The Order ECD 65/2015, 21st January states that Compulsory Secondary Education and Senior High School Education must incorporate seven key competences, which integrate the diverse ways of learning. This is an outstanding aspect of our legal framework that will give our students the ability to function in a wide range of communicative contexts. Thus, the current syllabus blends in the key competences with the contents, that is, skills to solve complex problems successfully within the framework of a particular content area. The content areas are the base ground for the fully development of these practical skills that are called key competences and which comprise social behaviour, attitudes, knowledge, motivation and values.
The key competences cover the following fields.
• Linguistic competence.
• Mathematics, science and technology competence.
• Digital competence.
• Learning to learn.
• Social and civic competence.
• Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship spirit.
• Cultural awareness and expression.
This means that key competences have to be worked in cross curricular activities, which favours the student’s own learning process. The concept-based knowledge goes hand in hand with the know how to do a specific task. It is a dynamic and changeable process that will ultimately allow students to acquire higher levels of performance.
Nowadays it is well known that English is the language of international communication and it is taught in schools around the world. The importance of English for our students comes from the need in the future to get a grant to pursue further studies abroad, or to have a job with a higher salary, or just to understand and speak with people from other countries and know their culture when travelling.
It involves the interaction of interlocutors through oral or written texts in different styles and modalities. With this linguistic tool students will be able to express feelings and thoughts and will build relationships with other members of their community. At the same time, they will learn how to solve problems peacefully by using language skills.
This competence is related to social interaction and implies knowledge of lexical, grammatical, semantic, phonological and orthographic aspects of the language. Its usage is basic as a means of learning as well as a means of knowledge of other cultures. It includes strategies for reading, writing, listening and speaking. It is also important for information processing and includes the cognitive and socio-affective strategies needed for an efficient communication.
This competence is related to the use of a mathematical thinking and the use of tools that will enable the students to interpret and solve the different situations they will encounter in life. The areas the students will need to develop are numbers, statistics and geometry.
In the teaching of English we as teachers may use calculations of time to get to different places, problem solving which implies the use of numbers, and the like.
Technology and science will provide our students with understanding of the world that surrounds them in order to protect it and make our developed societies sustainable. They will provide scientific thinking, contrasting ideas and methodologies, as well as technological skills that are fundamental in our daily life.
It involves a sensible and safe use of varied sources of information using technologies to have. With the use of the digital competence our students will be able to look for jobs, to enjoy their free time, to do research work, to do creative presentations, to participate in social media, to book hotels and flights or to do bank transactions in their adult life, for example.
This competence is challenging, as it requires a constant update due to its quick transformation and development. Literacy in this competence is a must nowadays and will be even more in a few years time.
Teaching a foreign language means not only giving our students the tools to communicate efficiently in their second language, but also to allow them to know new cultures and motivate respect, acceptance of other ways of living, build civic behaviour, tolerance and understand other points of view. This competence leads to personal and social acceptance and well-being. It also involves the understanding of what democracy actually means and gives sense to concepts such as justice and civil rights, which are included in out Spanish Constitution.
The practice of this competence will include different and varied activities in class. It is important that these activities are worked in pairs or groups, so that students learn how to work cooperatively, negotiate, come to agreements, socialize correctly, listen and take turns in speaking, discuss meanings and express ideas in a orderly way.
This competence is very suitable for the practice of the English teaching, as it involves the knowledge of the varied cultural and artistic events of other countries, particularly the English speaking ones. It implies the appreciation and understanding of the heritage of these countries and also of our own country.
In this point we will consider cultural information belonging to the English language speaking writers, songs, festivities, ways to spend leisure time, movies, traditions, food, fashion, timetables, etc.
Taking into account that language is a means of communication of thoughts and the tool for all kinds of learning, the English language subject will contribute to the development of this competence. In this sense, it offers us a wide range of possibilities so as to understand, to interpret, to express opinions or feelings and finally, to give hypothesis in the target language.
Particularly, this competence will be present in the mental processes people use when learning and requires the student’s motivation to learn and to improve all the processes he/she uses. Moreover, it involves an ability to start, organize and continue with learning about how the process works.
Its main objective will be to increase the cooperative work in the classroom and the social abilities. This implies the development of decisions on the planning, organization, choices and management of their knowledge.
For the development of this competence, students will need to work on their innovation and creativity skills, pro-active capacity, risk taking, leadership, team work, sense of responsibility and stress control, among others.