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Section Educational Competencies

Introduction

To introduce the concept of educational competencies in the development of your NSO’s Youth Programme, you need to take another step forward in making explicit the educational intentionality in each of the age sections and, at the same time, use a concept of education that keeps a close relationship with the Scout Method. 

What is a section educational competency?

The section educational competencies are defined, according to each area of personal growth, and a set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are proposed for each of the age groups in which your NSO’s Youth Programme is divided.

The section educational competencies define the personal development that may be expected from a young person after a certain time, once they have completed the Youth Programme in a specific age section.

They follow the same educational trails as the final educational competencies, in order to ensure a smooth progression from one section to another. Section educational competencies may also be considered to be intermediate competencies which lead step by step, from one age range to another, to the achievement of the final educational competencies.

Purpose of the section educational competencies: 

  • To express Scouting’s goal of helping young people to fulfil their full potential in realistic and measurable terms, adapted to the needs of young people in each age range.
  • To ensure coherence between the educational competencies for each section and the final educational competencies, in accordance with the goals expressed in the Educational Proposal. It is important to have consistency with the final competencies.
  • To encourage young people to make personal progress in all areas of growth, and to provide them with a basis on which to set their own personal competency goals and evaluate their progress.
  • To provide a clear framework for adult leaders to use in their educational role.
  • To encourage dialogue and an open, trusting relationship between young people and adults.
  • To provide a framework to assess the impact of the Youth Programme offered to young people and identify any improvements needed.

 

Educational competencies as a combination of learning outcomes

These educational competencies define the learning (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) that enables people to successfully perform critical tasks and functions in a defined setting to resolve challenges.

Learning can be classified into: 

  • Knowledge 
  • Skills 
  • Attitudes and values 

 

The concept of an educational competency

We said in step 3 that by educational competency we do not mean the rivalry between two people to achieve an end. This would deny the social and co-operative dimension of education in Scouting. 

In the context of Scouting, we understand the concept of competency in a wider sense, in which the knowledge acquired is at the service of the development of the individual in all their dimensions, and not just in terms of employment or a productive system. Outside the work setting, we approach it from a humanist and broader perspective that considers the integrality of the person.

From the perspective of your NSO’s  Educational Proposal, the competencies are at the service of education for life.

 

Educational competencies, life competencies

“The young people of today are facing enormous challenges: violence, environmental degradation, disease, discrimination, poverty. Beyond basic arithmetic, literacy, and education, the ability of a child to function in this world, with time becomes more complex, requires a wide variety of cognitive, social and work-related competencies. 

The expression “preparation for life,” refers to a broad set of psychosocial and interpersonal skills that can help  to make informed decisions, to communicate effectively and to function in their environment. By incorporating life skills into our education systems, we are giving children the necessary tools to face the challenges and confidently breakthrough in the world.”1

The age section’s educational competencies are at the service of the full development of a person in all its dimensions, not only inside Scouting but outside also.

The final competencies and the age section competencies are set for all growth areas, to cover  the development of all aspects of the personality in a balanced way.

The age section’s educational competencies are achieved through all the learning opportunities that a young person experiences, both inside and outside of Scouting, because this knowledge will be useful not only for a stage in a person’s life, and not only through Scouting.

The values proposed in your NSO’s Educational Proposal and transmitted through the Promise and Law, should be clearly defined as a set of educational competencies within your  Youth Programme.

However, far from being a matrix used to form a model of the “ideal” person, the set of competencies is a proposal that offers young people the opportunity to be at the centre of their own educational process.

This central idea of the young person as protagonist of their educational process, must be taken into account when designing the systems of personal progression, which shall be based on the educational competencies of the age section.

 

Defining Section Educational Competencies

Section educational competencies should be both challenging and achievable to be attractive to young people in the various age sections. For each age section and for each educational trail, it is necessary to define several competencies leading to the final educational competencies.  

For young people, developing competencies is a process which happens over time. It is necessary to define the competency for the youngest age section first, aligned to the stage of development, before those of the other age sections. This allows a clear view of the sequence of the competencies and their progressive nature. They are steppingstones to the final educational competencies, as you can see in the example in Annex 4  “Final and Section Competencies grid”.

As well as the chronological sequence, the section educational competencies will also address each of the areas of personal growth, taking care that all your priorities are considered from the earliest stage.  Of course, some may be achievable before the last age section, so you may have a competency statement for a personal growth priority for an earlier age section and also for the final age section. 

Another factor in the matrix of educational competencies is their interdependent and cohesive nature, reflecting the nature of young people themselves. Your NSO will need to ensure that those elements are considered. 

It is important to determine in advance how many educational competencies you will have.  This will depend on the number of priorities for each area of growth. You will need at least two per age section, but remember these will impact directly on your progressive scheme. 

Scouting’s educational competencies are expressed in terms of achieving the educational goal. The aim is to place the individual young person at the centre, as the educational process will be experienced by them uniquely. Even if the competencies they set out to achieve and the educational opportunities they undertake are the same, each individual enters the learning cycle from their own starting point, baseline level of knowledge, ability, and understanding, defining their learning path according to their  interests, especially in the older age sections.

The distance travelled (i.e., the new learning gained) is expanded on in step 8 as part of Personal Progression.

