Traditionally, curriculum has emphasized content-knowledge; teachers educate students by providing a body of knowledge and developing a basic set of skills. With the advent of technology, access to dynamic, current information is widely available and brings into question curricula based primarily on content. Consider that any high school student, with a mobile phone device, has more current knowledge than the entire faculty of their school. So why does our educational establishment continue to place such a high value on content-knowledge in our curriculum, teaching and testing practices? How does a content driven curricula undermine a relevant education for students who can already access more current and dynamic information than their teachers can deliver? Clearly, a new priority for educational curriculum is needed. Many jurisdictions have recognized this need with the inclusion of competencies in their curricula. However, the willingness to loosen our white-knuckled grip on curriculum content needs to manifest as well. Shifting to this new priority is the next challenge we face in order to bring about real transformation in education.
The Successful Learner Trait Framework prioritizes competency-based education and is used for teaching, assessment, and reporting. The philosophical foundation of the Successful Learner Trait Framework recognizes students’ success as a product of how-they-apply themselves, rather than what-they-know. Whether students in classrooms or adults in life, how-we-apply-ourselves to challenge, setbacks, or circumstance is the true determinant of success. Content knowledge is useful; how we apply what we know is critical. The use of the Framework is based upon a key shift: prioritizing competencies. We do this by deliberately using curriculum content as the context in which to explicitly teach students what leads to success … subtle, yet powerful shift.