What is key competence?

Key Competence is “knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help learners find personal fulfilment and, later in life, find work and take part in society. These key competences include traditional skills such as communication in one's mother tongue, foreign languages, digital skills, literacy, and basic skills in mathematics and science, as well as horizontal skills such as learning to learn, social and civic responsibility, initiative and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness, and creativity.”

(https://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/school/competences_en).

Understand all? I thought so.

School has a certain function in people’s life. This institution is there to teach you about the world you live in, that is why you learn things like geography, biology, languages, etc. These subjects map young people in the community and explain the world as objective as possible. World and the rules of the life are also objective and that is the reason why there can be exams. You learn all about these topics to be able to function in the culture, to understand the rules of the nature and the rules of society and to motivate you to appreciate art.

Rules of nature are discovered, and rules of society are described by scientist. Our knowledge is being tested by teachers and professors and is achieved within the pre-prepared curriculum, which is standardized for each society. What we learn is objective and is real, because is the same for all. This is called formal education.

Youth work is operating mostly within the area of non-formal education and is using different tools for learning. There is no teacher nor exams at the end, the process has much loosened structure and is also individualized for participants of the youth work. Youth work enables individuals to learn mostly about themselves in the connection and relation to the environment. Young people reflect the theory from the school to practice and they reflect their own personal traits to the topics that are described as 8 Key Competences. This is a learning process that comes from within, it is a reflection, emotional and rational self-assessment about the development and the progress individual does while being a part of the youth work. This is a highly personal and individual process and that is why there is no teacher to check one’s progress and the process really cannot be standardized. What we learn is subjective and is real to individuals, because it is different for everyone. This is called non-formal education.

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Competence is a set of skills, knowledge or attitudes one can develop while participating in different activities of the youth work may that be a project or long-term activities and can be expressed as an emotional development or emotional balance, ability to do something new, raised awareness on some topic, learned new practices or work on the communication. The learning results can be explained in the frame of 8 Key Competences to enable individuals to structure their new learned knowledge.

When on youth project, we believe it is important to explain the 8 Key Competences but also to explain what competences are in the relations to the formal learning and to explain the benefits of the reflection or as some people call it, self-assessment.

We developed this tool, which we called The Book of Skills to help individuals to reflect the learning results they gained on the youth exchanges. For a better understanding what each Key Competence is, here are video tutorials we made for you.

Following the words of the Nojd and Siurala, which say that …the overall principle is that youth work should be planned, generated and evaluated together with young people…, we share our experiences and our development to ignite the love for learning and new skills.

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