The booklets are achievements within the project Development of key competences 2016–2022 implemented by the SIAE.
The idea of creating booklets with descriptors began to emerge with the vision of offering professionals in educational practice various tools and materials for quality work with adults. We paid specific attention to the development of the key competences of adults from vulnerable target groups. Of course, the booklets were also developed with the idea that learners can use them as a tool for independent learning when wanting to determine their level of development of individual key competence. We started preparing the last two booklets roughly than two years ago at the end of 2018. At that time, a new and last working group of practitioners who work in the field of ALE and other fields was invited to participate in the preparation of descriptors of key competences for social and civic competences and cultural awareness and expression. The working group carried out their work according to the method of action research, and they worked under the expert guidance of the competence team at the SIAE.
The booklets are an excellent tool for exploring the development of key competences of social and civic competences and cultural awareness and expression because they are written in simple enough language and with practical examples to enable evaluation and also form some foundations for further work. It is a collection of various materials and tools for strengthening the key competences of adults. It was developed in almost a decade long process of developing professional and learning material.
Educators face a great challenge and, what is more, the responsibility to put the development of social and civic competence at the forefront of the development of general competences of all individuals. This booklet can help them, as the examples in it are taken from real life and the current situation in which we are.
Both booklets are very useful, and not only counsellors but also teachers and mentors will be able to use them in their work. They will help counsellors discover the level of the client’s development of the key competences of social and civic competence and cultural awareness and expression. They will also serve as a tool to monitor and further develop both key competencies.
In the preparation of descriptors, the method of work, when new knowledge is created as a result of the intertwinement of theory and practice, is now well established at the SIAE. Through it, practitioners, through systematic deepening and testing in their educational practice, explore what is included in an individual key competence, what makes it special.
The working group of practitioners met regularly during the process of carefully structured action research. In this way, members were able to share their findings with each other and make reflections on their observations. They identified the descriptors that form each of the key competence, verbalised them and formed an integral whole. With constantly testing new knowledge, implementing it into their own practice, critically evaluating it and reflecting on what they had learned, another very important process took place at the same time, and that was the professional development of practitioners. This process was also carefully led and directed by the team at the SIAE.
By involving practitioners in the process of action research, we guide them to become multipliers and ambassadors of the method and the descriptors. To better understand the resulting set of descriptors in the booklets, read how the booklets were created — the methodological basis and also what it nowadays means to have well developed social and civic competences and cultural awareness and expression — definitions of individual key competences and placement in everyday life, how different professionals can use them in practice.
Last but not least, you will find a self-diagnostic tool in the booklets, which adults can use independently to identify what they are able to do and how well they have developed an individual key competence. To facilitate the understanding of different terms, we have prepared a useful dictionary, which includes general and specific expressions.
Cultural awareness and expression open up the dilemma of accepting and giving or knowing oneself and being open to others. Awareness and knowledge of oneself, our limitations and advantages, makes it easier to adapt to our surroundings.
I think that in today’s situation, people need to strengthen their social and civic competence. It is especially important to realise that only together as a community, a society — and each individual is a part of it — we can do everything in our power to help each of us. I believe that the booklet will also be used by adult educators in designing new lectures and programmes and as a tool for evaluating the competence of both key competences.
The booklets will change the view of all users who consider competences to be a matter of highly educated professionals, politicians and cultural workers. They will convince them that all social beings have at least partially developed cultural awareness and expression as well as social and civic competences.
In addition to being useful, the booklets are also very visually appealing and convenient. I like that they are written professionally and at the same time in a simple enough language that participants of vulnerable target groups can use them independently.
At the end of each booklet with descriptors, there is an excerpt from a review prepared by renowned experts in particular fields. Dr Mitja Sardoč prepared the expert review for the field of social and civic competences and Dr Ksenija Vidmar Horvat for the field of cultural awareness and expression.
To conclude, we invite you to read and use in your professional work the new booklets with Social and civic competences key competences descriptors (in Slovenian) and Cultural awareness and expression key competences descriptors, as well as the remaining booklets from the collection of descriptors of key competences.
Alja Verdenik (firstname.lastname@example.org), SIAE