Change. It’s something teachers everywhere are well-versed in, particularly given the events of the last 18 months. Another change coming into focus for teachers in Spain is a new Education Law, the LOMLOE. The stated aim of the law is to ensure the provision of a quality education with equal opportunities for all and one all. The Law aims to help equip young people with the necessary competences to meet the demands of the global and digital world of today and tomorrow: to meet the demands of societal change.
In the blog post we’re going to look at the reasoning behind the new law and the key competences that it outlines. In future blog posts, we’ll look at what the law means for the English curriculum and look at what we can do in the classroom to develop the competences the law outlines.
The law sets out five key focuses or aims:
1. The right to education of every child in accordance with the UN Convention set out in 1989. This involves fomenting inclusion at all times.
2. Ensuring gender equality, preventing gender violence, respecting diversity and ensuring an inclusive and non-sexist education.
3. A competence-based approach (ie. using knowledge to do / achieve things) that gives schools more freedom to personalise learning based on their students’ needs.
4. A focus on sustainable development and global citizenship. The development of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to help young people take an active role in solving problems common to all of us at a local and global level. The includes protecting the environment, but also upholding human rights and an intercultural education. It involves developing empathy in young people for their natural and social surroundings.
5. The development of digital competence. We learn, interact, shop and spend our free time in the digital sphere and our education should prepare us for this – going beyond merely mastering how to use digital tools towards a judicious use.
Flying the nest
The law sets out a ‘leaver profile’ (perfil de salida) that students should have after primary and secondary education.
To draw a parellel, we sometimes talk about ‘backwards planning’ when preparing a lesson. Ie. what do I expect my students to be able to do by the end of a lesson? This could be based on a CEFR framework or GSE can-do descriptor (for example ‘Can make and accept a simple apology’). I then plan my lesson, including the language and skills my students will need to achieve the objective.
The ‘leaver profile’, rather than asking what students will be able to do at the end of the lesson, involves asking the question ‘What to students need to be able to do in life?’. This is the starting point for drawing up the curriculum. Memorising facts takes more of a back seat, while transferable competences and whole-child development come further into the foreground.
There’s terminology here that needs to be unpicked. The law talks about an ‘integral’ or ‘whole child’ approach. How is this defined? Three contexts for development are identified:
- The personal sphere, including intellectual and emotional development
- The social sphere, relating to the people and environment around you at a local and ever-changing global level
- The academic sphere, relating to success in the world of work (employability) and effective participation in a knowledge-based society
The law talks about a competence-based education, but how are competences defined? They involve:
– knowledge such as figures, concepts, ideas or theories.
– skills: using that knowledge practically to obtain results.
–attitudes: the willingness to act in the face of ideas, people or situations.
So, what are the eight key cross-curricular competences?
These are the eight competences identified:
- Personal/Social/Learning to learn
- Cultural and artistic
The LOMLOE provides can-do descriptors (which we languages teachers are adept at using) for each of these competences which describe what students should be able to do at the end of primary education and at the end of secondary education.
To take one example, let’s look at one of the descriptors for digital competence. A student who has finished primary education should be able to:
Do guided searches on the internet and use simple strategies to deal with digital information (keywords, selecting relevant information, data management) with a critical attitude towards content found.
If we move to the end of secondary education, the descriptor looks more like this:
Do detailed searches on the internet attending to validity, quality, up-to-dateness, reliability, choosing results critically, storing information properly for later use and reference and using information with respect for intellectual property rights.
Many of us probably already have our students doing research projects and then giving presentations (which is now the number one evaluation criteria for the specific ‘production’ competence in foreign languages, by the way! But we’ll get to that in a later blog post…). But this descriptor suggests a stronger focus on researching, selecting and using information when setting up such research projects. To read more about developing our students’ digital competence, have a read of Anita Derecskei’s blog post on the topic.
Conclusion and further resources
We’ve looked at the five key focuses of the law and its mission to create the right ‘leaver profile’ for success in life through developing transferable competences. You’re probably already very familiar with the ideas we’ve discussed in this blog post. Indeed, part of the law’s stated aim is keeping pace with changes in society and that is something that teachers and indeed publishers like Pearson are already doing.
Highlighting gender equality and diversity can change attitudes and lives. Did you know that Pearson is the world’s first learning company to create gender equality guidelines for all the products and services we provide? Even if you create your own lessons or design syllabi, following these guidelines can make a real difference in providing a balanced view to your students and removing bias. This podcast is also worth listening to.
Empowering young people to create a more sustainable future is perhaps the key challenge of our times. Have you heard about our Speak Out for Sustainability project, created in tandem with the BBC? This project provides resources and live lessons for teachers and students to raise awareness and inspire interaction and indeed action on sustainability questions.
Developing transferable competences that lead to personal and social development and to success in the world of work is a key aim of the law. To read further research that Pearson has done into employability and the future of skills, click here. You can enter your details and get a readout of the skills you might need in 2030!
This blog post has provided an overview of the LOMLOE. But in future blog posts we’ll delve deeper, looking at the updated English curriculum and looking at how to uphold the five focuses in our lessons.
Thanks for reading!