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Remixing the Key Competencies: A curriculum design deck

ISBN 978-1-98-854243-0

Developed by Rosemary Hipkins and Rachel Bolstad of NZCER

A resource for teachers to take a fresh look at the New Zealand Curriculum key competencies.  These cards are one of four sets available—see the panel on the left for the other three.

The resource consists of a set of sortable cards – much like playing cards but with a playful curriculum thinking purpose. Use the cards to think about ways in which rich learning tasks can provide opportunities for students to build and strengthen their key competencies. 

Each card in the set describes one specific aspect of one key competency (which is named on the reverse side). There are six cards for each of the five key competencies.  Six different aspects of that key competency are named.

When key competencies are woven together with challenging learning area content, in the context of rich tasks, the overall learning experience is more meaningful for students.

Getting this point across has not proved to be easy. Teachers use the cards to think about ways in which rich learning tasks can provide opportunities for students to build and strengthen their key competencies.  The cards seem to generate the weaving insight in a flash – as long as it takes to play with them! 



"Clear and thought provoking dispositions for the key competencies." - Primary school teacher

"...they are absolutely invaluable!! Recently I have found myself using them everytime I sit down with teachers – they really do help to refine my own thinking and teachers’. They are so useful in ensuring that learning intentions of activities are distinct, clear and focussed – which also really helps when the teachers are looking for evidence of student learning from the activities as well." - Sabina Cleary

"I did that KC exercise with my department this morning and it was such a cool session. Everyone shared different things they were teaching and totally engaged with how we use key competencies and how we really do need to go back to being more mindful of how we can incorporate them into our teaching and learning programmes. I would really like to thank you for sharing this resource with me; it made for an incredibly cool department meeting this morning." - Secondary school HOD

Where did the statements come from?

The statements on the cards have been distilled from a decade of research on key competencies. Three main influences were:

  • The original OECD definitions from the DeSeCo project. This summary explains the intended (and more complex) framing of the KCs compared to how they appear in NZC:
  • Key Competencies for the Future: the research that underpinned this book used a futures thinking process to create an alternative manifesto for KC development in the context of the whole NZC document (bringing front and back together).