RSA Opening Minds

RSA Opening Minds competence framework

The Opening Minds curriculum features five categories of competences: learning, citizenship, relating to people, managing situations and managing information. Focusing on competences means that Opening Minds teaching emphasises the ability to understand and to do, rather than just the transmission of knowledge.

These competences are broad areas of capability, developed in classrooms through a mixture of instruction and practical experience: children plan their work, organise their own time and explore their own ways of learning.

Subject boundaries are less defined than in traditional curriculum teaching, with schools often integrating the teaching of several subjects together into modules or topics, where competences can be developed through the exploration of common themes.   Crucially, the input of teachers and the individual needs of schools are central to the planning of each Opening Minds project.

Five key competences

Each competence category contains a number of individual competences, which are expressed in terms of what a school student could achieve having progressed through the curriculum:

Competences for Citizenship

  • Morals and ethics – students develop an understanding of ethics and values, how personal behaviour should be informed by these and how to contribute to society.
  • Making a difference – students understand how society, government and business work, and the importance of active citizenship.
  • Diversity – students understand and value social, cultural and community diversity, in both national and global contexts.
  • Technological impact – students understand the social implications of technology.
  • Self-reliance – students develop an understanding of how to manage aspects of their own lives and the techniques they might use to do so, including managing their financial affairs.

 Competences for Learning

  • Learning styles – students understand different ways of learning and how to develop and assess their effectiveness as learners.
  • Reasoning – students learn to think originally and systematically and how to apply this knowledge.
  • Creativity – students explore and understand their own abilities and creative talents, and how best to make use of them.
  • Positive motivation – students learn to enjoy and love learning for its own sake and as part of understanding themselves.
  • Key skills – students achieve high standards in literacy, numeracy, and spatial understanding.
  • ICT skills – students achieve high standards of competence in handling information and communications technology and understand the underlying processes.

 Competences for Managing Information

  • Research – students develop a range of techniques for accessing, evaluating and differentiating information and have learned how to analyse, synthesise and apply it.
  • Reflection – students understand the importance of reflecting and applying critical judgement and learn how to do so.

 Competences for Relating to People

  • Leadership – students understand how to relate to other people in varying contexts in which they might find themselves, including those where they manage, or are managed by, others; and how to get things done.
  • Teamwork – students understand how to operate in teams and their own capacities for filling different team roles.
  • Coaching – students understand how to develop other people, whether as peer or teacher.
  • Communication – students develop a range of techniques for communicating by different means, and understand how and when to use them.
  • Emotional intelligence – students develop competence in managing personal and emotional relationships.
  • Stress management – students understand and are able to use varying means of managing stress and conflict.

 Competences for Managing Situations

  • Time management – students understand the importance of managing their own time, and develop preferred techniques for doing so.
  • Coping with change – students understand what is meant by managing change, and develop a range of techniques for use in varying situations.
  • Feelings and reactions – students understand the importance both of celebrating success and managing disappointment, and ways of handling these.
  • Creative thinking – students understand what is meant by being entrepreneurial and initiative-taking, and how to develop their capacities in these areas.
  • Risk taking – students understand how to manage risk and uncertainty, including the wide range of contexts in which these will be encountered and techniques for managing them.