Following on from last week’s podcast on knowledge, The 21st Century Learning Initiative’s Janet Lawley rethinks the second element of the school curriculum – skills.

The traditional school curriculum features academic skills – reading, writing, languages and ICT. They are all essential skills and all academic.

But what about practical skills – where do they fit in to the curriculum? Skills are central to learning. You cannot learn a skill theoretically – you have to practise it. As you do with academic skills.

We need to accept that by practising skills we get better at them. We also need to drop the distinction between academic and vocational skills so that we think about how skills fit into learning in a more holistic way.

Skills are central to education, they build on our knowledge and they help us to learn in an active way.

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