Today, more than ever, it is important for students not only to be equipped with academic qualifications, but also in life skills and have a better understanding of the world we now live in.
The Enrichment Programme offers a range of activities designed to broaden horizons and to equip our students with the confidence to face the future.
Enrichment Programme at Palma College
Underpinning the Enrichment Programme at Palma College are the skills identified below. All activities and lessons within the programme are designed to encourage students to learn to think about skills and be able to apply them in a variety of contexts; be it planning and cooking a healthy meal; making their own financial plans or simply being open to other cultures and communities.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines skills as
The bundle of knowledge, attributes and capacities that can be learned and that enable individuals to successfully and consistently perform an activity or task and can be built upon and extended through learning.
Non routine problem solving
Collaborative problem solving
Self-management and self-development
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) uses a single scale that measures to what extent students are able to use their knowledge and understand, recognise relationships and perspectives, and think critically about a specific global or intercultural issue.
Students are exposed to appropriate information, but absorb this information in a passive way without understanding its deeper meaning and links to other information. This component is not acquired by factual knowledge alone, but rather through the ability to find the meanings of and the connections between different pieces of information, in other words, through understanding.
A mature level of understanding is achieved through cognitive flexibility, or the ability to learn and organise knowledge in a way that facilitates transferring that knowledge to a range of new, unanticipated situations, and adjusting one’s cognitive frame of reference if required by those situations.
Intercultural knowledge and understanding can be defined as knowledge and understanding of intercultural interactions and culture. It involves knowledge about one’s own culture, other cultures, and the similarities and differences between cultures. Knowledge about cultures without understanding adds little value. One can know, and continue to judge and dismiss superficially (Williams-Gualandi, 2015).
Acquiring intercultural understanding means recognizing that one’s own perspective is shaped by multiple influences (e.g., culture, religion, gender, socio-economic status, education), as a way to develop an understanding of other people’s perspectives, to distinguish between unique and common qualities, and to understand how these different perspectives might relate in an intercultural context (Doscher, 2012).
To understand another’s values is not necessarily to accept them. But to see through ‘another cultural filter’ (Fennes and Hapgood, 1997) may be an opportunity to deepen and inflect one’s own values. Globally competent students should also demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills.
Analytical thinking refers to the capacity to approach a problem by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach. It includes, among others, the ability to interpret the meaning of each element of a text, and examine these elements in relationship with each other in order to identify connections and discrepancies.
Critical thinking skills, in turn, are used for evaluating the worth, validity and reliability of any material on the basis of its internal consistency, and its consistency with evidence and with one’s own knowledge and experience.
Applying critical thinking to a global or intercultural problem requires recognising one’s own assumptions that might have influenced the evaluation process, and acknowledging that one’s beliefs and judgements are always contingent and dependent upon one’s own cultural affiliations and perspective. Analytical and critical thinking skills are inherently linked together.