Introducing EUROSOLE skills
A key focus of the EUROSOLE project is promoting young Europeans’ transitions in self-organised learning through their engagement with the essential skills that will enable them to successfully live and work in today’s global economy and the increasingly digital economies of the future. EUROSOLE spaces are designed to foster the creation of the kinds of collaborative learning opportunities which more closely mirror, prepare and equip students with lifelong and life wide skills. The skills used in the EUROSOLE project are defined at EU level and comprise of six key areas in basic and transversal skills. We refer to these as Primary Skills. In addition, to link the EUROSOLE spaces and Big Questions with skill development at an international level, the project includes Secondary Skills which are areas of knowledge specifically relevant to 21st century learning.
The European Commission’s work on skills and competences reports that “European countries have made significant progress in incorporating [these] key competences into national curricula and other steering documents, a fact that demonstrates commitment to make the skills taught to young people at school more relevant for their lives and societies. However, challenges remain – especially in regard to the practical implementation of the reformed curricula”. The EUROSOLE Big Question Data Bank and community housed on this portal aims to contribute to these challenges by supporting all those involved in the education of young Europeans to understand, apply and evaluate how these skills work in practice.
This guide draws on the wide variety of investment of other stakeholders in producing literature and guidance on skills and competences made available through the European Commission.
EUROSOLE Primary Skills
Transversal skills: The European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) is a multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. ESCO is part of the Europe 2020 strategy. ESCO defines transversal skills as: “relevant to a broad range of occupations and sectors. They are often referred to as core skills, basic skills or soft skills, the cornerstone for the personal development of a person. Transversal skills and competences are the building blocks for the development of the “hard” skills and competences required to succeed on the labour market”
Basic Skills: Basic skills are far from basic in the traditional sense of the word they are identified as a key part of the EU’s strategic growth and concern literacy, numeracy, science areas. The European Commission state that “acquiring basic skills in reading literacy, mathematics and science at school level is crucial for the development of key competences across the lifelong learning continuum. These skills evolve throughout the process of acquisition of key competences, as learners work with more and more complex information with accuracy and understanding, and so underpin qualities such as problem solving, critical thinking and initiative and creativity” (http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/school/math_en.htm)
EUROSOLE Secondary Skills – linking with 21st century skills
According to the Glossary of Education Reform: “the 21st century skills concept is motivated by the belief that teaching students the most relevant, useful, in-demand, and universally applicable skills should be prioritized in today’s schools, and by the related belief that many schools may not sufficiently prioritize such skills or effectively teach them to students. The basic idea is that students, who will come of age in the 21st century, need to be taught different skills than those learned by students in the 20th century, and that the skills they learn should reflect the specific demands that will placed upon them in a complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society” (http://edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/)
Civic & Social Skills
In the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006/962/EC), civic and social skills are defined as: “personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and cover all forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life, and particularly in increasingly diverse societies, and to resolve conflict where necessary. Civic competence equips individuals to fully participate in civic life, based on knowledge of social and political concepts and structures and a commitment to active and democratic participation” (https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/youth-in-action-keycomp-en.pdf)
The ET2020 Working Group on Transversal Skills has identified six aspects of entrepreneurship: Creativity; Teamwork; Problem-solving; Resource management; Risk-taking; Opportunity identification. (http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetailDoc&id=14356&no=2)
The guide below is taken from the final report of the DIGCOMP study which provides a detailed framework for the development of digital competence of all citizens (http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC83167)
Information: identify, locate, retrieve, store, organise and analyse digital information, judging its relevance and purpose.
Communication: communicate in digital environments, share resources through online tools, link with others and collaborate through digital tools, interact with and participate in communities and networks, cross-cultural awareness.
Content-creation: Create and edit new content (from word processing to images and video); integrate and re-elaborate previous knowledge and content; produce creative expressions, media outputs and programming; deal with and apply intellectual property rights and licences.
Safety: personal protection, data protection, digital identity protection, security measures, safe and sustainable use.
