Respondents to, or agents of, change? Teaching ‘soft skills’ in a school-university partnership project

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    This paper is the first interim report on a year-long case study about my
    partnership with a group of school teachers, and their experiences of designing
    and implementing their College Experience (CEX) program. The CEX program
    has been designed for Level 9 students, and both the program and the mandated curriculum which it is guided by were new in 2017. The CEX program centres on ‘soft skills’—Thinking, Ethical, Intercultural, and Personal and Social
    Capabilities—in practice. I use the term ‘soft skills’ in place of more static terms
    such as 21st Century Skills to draw attention to the fluid and liminal nature of
    these skills, as they shift in response to contextual change. The case study is
    framed within the concept of liminality—a time and place of transformation,
    where the separation from old ideas creates a phase of exploration before the
    aggregation of new ideas takes place. I consider whether practitioners position
    themselves as respondents to, rather than agents of, change, within this liminal

    This particular paper focusses on the initial phase of the case study, which was
    my own curriculum work for the project, through a reflective journal. Emergent
    themes include the excitement of newness countered by lack of resources,
    change fatigue, and developing autonomy within a top-down approach to
    curriculum change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSearch and Research
    Subtitle of host publicationTeacher Education for Contemporary Contexts
    EditorsJuanjo Mena, Ana Garcia-Valcarcel, Francisco Jose Garcia-Penalvo, Marta Martin Del Pozo
    Place of PublicationSalamanca Spain
    PublisherEdiciones Universidad de Salamanca
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9788490127698
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    • Soft skills
    • Capabilities
    • Curriculum reform
    • Liminality
    • Agency

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