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Essential Competencies

We at The Riordan Foundation recognize that many of the skills that make a student successful in life are not measured by standardized test scores. Therefore, when evaluating applicants for the Instructional Innovation Grant, we want to see projects that also address some of the following "Essential Competencies."

  • Student Design/Production

    To compete for the jobs of the future, students need the ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms and to leverage these media for persuasive communication. They also need to design and develop tasks and work processes for their desired outcomes.

  • Collaboration

    Students need to demonstrate the ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a team. Collaboration can happen within a classroom or virtually, taking advantage of internet resources.

  • Self-directed Learning

    According to Malcolm Knowles, self-directed learning "describes the process by which individuals take the initiative, with or without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes." This ability is imperative for today's students who will need to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world.

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

    Students of all subjects benefit from the ability to reason effectively, analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other, make judgments and decisions, identify and ask significant questions, and solve problems.

  • Creativity

    As citizens of a swiftly shifting society, students must practice using a wide range of idea creation techniques; create new and worthwhile ideas; and elaborate, refine, analyze, and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts.

  • Adaptability

    As the internet continues to shrink the world, future citizens must be able to operate cross-culturally and across disciplines. In addition, students need to generate solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.

  • Authentic Learning

    Also known as "experiential learning" or "learning-by-doing", authentic learning helps students make connections between what they are learning and its real world applications. According to J.S. Brown, through this process "learning becomes as much social as cognitive, as much concrete as abstract, and becomes intertwined with judgment and exploration," just as it is in an actual workplace.

For more information about the Instructional Innovation Grant, please follow the links below: