The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes capabilities, which are a set of discrete knowledge and skills that can and should be taught explicitly in and through the learning areas, but are not fully defined by any of the learning areas or disciplines. A key distinction between the Australian Curriculum F–10 and the Victorian Curriculum F–10 is the provision of content descriptions and achievement standards in the four capabilities.
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Personal and Social
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 design does not include these three general capabilities as separate learning areas or capabilities with discrete knowledge and skills.
Personal and Social Capability
The Personal and Social capability focuses on the recognition and expression of emotions, the development of resilience, and the appreciation of diversity of gender, age, language, culture and religion. Students explore the importance of a range of social relationships, including within families, peer groups and the community. They are also enabled to identify and manage emotional responses in a range of contexts.
Learning in Personal and Social capability is strongly connected to many other areas of the curriculum. Health and Physical Education, in particular, enables students to develop knowledge of recognition of personal qualities, awareness of identity and establishment and maintenance of respectful relationships.
Critical and Creative Thinking
The Critical and Creative Thinking capability focuses on the development of increasingly complex and sophisticated processes of thinking. Critical and creative thinking processes are fundamental to effective learning across the curriculum.
The Questions and Possibilities strand is the basis for all effective learning and provides a structure for inquiry-based approaches to teaching. Helping students understand the fundamental role that questions and questioning play in enabling learning and developing a learning disposition is a necessary condition for deep learning. The Questions and Possibilities strand supports students to develop their imaginative and intuitive capacity as well as fostering a curious and speculative disposition. Students apply these to propose novel ideas, develop original artefacts and make new connections.
The Reasoning strand provides students with the knowledge and tools to both construct and evaluate ideas and arguments that may be unfamiliar. It underpins other areas of the curriculum in which students are required to gather, consider and evaluate data, evidence and propositions and then form conclusions.
The Meta-Cognition strand defines the knowledge and skills that enable students to better identify, describe, understand, practice, develop and manage their own learning processes. Critical and creative thinking processes are not discrete but are related within each of the strands. For example, part of creative thinking is establishing and using criteria to critically evaluate the merits of various propositions generated by creative thinking processes. Likewise, critical thinking can involve the application of creative thinking processes to generate novel criteria that can then be used to evaluate propositions in innovative and productive ways.
The Intercultural capability curriculum focuses on learning about cultural understandings and practices. Students examine, reflect on and challenge assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices and explore how intercultural experiences can influence and change attitudes and beliefs.
Students apply their learning in intercultural capability to complex questions of the globalised world. Intercultural capability fosters skills that assist students to negotiate across barriers that may arise from differences.
Intercultural capability is strongly connected to those areas of learning concerned with people and their societies, relationships and interactions, including the Personal and Social capability knowledge and skills related to empathy, openness, respect and conflict resolution.
The Ethical capability curriculum focuses on the conceptual and analytical skills necessary for informed deliberation on ethical issues. This curriculum enables students to identify the assumptions and implications of different ethical positions, recognising the areas of contestability within those positions. It is based on three assumptions:
- many aspects of ethics are contestable and debatable and students are encouraged to challenge assumptions and to examine competing sources of authority
- the development of ethical capability is enhanced by engaging with philosophical ideas, the premises of different religions, secular world views and cultural norms
- reasoning is central to developing ethical capability and provides a way to structure competing considerations and manage judgements. Students are encouraged to confront ethical dilemmas critically, to ask whether intuition or feelings are adequate guides, and to consider how a range of principles or values contribute to their understanding of an ethical issue.