Problem-solving: identify digital needs and resources, make informed decisions as to which are the most appropriate digital tools according to the purpose or need, solve conceptual problems through digital means, creatively use technologies, solve technical problems, update one’s own and others’ competences.
In the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006/962/EC), foreign language skills are defined as: “sharing the main skill dimensions of communication in the mother tongue: it is based on the ability to understand, express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in both oral and written form (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in an appropriate range of societal and cultural contexts (in education and training, work, home and leisure) according to one’s wants or needs. Communication in foreign languages also calls for skills such as mediation and intercultural understanding. An individual’s level of proficiency will vary between the four dimensions (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and between the different languages, and according to that individual’s social and cultural background, environment, needs and/or interests” (https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/youth-in-action-keycomp-en.pdf)
In the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006/962/EC), mathematical skills are defined as: “the ability to develop and apply mathematical thinking in order to solve a range of problems in everyday situations. Building on a sound mastery of numeracy, the emphasis is on process and activity, as well as knowledge. Mathematical competence involves, to different degrees, the ability and willingness to use mathematical modes of thought (logical and spatial thinking) and presentation (formulas, models, constructs, graphs, charts)”
The Eurydice network (2011) part of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency define reading literacy as:
“the comprehensive aptitude to understand, use and reflect on written language forms in order to achieve personal and social fulfilment. It goes beyond the cognitive components of reading (i.e. decoding of words and text comprehension) to reach other aspects dealing with motivation for, and engagement in written materials. It is in line with the definition by Pierre (1992) who describes literacy as ‘the relationship one develops with the written word’. The term ‘reading literacy’ encompasses a distinction between ‘being able to read’ and ‘being a reader’. In a school context, students proficient in reading literacy have learned to read and are fluent in ‘reading to learn’”. (http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/130EN.pdf)
As a basic skill, Science covers a wide range of areas. In the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006/962/EC), science skills are defined as: “the ability and willingness to use the body of knowledge and methodology employed to explain the natural world, in order to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions […] Science skills are integrated with technological skills so that essential knowledge, skills and attitudes are include the basic principles of the natural world, fundamental scientific concepts, principles and methods, technology and technological products and processes, as well as an understanding of the impact of science and technology on the natural world. These competences should enable individuals to better understand the advances, limitations and risks of scientific theories, applications and technology in societies at large (in relation to decision-making, values, moral questions, culture, etc). […] Skills include the ability to use and handle technological tools and machines as well as scientific data to achieve a goal or to reach an evidence-based decision or conclusion. Individuals should also be able to recognise the essential features of scientific inquiry and have the ability to communicate the conclusions and reasoning that led to them” (https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/youth-in-action-keycomp-en.pdf)
EUROSOLE Secondary Skills – linking with 21st century skills
Following a framework collated by Ravitz, J., Hixson, N., English, M., & Mergendoller, J. (2012). Using project based learning to teach 21st century skills Findings from a statewide initiative. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Vancouver, Canada) :
Collaboration and Communication skills “refer to students being able to organize their thoughts, data and findings and share these effectively through a variety of media, as well as orally and in writing”
Creativity and Innovation skills “refer to students being able to generate and refine solutions to complex problems or tasks based on synthesis, analysis and then combining or presenting what they have learned in new and original ways”
Critical Thinking skills “refer to students being able to analyse complex problems, investigate questions for which there are no clear-‐cut answers, evaluate different points of view or sources of information, and draw appropriate conclusions based on evidence and reasoning”
Self-direction skills “refer to students being able to take responsibility for their learning by identifying topics to pursue and processes for their own learning and being able to review their own work and respond to feedback”
Global and Local Connections “refers to students being able to understand global, geo-political issues including awareness of geography, culture, language, history, and literature from other countries”
Technological Fluency “refers to students being able to manage their learning and produce products using appropriate information and communication technologies”
For more information on 21st Century Skills also see http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-framework
Civic & Social Skills