The Final Educational Competencies (step 3) are agreed according to the Areas of Personal Growth (step 5). The capacities of your young people are aligned with their Stages of Development (step 4), and this knowledge will guide you in developing the appropriate Section Educational Competencies (step 6) for each of the age sections. 

We recognise that each individual is unique, but for the purpose of this exercise an age has been set, and a generalisation of capacities has been applied.

  • Examples in this Annex of Final Educational Competencies were set in Western Europe to be achieved by young people by the age of 21.
  • Examples for the Section Educational Competencies were set to be achieved by young people by the ages of 9, 13, and 16 years.

 

Developing Section Educational Competencies 

When developing Section Competencies, start with each Final Competency and then look to where the young people in your youngest age section will start on their journey, their first step to achieving this Final Competency. This follows through all your age sections, as the competencies build on each other. It is important to take each one in turn, but also to keep an eye on the bigger picture. 

You developed your Final Competencies using the definition of each Area of Growth and the educational trails which emphasised the  priorities within each. These trails took into account the needs and aspirations of young people in your particular social and cultural context, and broke down the definition to provide clear paths to follow. These will assist you again in the development of Section Competencies. 

Sometimes you will set Final Competencies that can realistically be achieved by young people in a younger age section. In this case just note it as the Section Competency for that age section and the ones that follow.  In the grid you can see one example from each of the trails detailed in Stages of Development (step 2). In reality, you will have a number of Final Competencies to adequately address each of these trails, and each of those will have Section Competencies.

 

An example of a Final and Section Competencies Grid

 

Area of Growth Definition Educational Trails Final Competencies Late Childhood Early Adolescence Adolescence Young Adulthood (Final Competencies)
Social Acquiring the concept of interdependence with others and developing capacity to co- operate and lead. Relationship and Communication Develop the skills and attitudes needed to build and maintain meaningful and appropriate relationships and friendships. Welcome and include others as part of the things I do. Show what it is to be a friend and recognise the value of friendship. Accept the changing nature of my relationships, and recognise that my life will be enriched as a result. Develop the skills and attitudes needed to build and maintain meaningful and appropriate relationships and friendships.
Cooperation and Leadership Master the ability to cooperate with others and take on responsibility. Develop my cooperation skills by listening, sharing my things, actively taking part in team activities, and encouraging others. Develop the ability to work with others, follow instructions, and learn about personal responsibility. Develop the ability to cooperate with others and take on responsibility. Master the ability to cooperate with others and take on responsibility.
Solidarity and Service Recognise my roles within society, and make a positive contribution to society. Understand that it is important that I am considerate and help others. Participate in my community and help those around me when needed. Develop and demonstrate a sense of civic responsibility and define and explore my opinions on social equality and inclusion. Recognise my roles within society, and make a positive contribution to society.

 

 

Area of Growth Definition Educational Trails Final Competencies Late Childhood Early Adolescence Adolescence Young Adulthood (Final Competencies)
Physical Becoming responsible for the growth and functioning of one’s own body Identifying Needs Identify when my body is working well and when it isn’t and have the good judgment to get help when I need it. Know what makes my body work well. Understand how my body are continuously changing. Understand the implications of these changes on my life. Be comfortable with how my body functions, and recognise when it doesn’t function well. Identify when my body is working well and when it isn’t and have the good judgment to get help when I need it.
Maintenance Demonstrate that I play an active, ongoing role in maintaining my own dietary health. Understand what food is good for me. Demonstrate that I know the benefits of good nutrition and a balanced diet. Demonstrate that I play an active ongoing role in maintaining my own dietary health. Demonstrate that I play an active, ongoing role in maintaining my own dietary health.
Efficiency Protect and maintain my health and fitness through my choice of a healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle. Pursue activity to include exercise routinely in my life. Explore and understand the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. Participate in regular fitness routines as part of a healthy balanced and active lifestyle. Protect and maintain my health and fitness through my choice of a healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle.

 

 

Competencies and Safe from Harm 

Each area of personal growth has a Safe from Harm component that has to be taken into account when defining the final and section educational competencies for your NSO’s Youth Programme.

The Safe from Harm World Policy defines a set of actions and procedures to ensure the emotional and physical safety of children and young people thanks to the creation of a safe environment. The Youth Programme is an integral part of this policy. It states as follows: ”The principles of Scouting support the holistic development of young individuals towards self-confident and reflective personalities.” 

These examples may be adjusted for each area of personal growth:

  • Physical ‒ Knows and respects the safety rules defined. 
  • Intellectual ‒ Has easy and transparent access to essential information (emergency numbers, how to report, what an adult or another child can and cannot do, the Scout Law) on creating a safe environment.
  • Emotional ‒ Has no fear related to their physical needs, to their loved ones and their relationships with others, to secrets around them.
  • Character ‒ Knows the behavioural rules of the group and lives the Scout Promise and Law.
  • Social ‒ Knows and acts to prevent any types of harm (emotional, physical, verbal) and stands up for themselves and others (is proactive towards Safe from Harm values and rules).
  • Spiritual ‒ Acknowledges their right and freedom of themselves (and that of others) to express their spirituality or not, and to respect the choice of others in this dimension.

 

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