curriculum the Personal Learning Goals are included as explicit, shared outcomes of tasks. Children should therefore experience a positive response externally and internally, as a result hopefully they will be motivated to further adopt and value these qualities as part of everyday life.

This is a sponsored post from Fieldwork Education, which provides International Curriculum for Early Years, Primary and Middle Years, Professional Learning and Accreditation through the International Curriculum Association to schools and teachers around the world.

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